Another week and another great slate of Big Ten games. Fans got treated to multiple top 10 matchups over the last few days and a plethora of other games with Big Ten title and postseason implications. There was more than enough to keep fans glued to their couches.
Of course, with so many key games, this week’s games shook up things in the Power Rankings as well. Teams like Iowa and Maryland moved up while others like Minnesota and Penn State fell. It should set up another interesting week of play.
So, without further adieu, here are my current Big Ten power rankings:
Big Ten Week 14 Power Rankings
#1 - Michigan Wolverines (--)
The Wolverines had two more marquee matchups this week and answered the bell in both, blowing out Iowa at home on Thursday and cruising to a double-digit road win over Indiana on Saturday. The two wins pushed Michigan to 18-1 overall, 13-1 in Big Ten play, and just one win (or one Illinois loss) away from clinching the Big Ten regular season title. It would be Michigan’s first regular season title since the 2013-’14 season.
At this point, there’s little debating Michigan is a great team. In fact, Michigan’s proven itself to be one of the nation’s elite. The Wolverines are looking more than capable of making this year’s Final Four and winning it all. The team is now ranked second nationally on KenPom and among the 10 best teams in the history of the site. For perspective, Michigan’s current rating is higher than Villanova’s rating when the Wildcats beat Michigan in the national title game in 2018. That Villanova team won all of its NCAA Tournament games by double-digits.
Michigan will close the regular season with Illinois at home on Tuesday, Michigan State at home on Thursday, and Michigan State on the road on Sunday. All three games hold plenty of significance for the Wolverines. The battle with Illinois could decide the Big Ten title and the two games against the Spartans will be key rivalry meetings. Expect Michigan to be a one seed in the NCAA Tournament, regardless of what happens this week.
#2 - Illinois Fighting Illini (--)
The Illini had a mixed week of play, starting the week off with a loss to Michigan State on the road on Tuesday night. The loss to the Spartans snapped a seven-game winning streak for Illinois. Unfortunately, it also sidelined superstar guard Ayo Dosunmu, who suffered an injury during the game. Dosunmu would end up missing the team’s next two games against Nebraska and Wisconsin. Fortunately for Illiois fans, the team overcame the adversity and found a way to beat the Huskers and Badgers. The win against Wisconsin was particularly impressive, coming on the road against a ranked Badger squad.
Like Michigan, Illinois has proven itself to be one of the nation’s best teams. But unlike the Wolverines, there’s still some serious work to do in Champaign. Illinois needs to win out to have a shot at the Big Ten title and needs a few more wins to secure a top seed in March. Illinois is currently swinging between a one and a two seed, so adding a few more quality wins would go a long way.
Unfortunately, grabbing a few wins to close things out won’t be easy. Illinois gets Michigan on the road on Tuesday and Ohio State on the road on Saturday. Both games project as substantial challenges.
#3 - Iowa Hawkeyes (+1)
The Hawkeyes split the team’s games this week, falling on the road to Michigan on Thursday and rebounding with a win over Ohio State on Sunday. The mixed results left Iowa sitting at 18-7 overall and 12-6 in Big Ten play. Iowa’s defense was particularly impressive in the team’s win over Ohio State, holding the Buckeyes to just 57 points.
Iowa will get two winnable games this week with Nebraska at home on Thursday and Wisconsin at home on Sunday. The Hawkeyes have yet to face the Huskers this season, but scored a win over the Badgers just a few weeks ago in Madison. Two wins should lock up a top seed for Iowa in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.
#4 - Ohio State Buckeyes (-1)
The Buckeyes had a rough week, falling on the road to Michigan State on Thursday and at home to Iowa on Sunday afternoon. The losses dropped Ohio State to 18-7 overall and 12-7 in Big Ten play. For the first time this season, Ohio State has lost successive games and will enter the final week of the regular season searching for answers.
Ohio State will hope to bounce back this week with Illinois at home on Saturday. That game may very well decide which team gets a one seed in March.
#5 - Purdue Boilermakers (--)
The Boilermakers won the team’s only game this week, cruising to a 21-point victory over Penn State on the road on Friday. The win pushed Purdue to 16-8 overall and 11-6 in Big Ten play. Purdue will now hope to finish the regular season well with Wisconsin at home on Tuesday and Indiana at home on Saturday. Purdue is favored in both games.
#6 - Maryland Terrapins (+2)
The Terps only played one game, but came out on top in it, beating a red hot Michigan State team by double-digits on Sunday afternoon. The win pushed Maryland to 15-10 overall, 9-9 in Big Ten play, and on the verge of locking up an NCAA bid. Most projections have the Terps solidly in the field after winning five straight and another win would almost certainly remove any remaining doubt. It’s been quite a few weeks for Mark Turgeon.
Maryland will hope to remove any doubt about its NCAA resume this week with Northwestern on the road on Wednesday and Penn State at home on Sunday. The Terps figure to be decent favorites in both games, despite losing to Penn State earlier this season.
#7 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-1)
The Scarlet Knights won the team’s only game of the week, beating Indiana at home on Wednesday night. The win pushed Rutgers to 13-9 overall, 9-9 in Big Ten play, and on the verge of the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1991. Everything’s always a moving target this time of year, but it feels like one more win will lock up an NCAA bid.
Fortunately, Rutgers gets two winnable games this week Nebraska on the road on Monday and Minnesota on the road on Saturday. Rutgers is better than both teams and the “tougher” opponent (Minnesota) has been in an epic tailspin. Frankly, anything less than two wins against this slate would be disappointing.
#8 - Wisconsin Badgers (-1)
The calendar may have turned to a new week, but Wisconsin’s problems remain the same. Wisconsin is a solid team, arguably even a good to very good team, but remains a step removed from the elites of college basketball. Unfortunately for Badger fans, we saw that again this week. Wisconsin had another game against the league’s “elite” tier and came up short, falling to Illinois at home on Saturday afternoon. Six of Wisconsin’s eight conference losses have come against teams ranked seventh or better on KenPom. That’s unreal.
Wisconsin will now close out the regular season with two more challenging games. The Badgers will get Purdue on the road on Tuesday and Iowa on the road on Sunday. The team figures to be an underdog in both games, so even a split would be a great achievement.
#9 - Michigan State Spartans (+2)
The Spartans had a largely positive week. Most notably, Michigan State scored huge upset wins over Illinois and Ohio State early in the week. And while Michigan State followed those wins up with a loss to Maryland on Sunday, the loss couldn’t derail the momentum gained from the wins over the Illini and Buckeyes. Michigan State now finds itself sitting at 13-10 overall, 7-10 in Big Ten play, and squarely on the bubble in most NCAA projections. It’s going to come down to the last few games.
Michigan State will now get three huge games this week with Indiana at home on Tuesday night, Michigan on the road on Thursday, and Michigan at home on Sunday. Two wins likely put the Spartans on the right side of the bubble. Otherwise, it’s going to come down to how the team plays in the Big Ten Tournament.
#10 - Indiana Hoosiers (-1)
The Hoosiers had a rough week, falling on the road to Rutgers on Wednesday and against Michigan at home on Saturday. The losses left Indiana sitting at 12-12 overall, 7-10 in Big Ten play, and on the outside most NCAA projections.
At this point, it’s hard to feel good about Indiana’s NCAA chances. To start, Indiana’s resume is pretty lackluster. The wins over Iowa are great, but there isn’t much else there. Every respectable win is greeted by a rough loss. And on top of that, Indiana seems to be trending down, having lost four of its last five games, including two at home.
Two wins might be enough to get the job done, but things will have to fall just right. Expect another uncomfortable Selection Sunday in Bloomington. If the Hoosiers miss the cut, don’t be surprised if Indiana makes a head coaching change. Indiana gets Michigan State on the road on Tuesday and arch-rival Purdue on the road on Saturday.
#11 - Penn State Nittany Lions (-1)
Heading into last week, Penn State seemed to be on its last legs, at least as far as its postseason hopes were concerned. While it seems odd to think a team with a 7-12 overall record was in the NCAA Tournament hunt, it was true. Yes, it was going to take a magical run to deliver on those faint hopes, but the possibility was there.
Unfortunately, those hopes are now gone.
Penn State’s week started well with a win over Nebraska on the road on Tuesday, but fell apart on Friday at home against Purdue. The loss killed any realistic hope Penn State can make the NCAAs with an at-large bid. Fans will hope the team can now just build some momentum heading into the postseason with Minnesota at home on Wednesday and Maryland on the road on Sunday.
#12 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (+1)
The Huskers had a relatively positive week. Nebraska fell to Penn State and Illinois early in the week, but bounced back with an upset over Minnesota on Saturday. The win pushed Nebraska to 6-17 overall and 2-14 in Big Ten play. It was only the team’s second Big Ten win since January 7, 2020. Fans will hope it builds some momentum heading into next season.
Nebraska will close out the regular season with three more challenging games this week. The Huskers get Rutgers at home on Monday, Iowa on the road on Thursday, and Northwestern on the road on Sunday. Even one win would be an encouraging performance.
#13 - Northwestern Wildcats (+1)
The Wildcats also had a pretty solid week, snapping the team’s 13-game losing streak on Thursday against Minnesota. The win won’t change what’s certainly a lost season, but it’s at least a bright spot for fans. Boo Buie was particularly impressive in the game, finishing with 25 points and two rebounds.
Northwestern will now get two interesting games to close things out this week with Maryland at home on Wednesday and Nebraska at home on Sunday. Both games seem winnable, at least on paper. We’ll see if the Wildcats can grab a win.
#14 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (-2)
The Gophers had a horrendous week, falling at home to Northwestern on Thursday and on the road against Nebraska on Saturday. The team now sits at 13-12 overall and 6-12 in Big Ten play with two vital games left on the schedule. Both losses were major upsets and likely damaged Minnesota’s NCAA resume beyond repair.
Maybe that last sentence sounds hyperbolic, but it’s true. Minnesota is unquestionably on the wrong side of the bubble right now and needs to win its final two games to have any shot at an at-large NCAA bid. That’s an amazing thing to say given Minnesota’s impressive 9-1 start to the season. Obviously, it’s been a rough few weeks.
The Gophers will get Penn State on the road on Wednesday and Rutgers at home on Saturday. The team projects as an underdog in both games, so it’s going to be quite a task to sweep both games.