Rivalry week certainly lived up to the hype nationally and for the Big Ten last week. The last few days have been filled with marquee matchups, including some major showdowns for teams like Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue.
All of those matchups gave us an interesting set of power rankings this week. So, let’s take a look at where the Big Ten sits as of February 24th.
Please also note that this year’s rankings are going to be a tad different. I am only going to look at things each team has accomplished on the court. No projecting or predicting anymore. I will place an emphasis on recent play, but I am only going to be looking strictly at results going forward.
Big Ten Week 17 Power Rankings
#1 - Michigan State Spartans (+1)
The Spartans had a massive week and moved up to the top spot in the power rankings as a result. Michigan State handled Rutgers at home on Wednesday night and followed that up with a huge road win over Michigan on Sunday afternoon. The wins pushed Michigan State to 23-5 overall and 14-3 in Big Ten play.
Many fans were panicking after a rough stretch in late January and early February, but the Spartans have turned things around since then. Michigan State has now won five in a row after Sunday’s win, including two road wins over top 15 opponents on KenPom. Few teams have that during a season, let alone a few weeks.
The major question moving forward will be whether the Spartans can keep things rolling. Michigan State is playing at an extremely high level right now, but still has a few key games to finish out the regular season, including a rematch with arch-rival Michigan in less than two weeks. A road trip to Indiana could also be tricky.
This week, Michigan State only has one game, which will come on the road against Indiana on Saturday. The Spartans will hope for some revenge after falling to the Hoosiers earlier this season.
#2 - Purdue Boilermakers (-1)
In the vast majority of weeks, Purdue wouldn’t have dropped. After all, Purdue scored two road wins last week against Indiana on Tuesday and Nebraska on Saturday. However, Michigan State’s week was simply too good to stay at the two spot. In short, Purdue’s drop wasn’t about anything the team did wrong. The Spartans just played that well.
With the last two wins, Purdue improved to 20-7 overall and 13-3 in Big Ten play. The Boilermakers also took a major step forward in the Big Ten title race. The road games at Indiana and Nebraska stood out as major challenges, but Purdue was able to go out and win both. The team now has just four regular season games remaining and figures to be a favorite in all four matchups.
Purdue will hope to score two more wins this week with Illinois at home on Wednesday and Ohio State at home on Saturday. The Boilermakers have 80 percent odds or better in both games, according to KenPom.
#3 - Michigan Wolverines (+1)
The Wolverines had mixed results this week. Michigan went on the road and beat Minnesota on Thursday night, but followed that up with a loss at home to Michigan State. The split dropped Michigan to 24-4 overall and 13-4 in Big Ten play.
Michigan’s loss to the Spartans on Sunday likely ended the team’s Big Ten title hopes. However, Michigan still remains in solid shape for the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament moving forward. The question will be whether the Wolverines can solve some of the team’s issues that showed up on Sunday, such as inconsistent perimeter shooting and ball screen defense.
This week, Michigan will get Nebraska at home on Thursday and Maryland on the road on Sunday. Fans will certainly be hoping for a major rebound after a tough loss on Sunday.
#4 - Maryland Terrapins (+2)
The Terps had a really solid performance this week with a win on the road against Iowa on Tuesday and a home win against Ohio State on Saturday. The wins pushed Maryland to 21-7 overall and 12-5 in Big Ten play.
Maryland has remained under the radar this season thanks to some untimely losses, but the Terps are really starting to look like contenders for a run in March. Not only has Maryland won four of its last five games, but it has also risen all the way to 15th on KenPom. If that holds up, it would be the highest KenPom rating for the Terps under Mark Turgeon.
This week will be particularly challenging for the team as Maryland gets Penn State on the road on Wednesday and Michigan at home on Sunday. Two wins would really start the hype machine for the team moving forward.
#5 - Iowa Hawkeyes (-2)
The Hawkeyes also had mixed results this week. Iowa opened with a loss at home to Maryland on Tuesday night, but followed that up with a home win against the Hoosiers in overtime on Friday night. The split left Iowa at 21-6 overall and 10-6 in Big Ten play.
Iowa will hope to build off its win against Indiana this week with Ohio State on the road on Tuesday and Rutgers at home on Saturday. Fans will be hoping for a sweep.
#6 - Wisconsin Badgers (-1)
The Badgers had a nice performance this week with two quietly solid wins. Wisconsin beat Illinois at home on Tuesday and Northwestern on the road on Saturday. The two wins pushed Wisconsin to 19-8 overall and 11-5 in Big Ten play.
This week, Wisconsin will get Indiana on the road on Tuesday and Penn State at home on Saturday. Both games certainly look winnable on paper. Two wins would really help the team’s chances of securing a high seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
#7 - Ohio State Buckeyes (+2)
The Buckeyes had mixed results with a win over Northwestern on Wednesday and a loss to Maryland on the road on Saturday. The mixed results left Ohio State at 17-10 overall and 7-9 in Big Ten play. Notably, Ohio State has lost three of its last four games.
With just four games remaining, Ohio State sits firmly on the NCAA bubble. It’s hard to believe that 17 wins will get the Buckeyes into the field, which means that the team’s going to have to figure out how to win at least another game or two to feel good about its chances for an NCAA bid. As such, the pressure will be on.
Ohio State will hope to get back on track this week with Iowa at home on Tuesday and Purdue on the road on Saturday. A win in either game would be massive.
#8 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+2)
The Scarlet Knights had mixed results this week. Rutgers lost on the road to Michigan State on Wednesday, but was able to get back on track at home against Minnesota on Sunday. The split left Rutgers at 13-14 overall and 6-11 in Big Ten play.
Rutgers will only have one game this week with Iowa on the road on Saturday. After the dramatic loss to the Hawkeyes earlier this week, expect a little added flavor to that matchup.
#9 - Illinois Fighting Illini (-2)
The Illini really seemed to have turned a corner heading into the last week of conference action. Illinois hadn’t been perfect, but it won four in a row and five of its last six games. The Illini had momentum and were taking down quality opponents.
Unfortunately, Illinois’ run ended last week. The Illini lost on the road to Wisconsin on Monday night and at home to Penn State on Saturday. The losses dropped Illinois to 10-17 overall and 6-10 in Big Ten play. Fans will hope the team can rebound this week with Purdue on the road on Wednesday and Northwestern at home on Sunday.
#10 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (-2)
The Gophers had two important games this week and fell short in both opportunities. Minnesota fell at home to Michigan on Thursday night and on the road against Rutgers on Sunday. The losses dropped Minnesota to 17-11 overall and 7-10 in Big Ten play.
Despite the losses, Minnesota still seems to be in decent position to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. However, the margin for error continues to decrease. The Gophers can’t keep blowing winnable games if the team is going to make the field. And with only three games remaining, time is running out.
This week, Minnesota will get Northwestern on the road on Thursday. This is another opportunity to get a valuable win. We’ll see if the Gophers can get the job done.
#11 - Penn State Nittany Lions (+2)
The Nittany Lions after officially red hot. After shocking the world with the win over Michigan earlier this month, Penn State has really started to get things rolling. And last week, Penn State picked up a win over Nebraska at home on Tuesday and against a hot Illinois team on the road on Saturday.
It’s still too little, too late to think Penn State will have a shot at the postseason, but don’t count out the Nittany Lions in Chicago just yet. With the right seeding situation, Penn State could do some major damage in this year’s Big Ten Tournament. As such, the next few weeks will be really important for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State will hope to keep the good times rolling with Maryland at home on Wednesday and Wisconsin on the road on Saturday.
#12 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (-1)
The Huskers had two more rough losses this week. Nebraska lost on the road to Penn State on Tuesday and at home against Purdue on Saturday. The losses dropped the Huskers to 15-13 overall and 5-12 in Big Ten play.
At this point, an NCAA at-large bid is very likely out the window. The Huskers only have three regular season games remaining and would likely need to win all three to feel great about its chances heading to the Big Ten Tournament. Those efforts will start this week with Michigan on the road on Thursday.
#13 - Indiana Hoosiers (-1)
The Hoosiers had two huge opportunities to score marquee wins last week and fell short in both. Indiana fell to arch-rival Purdue at home on Tuesday and followed that up with a loss on the road against Iowa on Friday night in overtime.
Once again, Indiana will enter this week with two opportunities to score marquee wins. The Hoosiers will get Wisconsin at home on Tuesday and Michigan State at home on Saturday. Even a split would be encouraging.
#14 - Northwestern Wildcats (--)
The Wildcats fell short in two more games this week with Ohio State on the road on Wednesday and Wisconsin at home on Saturday. Northwestern will hope to bounce back this week with Minnesota at home on Thursday and Illinois on the road on Sunday.