For most of this season, the Big Ten has struggled in the weekly top 25 rankings. The conference has certainly gotten some teams into the top 25, but most of been near the bottom of the top 25 and have often moved in and outside of the top 25.
This week wasn’t much different in that regard, but the league did see a noticeable increase in the “receiving votes” category, as a few teams like Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and Northwestern saw movement.
So, let’s take a look at the top 25 rankings.
Week 18 Associated Press Poll:
- No. 13 - Purdue Boilermakers
- No. 24 - Wisconsin Badgers
- No. 25 - Maryland Terrapins
- No. 28 - Minnesota Golden Gophers
- No. 29 - Michigan Wolverines
- No. 39 - Michigan State Spartans
Week 18 USA Today Coaches’ Poll:
- No. 12 - Purdue Boilermakers
- No. 23 - Wisconsin Badgers
- No. 29 - Maryland Terrapins
- No. 30 - Minnesota Golden Gophers
- No. 31 - Northwestern Wildcats
- No. 37 - Michigan Wolverines
Purdue, once again, remains the Big Ten’s highest ranked team and for good reason. The Boilermakers clinched the Big Ten regular season title last week and the team has won eight of its last nine games. Outside of a road loss to a dangerous Michigan team, Purdue hasn’t lost since January.
The thing to watch for the Boilermakers will be how much the team can move up this week. One would guess that a Big Ten Tournament title would push Purdue into the top 10 as teams prepare for the NCAA Tournament. That may not help the seeding, but it should at least give Boilermaker fans more confidence about March.
Behind the Boilermakers, Wisconsin and Maryland were able to land at the edge of the top 25. However, with a likely matchup coming between the two teams this Saturday, expect at least one of these two to drop next Monday.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this week’s rankings was the emergence of the Big Ten’s receiving vote teams. Michigan, Minnesota, and Northwestern all saw decent movement this week and the Gophers landed among the top 30 on both polls.
Obviously, it will be interesting to see if any of the teams like Michigan, Minnesota, or Northwestern can use the Big Ten Tournament to slide into the top 25 in next week’s rankings. These rankings don’t mean all that much for the postseason, but it would at least help the league’s perceived strength.