Another week and another slate of outstanding Big Ten games. We got to see a number of teams in action, including multiple matchups between ranked teams. And of course, we got to see a number of changes as a result of those games. Teams like Michigan rose, while others like Rutgers dropped. It should set up another interesting week of play.
So, without further adieu, here are my current Big Ten power rankings:
Big Ten Week Seven Power Rankings
#1 - Michigan Wolverines (+2)
It’s rare that I jump a team to the top of the standings without some teams stumbling above them, but it’s warranted here. Michigan has been trending up for the last few weeks, but grabbed a statement win on Wednesday, blowing out a ranked Minnesota team at home to improve to 10-0 overall and 5-0 in Big Ten play. The final score was 82-57, but it didn’t even feel that close on the court.
The star for Michigan remains Hunter Dickinson. The freshman big man has been incredible and has maintained his quality play against Big Ten opponents. Star forward Franz Wagner has also recently stepped up his play, scoring double-digits in four straight games. The team’s defense also continues to trend up, completely stonewalling Minnesota and Northwestern over the last two weeks.
The only remaining question for Michigan is how the team will perform against a legitimately great opponent. And for better or worse, fans are going to find out this week as Michigan gets Wisconsin at home on Tuesday night and Minnesota on the road on Saturday. If the Wolverines manage to survive this week undefeated, fans might have to seriously start resetting season expectations.
#2 - Iowa Hawkeyes (--)
The Hawkeyes had two games this week and cruised to wins in both, beating Maryland on the road on Thursday and Minnesota at home on Sunday. Iowa improved to 11-2 overall, 5-1 in Big Ten play, and third nationally on KenPom with the wins. All told, Iowa has now won four in a row and five of the team’s last six games.
Iowa will get two intriguing games this week with Michigan State at home on Thursday and Northwestern on the road on Sunday. Both games look pretty winnable on paper, but aren’t exactly guarantees. We’ll see if the Hawkeyes can keep taking care of business.
#3 - Wisconsin Badgers (+1)
The Badgers only had one game this week and came out on top in it against Indiana at home on Thursday night. The game ended up finishing in double overtime with D’Mitrik Trice leading the way with 21 points and seven assists. Wisconsin remains well balanced and ranked in the top 10 on KenPom.
This week figures to be a huge one for Wisconsin with Michigan on the road on Tuesday and Rutgers on the road on Friday. Both games look really challenging on paper. However, if Wisconsin is going to win the Big Ten title, it’s probably going to have to win at least one of these games. We’ll see if the Badgers can get the job done.
#4 - Illinois Fighting Illini (-3)
The Illini split the team’s games this week, beating Northwestern on the road on Thursday and falling to Maryland at home on Sunday. The loss to the Terps dropped the team to 9-4 overall and 5-2 in Big Ten play. It was the team’s first home loss of the season. Illinois controlled much of the game, but couldn’t get enough offensive production to close things out. Da’Monte Williams had a really rough night with 0 points in 32 minutes of action.
Illinois is now a full two games back in the Big Ten standings, which probably isn’t something fans expected to hear coming into the week. Fortunately, the team gets a pretty manageable slate this week with Nebraska on the road on Wednesday and Ohio State at home on Saturday. Fans should be hoping for two wins.
#5 - Northwestern Wildcats (+1)
The Wildcats lost the team’s only game this week, falling at home to Illinois on Thursday night. It was one of the more unusual games you’ll ever see. Northwestern led the game by double-digits at halftime, but lost by an 81-56 final score. It was the team’s third straight loss, though all three losses came against top 10 KenPom teams.
Northwestern will hope to rebound this week with two really challenging games. The Wildcats get Ohio State on the road on Wednesday and Iowa at home on Sunday. KenPom gives Northwestern 25 and 24 percent odds in this week’s games.
#6 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (+1)
The Gophers lost both of the team’s games this week, falling on the road to Michigan on Wednesday night and on the road against Iowa on Sunday. The two losses dropped Minnesota to 10-4 overall and 3-4 in Big Ten play.
Minnesota has now lost two straight and three of the team’s last four games. Nonetheless, it’s hard to believe this is the start of a trend and not just a byproduct of the schedule. All three of Minnesota’s recent losses were against top eight KenPom teams and all of them came on the road. Those just aren’t games fans can expect to win too often.
This week, Minnesota will hope to get back on track with Michigan at home on Saturday. It figures to be an intriguing matchup.
#7 - Ohio State Buckeyes (+1)
The Buckeyes scored a win in the team’s only game this week against Rutgers on the road on Saturday. The win pushed Ohio State to 9-3 overall and 3-3 in Big Ten play. Ohio State has now won two of its last three games and four of its last six. Things quietly seem to be trending up in Columbus.
However, expect things to get more challenging for Ohio State moving forward. The Buckeyes have yet to face a top 25 KenPom team, but that will end this week with Northwestern at home on Wednesday and Illinois on the road on Saturday. KenPom expects a split. We’ll see if that end sup being the case.
#8 - Purdue Boilermakers (+1)
The Boilermakers scored a huge win this week, going on the road and beating Michigan State on Friday night. The in pushed Purdue to 8-5 overall and 3-3 in Big Ten play. Given Purdue’s difficult schedule moving forward, it was a really valuable win.
Purdue will now get arguably its most important week of the season yet with Indiana on the road on Thursday night and Penn State at home on Sunday. Purdue will be an underdog in the first game and a solid favorite in the second. However, both games fall into that tricky 40 to 60 percent win category, where they’re not quite toss ups, but pretty close. Because of this, a split seems most likely, but fans will hope for a sweep.
#9 - Maryland Terrapins (+2)
The Terps remain one of the most unpredictable teams in the Big Ten. Maryland opened the week by falling to Indiana on the road on Monday, followed it up by losing by 22 at home to Iowa on Thursday, but responded by beating Illinois on the road on Sunday. The team now sits at 7-6 overall and 2-5 in Big Ten play with the split. Both of Maryland’s two conference wins have come on the road against top 10 KenPom opponents (Illinois and Wisconsin), which isn’t something you see every day.
Maryland only has one game this week with Nebraska at home on Saturday. This projects as the team’s easiest remaining game. We’ll see if the Terps can avoid the upset.
#10 - Indiana Hoosiers (--)
The Hoosiers had mixed results this week. Indiana fell on the road to Wisconsin on Thursday night, but rebounded with a win over Nebraska on the road on Sunday. The split left Indiana sitting at 8-5 overall and 3-3 in Big Ten play heading into a vital week of play. Trayce Jackson-Davis remains on track for an All-American run.
This week, Indiana gets Purdue at home on Thursday and Michigan State on Sunday. The Hoosiers will be favored against the Boilermakers and are now underdogs (KenPom gives them 49 percent odds) against the Spartans on Sunday. Because of this and the upcoming slate, Indiana really needs to sweep these games. Even a split would be underwhelming.
#11 - Michigan State Spartans (+1)
The Spartans had mixed results this week, beating Rutgers at home on Tuesday and falling against Purdue at home on Friday. The loss was also particularly rough as it came in the closing seconds of the game. The split left Michigan State sitting at 8-4 overall, 2-4 in Big Ten play, and 44th on KenPom.
Michigan State still has more than enough time to build a resume for March, but it’s important to emphasize how challenging things will be in the coming weeks. Just take a look at the team’s upcoming slate:
Michigan State’s Next Five Games (KenPom Odds To Win):
- 1/14 - at Iowa (18%)
- 1/17 - Indiana (51%)
- 1/23 - Illinois (37%)
- 1/28 - at Rutgers (40%)
- 1/31 - at Ohio State (32%)
Even if KenPom is underrating Michigan State, that’s a brutal stretch and leaves little room for error. The Spartans almost certainly need to beat the Hoosiers and pull off an upset to feel good about the team’s chances this year. We’ll see how it unfolds.
#12 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-7)
The Scarlet Knights had a rough week, losing both of the team’s games. Rutgers fell on the road against Michigan State on Tuesday and at home against Ohio State on Saturday. The team is now in complete free fall, having lost three in a row and four of the team’s last five games. Rutgers remains 7-4 overall and 3-4 in Big Ten play.
After this rough stretch, many are wondering what’s what with the Scarlet Knights. The honest answer is that it’s probably just a byproduct of the schedule. It’s not like Rutgers is losing to terrible teams. Rutgers lost three games to top 16 KenPom teams and another on the road against Michigan State. However, fans also need to be concerned with the team’s limited offensive production. Things need to improve there if Rutgers is going to avoid a few more losses this month.
Unfortunately, things won’t get easier this week. Rutgers only has one game, but it comes at home against Wisconsin on Friday night. Fans will have to hope for an upset.
#13 - Penn State Nittany Lions (--)
The Nittany Lions have been sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols. We hope and pray everyone remains healthy and can get back on the court in short order.
#14 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (--)
The Huskers lost the team’s only game this week, falling at home to Indiana on Sunday afternoon. The loss dropped Nebraska to 4-8 overall and 0-5 in Big Ten play. Unfortunately, things won’t be much easier this week with Illinois at home on Wednesday and Maryland on the road on Saturday. This is one of those years where Nebraska is going to have to fight with every ounce of its being to win a Big Ten play. Doing it this week won’t be easy.