What a wild season in the Big Ten. The last week has been a whirlwind of emotions for teams and fans and it’s left things as a mess across the league. It should set up quite a finish for the entire conference and its NCAA Tournament hopes.
And where does that leave things for the Big Ten this week? We’ll have to take a look at the power rankings below to see where things fit.
The BTPowerhouse Power Rankings are composed entirely of my evaluation of the teams at this moment and their current momentum. This isn’t a projection of where I believe each team will finish, but rather, just a snapshot of where teams are trending across the league at the moment.
With that, here are BTPowerhouse's week 14 Big Ten power rankings.
Big Ten Week 14 Power Rankings
#1 - Purdue Boilermakers (+1)
The Boilermakers moved into the top spot this week after adding a huge road win against arch-rival Indiana on Thursday. It was the team’s third win a row and its sixth in seven games. During that stretch, Purdue added a home win over Northwestern and road wins over Indiana, Maryland, and Michigan State.
Purdue will now shift gears as the team moves into arguably the most manageable portions of its schedule. The Boilermakers will host Rutgers on Tuesday and Michigan State on Saturday this week. Purdue is also entering a final six-game stretch where the Boilermakers are favored in every matchup.
While it’s too early to project Purdue’s conference title chances, with Wisconsin’s loss on Sunday night, the pressure will be on Purdue to avoid any losses at home. If so, Purdue could be in serious position to get at least a share of the conference crown.
#2 - Wisconsin Badgers (-1)
The Badgers moved down a spot after splitting the team’s games last week. Wisconsin opened with an overtime win against Nebraska on the road on Thursday and followed it up with a disappointing home loss to Northwestern on Sunday. It was the team’s first loss since January 8th and just its second loss since late November. The loss also snapped a 19-game home winning streak dating back to January of last season.
Wisconsin will now enter arguably its toughest remaining week of the regular season with a road trip to Michigan on Thursday and a home game against Maryland on Sunday. If the Badgers want to win the Big Ten title, one would have to figure that Wisconsin needs to go at least 1-1 during that stretch.
#3 - Maryland Terrapins (--)
The Terrapins had a relatively underwhelming week of play with a road loss to Penn State and a home win against Ohio State last week. The split pushed Maryland’s record to 21-4 overall and 9-3 in the Big Ten.
Maryland will now get an immensely difficult week on the schedule with Northwestern and Wisconsin on the road. If the Terps want to make a serious run at the Big Ten title, winning at least one of these games is essential.
The good news is that this should also offer Maryland two opportunities to get quality resume wins. Maryland still lacks a marquee win and scoring a road win against Northwestern or Wisconsin would help to rectify that issue.
#4 - Northwestern Wildcats (--)
The Wildcats might have had the most bizarre week of any team in this year’s Big Ten. And considering how crazy things have been, that’s saying something.
Northwestern began the week by losing at home to Illinois on Tuesday and followed it up by going on the road and beating Wisconsin. Not only was this a win over a great opponent, but Wisconsin had won 19 straight home games leading into the matchup. The win will have a massive impact on Northwestern’s NCAA hopes.
The team will look to build on that win with two home games against Maryland and Rutgers this week. One win should be good enough to put the Wildcats into the NCAA Tournament or at least on the verge and two wins would lock up a bid.
Yeah, things are getting real in Evanston.
#5 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (+1)
The Golden Gophers are finally back on track. After suffering a horrid five-game losing streak through most of January, Minnesota has now won three in a row, with the latest two wins coming against Iowa at home and Rutgers on the road. Minnesota is now 18-7 overall and likely just two or three wins away from an NCAA bid.
Minnesota will get a huge slate of home games this week with Indiana on Wednesday and Michigan on Sunday. Considering that both opponents are good enough to boost Minnesota’s resume, two wins would probably be enough to push Minnesota into this year’s NCAA Tournament. A split or worse would leave work ahead for the Gophers.
#6 - Michigan Wolverines (+2)
The Wolverines were up against a wall heading into this week. But the team responded in impressive fashion by blowing out rival Michigan State at home on Tuesday and beating Indiana on the road on Sunday. The two wins pushed Michigan to 16-9 overall and into decent shape to make this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Michigan will now face another important week on the schedule with Wisconsin at home on Thursday and Minnesota on the road on Sunday. If the Wolverines make this year’s NCAA Tournament, it’s hard to imagine the team doing it without winning at least one of these two games. After all, Michigan only has one home game remaining after this week’s set of games.
#7 - Michigan State Spartans (-2)
The Spartans were another team with a big slate of games last week. Michigan State wasn’t perfect in those games, but did split the matchups after losing on the road to Michigan and responding with a huge win at home against Iowa on Saturday. The split pushed Michigan State to 15-10 overall and 7-5 in Big Ten play.
Michigan State will get two more important games this week with Ohio State at home on Tuesday and Purdue on the road on Saturday. Like a few other teams, Michigan State likely needs to win at least one of those games to keep its NCAA hopes alive.
#8 - Penn State Nittany Lions (+3)
Talk about a great week. Just when it looked like things might be starting to go off the tracks for the Nittany Lions, the team responded with a home win against Maryland on Tuesday and a road win against Illinois on Saturday. The two wins left Penn State at 14-12 and very alive for this year’s NIT.
Penn State only gets one game this week with Nebraska on the road on Tuesday. That game should offer a great opportunity for the Nittany Lions to add another game in the win column.
#9 - Indiana Hoosiers (-2)
The Hoosiers are in rough shape. After losing to Wisconsin last Sunday, most figured that this week would be a “do or die” type of scenario for Indiana’s NCAA chances. Well, fans got their answer and it was the latter.
Indiana began by losing a tight game to arch-rival Purdue on Thursday and followed that up with a frustrating loss to Michigan on Sunday. With both games taking place in Assembly Hall, the losses were devastating to the team’s NCAA hopes.
This week, Indiana only has one game and it comes against Minnesota on the road on Wednesday. With a road game against Purdue still awaiting later this season, there’s literally no margin for error for the Hoosiers anymore. The matchup with Minnesota needs to be a win or Indiana risks missing this season’s NCAA Tournament.
#10 - Iowa Hawkeyes (-1)
The Hawkeyes had two games this week and came up short in both, losing on the road to Minnesota and Michigan State. The two losses dropped Iowa to 14-12 overall and 6-7 in the Big Ten. The pressure will now be on as Iowa looks to seal up an NIT bid and put together a quality seed for this year’s Big Ten Tournament.
Iowa only gets one game this week and it will come at home against Illinois on Saturday. This would be a big win for the team’s NIT hopes.
#11 - Ohio State Buckeyes (-1)
The Buckeyes split the team’s games this week with a win against Rutgers at home on Wednesday and a loss to Maryland on the road on Saturday. With little to no margin for error, Saturday’s loss was another massive blow for the team’s fringe NCAA hopes.
Ohio State will now get an interesting set of games this week with Michigan State on the road on Tuesday and Nebraska at home on Saturday. Both of these games should be considered tossups.
#12 - Illinois Fighting Illini (--)
The Illini were another team with a bizarre week. Illinois began the week with a massive road win against Northwestern on Tuesday, but followed it up with an embarrassing home loss to Penn State on Saturday. The loss likely signaled the end of the John Groce era in Champaign.
Illinois will hope to regroup with its game this week against Iowa on the road on Saturday. Illini fans will have to hope that things don’t slide out of control over the final weeks of the regular season.
#13 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (--)
The Cornhuskers only had one game this week and came up short in it at home against Wisconsin on Thursday. It was a hard fought game, but Nebraska couldn’t close the deal against the Badgers in overtime.
Nebraska will get two intriguing games this week against Penn State at home on Tuesday and against Ohio State on the road on Saturday. Nebraska will be looking to help its Big Ten Tournament seeding.
#14 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (--)
The Scarlet Knights continue to fight hard, but also continue to come up short. The latest instances were last week as Rutgers lost competitive games against Ohio State on the road on Wednesday and Minnesota at home on Saturday.
Rutgers will get two road games this week against Purdue on Tuesday and Northwestern on Saturday. A win in either game would be massive.
(Editors Note: An earlier version of this article implied Maryland plays Northwestern at home this week. It has since been corrected)