Although very little is clear about this year’s Big Ten, there’s no debating that it’s been an exciting and unpredictable season so far. There have been countless upsets and dramatic finishes this season and with another week in the books, it appears that won’t be changing anytime soon on the horizon.
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 13 Big Ten power rankings.
Big Ten Week 13 Power Rankings
#1 - Wisconsin Badgers (+1)
The Badgers regained the top spot this week after avoiding potential upsets on the road against Illinois and at home against Indiana. Even though Wisconsin was favored in both matchups, each looked like a potential trap on paper. However, Wisconsin avoided that by scoring two wins and improving to 20-3 overall.
Oddly enough, Wisconsin will get a bizarrely similar slate of games this week with Nebraska on the road on Thursday and Northwestern at home on Sunday evening. Like last week, both of these look like wins on paper, but are dangerous enough that they could bite Wisconsin if the team is caught looking ahead.
After all, Nebraska has already knocked off Indiana, Maryland, and Purdue this season and Northwestern is a team getting top 25 consideration. Two wins would put Wisconsin in outstanding shape to grab at least a share of this year’s Big Ten title.
#2 - Purdue Boilermakers (+2)
The Boilermakers had a huge slate of games last week with Northwestern at home and Maryland on the road. Ultimately, Purdue lived up to the moment and scored what should be considered two of the team’s best wins of the season. The two wins pushed Purdue to 19-5 overall and 8-3 in the Big Ten.
Purdue will only get one game this week, but it’s a massive one on the road against arch-rival Indiana on Thursday night. If Purdue is going to remain in the Big Ten title race and in contention for a great seed in March, then the team needs to beat the Hoosiers this week.
#3 - Maryland Terrapins (-2)
The Terrapins had two tricky games last week and had mixed results. Maryland started well by going on the road and beating Ohio State on Tuesday, but followed it up with a loss at home against Purdue on Saturday. It was a tight game and Maryland just came up short. As a result, Maryland now sits at 20-3 overall and 8-2 in the Big Ten.
Maryland will now look to rebound with two manageable games this week. The team starts with Penn State on the road on Tuesday and Ohio State at home on Saturday. Neither of these wins would add a ton to Maryland’s resume, but a loss in either would likely eliminate the Terps from serious Big Ten title contention.
#4 - Northwestern Wildcats (-1)
The Wildcats only had one game last week and got spanked in it on the road against Purdue on Wednesday. Personally, I think this loss had more to do with Purdue than Northwestern, but it could be a harbinger of things to come. After all, it was the first game without key contributor Scottie Lindsey, who remains out with injury.
Luckily, fans will get a quick answer to that question with two big games this week. Northwestern will get Illinois at home on Tuesday and Wisconsin on the road on Sunday. A split would guarantee Northwestern a spot on the bubble and two wins would lock up an NCAA Tournament bid.
#5 - Michigan State Spartans (--)
The Spartans only had one game last week and it came on the road against Nebraska on Thursday night. It was a crucial game for Michigan State and the team was able to beat the pressure by scoring a key road win. As a result, Michigan State improved to 14-9 overall and 6-4 in the Big Ten.
Michigan State will get two more important games this week with arch-rival Michigan on the road on Tuesday night and Iowa at home on Saturday. Two wins would be massive for the team’s NCAA Tournament hopes and would give Tom Izzo and company some breathing room for the weeks ahead.
#6 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (+1)
The Golden Gophers were in a tailspin coming into last week, but the team got back on track after scoring a huge road win against Illinois on Saturday. As a result, Minnesota improved to 16-7 and got the team’s first win since beating Ohio State at home nearly a month earlier.
Minnesota will now get two very winnable games this week with Iowa at home on Wednesday and Rutgers on the road on Saturday. Both of these games need to be wins if Minnesota is going to avoid the bubble pressure in the weeks to come.
#7 - Indiana Hoosiers (+1)
The Hoosiers are in a tough spot. Despite starting the season at 10-2 with wins over Kansas and North Carolina, the team now finds itself at 15-9 and having lost three of its last four games. Last week was a particularly rough one for Hoosier fans as Indiana narrowly avoided losing to Penn State at home in triple overtime and lost to Wisconsin on the road over the weekend.
Indiana will now face perhaps its most important week of the season with arch-rival Purdue at home on Thursday night and Michigan at home on Sunday. Considering that Indiana finishes with four of its final five games on the road, both of this week’s games need to be wins.
#8 - Michigan Wolverines (-2)
The Wolverines only had one game this week with arch-rival Ohio State at home on Saturday night. Michigan was favored entering the matchup, but got dominated on the boards and fell to the Buckeyes to drop to 14-9 on the season.
There’s still time for Michigan to get back on track, but there’s only a few grains of sand left in the team’s NCAA clock. And with Michigan State at home on Tuesday and Indiana on the road on Sunday, Michigan’s entire season will be on the line this week. Two losses would doom the team’s at-large NCAA hopes.
#9 - Iowa Hawkeyes (+1)
The Hawkeyes had two games this week and came away with two wins. Iowa began by beating Rutgers on the road on Tuesday and followed that with a convincing win against Nebraska on Sunday afternoon. The two wins pushed Iowa to 14-10 overall and 6-5 in the Big Ten.
Iowa will now face a particularly challenging week with Minnesota on the road on Wednesday and Michigan State on the road on Saturday. Even a split here should be considered a good result for the Hawkeyes.
#10 - Ohio State Buckeyes (+3)
The Buckeyes split the team’s games last week by losing to Maryland at home on Tuesday and beating Michigan on the road on Saturday. Although still isn’t a legitimate NCAA Tournament contender at this point, the win over Michigan should get some good vibes going around the program.
This week, Ohio State will get Rutgers at home and Maryland on the road. If Ohio State can continue to show improved play, two wins wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility.
#11 - Penn State Nittany Lions (-2)
The Nittany Lions had two games last week and lost both. The first loss came on the road in triple overtime against Indiana and the second came at home to Rutgers on Saturday. Penn State will hope to get back on track this week against Maryland at home and Illinois on the road.
#12 - Illinois Fighting Illini (-1)
The Illini desperately needed to win at least one of its two games last week. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as Illinois lost both home games to Wisconsin and Minnesota. Neither is a bad loss, but they should seal the team’s NCAA fate.
Illinois will now get Northwestern on the road and Penn State at home this week. Barring a Big Ten Tournament run, it looks like Illinois will miss the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season and the seventh time in 10 years.
#13 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (-1)
The Cornhuskers had two winnable games this week, but came up short in both, losing at home to Michigan State and on the road against Iowa. As a result, Nebraska now sits at 10-13 overall and 4-7 in the Big Ten.
After Nebraska’s NCAA Tournament run in 2014, hopes were high for Tim Miles in Lincoln, but now that the program looks well on its way to its fourth losing season in Miles’ five-year tenure, one has to wonder if the pressure will begin to build for Miles and his staff to get things turned around.
Nebraska only has one game this week and it comes at home against Wisconsin on Thursday night. If the Huskers can pull off the upset, it would be the team’s fifth win against a top 50 opponent this season.
#14 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (--)
For the first time since joining the Big Ten, Rutgers won a conference road game last week. Sure, it was against Penn State and only improved the team’s Big Ten record to 2-9, but it was still a huge win for a program that’s still trying to get its feet. Fans will have to wait and see if that positive momentum continues against Ohio State on the road and Minnesota at home this week.