The Big Ten had plenty of quality action again this week, including a handful of marquee rivalry games over the weekend such as Michigan and Michigan State and Illinois and Northwestern. Of course, it all had an impact on this week’s Power Rankings.
So, with that, let’s jump into this week’s Power Rankings.
Big Ten Week 12 Power Rankings
#1 - Purdue Boilermakers (+2)
The Boilermakers had a great performance this week, beating Iowa on the road on Thursday by double-digits and backing it up with a win over Ohio State at home on Sunday. The win over the Buckeyes was particularly thrilling, coming off a buzzer beater:
Purdue’s had some missteps in conference play this season, but the Boilermakers are really starting to round into form. The team is sitting at 18-3 overall and 7-3 in Big Ten play and actually have the best odds to win the Big Ten title, even if there’s still a long way to go:
TRank 1/29 Big Ten Title Odds:— Thomas Beindit (@tbeindit) January 29, 2022
-Purdue — 41.9%
-Illinois — 37.9%
-Wisconsin — 27.9%
-MSU — 17%
-OSU — 13.3%
Everyone else below 5% odds.
The question is now whether Purdue can avoid another misstep this week with Minnesota on the road on Wednesday and Michigan at home on Saturday. These should be wins. The question will be whether the Boilermakers can take care of business.
#2 - Wisconsin Badgers (-)
The Badgers had a solid week, beating Nebraska on the road on Thursday and following it up with a win over arch-rival Minnesota at home on Sunday. The two wins pushed Wisconsin to 17-3 overall and 8-2 in Big Ten play. Notably, Wisconsin went 7-1 in January against a really tough slate. It’s hard to complain about that performance.
Wisconsin will now enter another key week of conference play. The Badgers get Illinois on the road on Wednesday and Penn State at home on Saturday. Two wins would put Wisconsin in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten title race.
#3 - Illinois Fighting Illini (+1)
Illinois had quite a week. While Kofi Cockburn and Andre Curbelo missed games this week, the team was still able to navigate a really tricky slate. Illinois held off Michigan State at home on Tuesday and followed it up with a road win over a sneakily good Northwestern squad on Saturday. Both games were decided by a bucket and easily could have went the other way. Fortunately for fans, Illinois found a way to come out on top.
Things should remain interesting this week with Wisconsin at home on Wednesday and Indiana on the road on Saturday. Both games look like tossups, especially if Illinois enters the games with a limited roster. We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but it feels like a separation type of week. Two wins would be massive for the team’s long-term goals.
#4 - Michigan State Spartans (-3)
The Spartans had mixed results this week, falling on the road against Illinois on Tuesday and rebounding with a win over arch-rival Michigan at home on Saturday. The win pushed Michigan State to 16-4 overall and 7-2 in Big Ten play. The Spartans should remain in the discussion for the top 10 and Big Ten title after this week’s games.
It might seem odd to see Michigan State drop three spots after those results, but it’s just the nature of the Big Ten right now. The top four teams are incredibly close, with even one win or loss really swinging things in the standings. Any of the four, including Michigan State, could wind up atop the standings next week. Take it more as a statement about the other three teams here than one about the Spartans.
Max Christie arguably remains Michigan State’s most important player and it showed again last week. He’s failed to score double-digits in all four of the team’s losses this season, suggesting the team rises and falls with his play. It will be a key thing to watch as the team moves toward February.
This week, Michigan State gets Maryland on the road on Tuesday and Rutgers on the road on Saturday. The Spartans are favored in both games. We’ll see if Michigan State can take care of business. These are the kind of games that often determine the Big Ten title.
#5 - Indiana Hoosiers (+1)
The Hoosiers had a productive week, blowing out Penn State at home on Wednesday and following it up with a road win at Maryland on Saturday. The two wins pushed Indiana to 16-5 overall and 7-4 in Big Ten play. It feels like the Hoosiers are just a win or two away from snapping the program’s streak without an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Indiana will get a huge opportunity this week with Illinois at home on Saturday. A win there would be the program’s second marquee win of the season. KenPom favors Indiana over Illinois, at least at the moment.
#6 - Iowa Hawkeyes (-1)
The Hawkeyes lost the team’s only game this week, falling at home against Purdue on Thursday night. The game setup as a marquee opportunity, but Iowa fell short. The team now sits at 14-6 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten play as a result.
Iowa will now get Penn State on the road on Monday, Ohio State on the road on Thursday, and Minnesota at home on Sunday. Like several other teams this week, Iowa has quite an opportunity. Go 2-1 or better in these games and the NCAAs should be about locked up.
#7 - Ohio State Buckeyes (-)
The Buckeyes had mixed results this week, beating Minnesota on the road on Thursday before falling on the road at Purdue on Sunday. The split left Ohio State sitting at 13-5 overall, 6-3 in Big Ten play, and in an intriguing position. The Buckeyes look solid for the postseason, but are on the verge of falling out of the Big Ten title race. Even a loss or two might be enough to end the discussion.
Ohio State will get two winnable games this week with Iowa at home on Thursday and Maryland at home on Sunday. The Buckeyes are favored in both games.
#8 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+2)
The Scarlet Knights split the team’s games last week, falling at home to Maryland on Tuesday and beating Nebraska on the road on Saturday. It left Rutgers sitting at 12-8 overall and 6-4 in Big Ten play. Rutgers is another team that seems to be teetering in the wrong direction. Even one more bad loss might end the team’s postseason hopes.
Rutgers will get two really interesting games this week with Northwestern on the road on Tuesday and Michigan State at home on Saturday. Both games appear winnable, though the Scarlet Knights are projected as underdogs in both contests. We’ll see if Rutgers can erase some of its earlier missteps with two wins.
#9 - Michigan Wolverines (+2)
The Wolverines had mixed results this week, beating Northwestern at home on Wednesday and falling on the road to Michigan State on Saturday. The split left Michigan sitting at 10-8 overall and 4-4 in Big Ten play. Michigan remains firmly on the NCAA bubble heading into this week, making every game immensely valuable.
Michigan will get two games this week with Nebraska at home on Tuesday and Purdue on the road on Saturday. The Wolverines need at least a split to keep things moving in the right direction toward Selection Sunday.
#10 - Maryland Terrapins (+2)
The Terps had a decent performance this week, beating Rutgers on the road on Tuesday and falling at home to Indiana on Saturday. As a result, Maryland now sits 11-10 overall and 3-7 in Big Ten play.
Maryland will hope to keep its positive vibes going this week with Michigan State at home on Tuesday and Ohio State on the road on Sunday. We’ll have to wait and see if the Terps can pull off an upset or two.
#11 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (-3)
The Gophers had a rough week, losing both of the team’s games. Minnesota fell at home to Ohio State on Thursday and followed it up to a loss to Purdue on the road on Sunday. The losses dropped the Gophers to 11-7 overall and 2-7 in Big Ten play.
While Minnesota started the season tremendously, it will enter February in an absolute free fall. The Gophers have lost two straight and six of the team’s last seven games. Minnesota also hasn’t beaten a top 100 KenPom team since defeating Michigan in early December. There’s still time to reverse course, but it’s safe to say the Gophers are no longer trending toward the NCAAs. It’s going to take quite a turnaround to even get back in the picture.
Minnesota will get two huge games this week with Purdue at home on Wednesday and Iowa on the road on Sunday. The Gophers really need to steal one of these games.
#12 - Penn State Nittany Lions (-3)
The Nittany Lions had a rough week, losing the team’s only game on the road against Indiana on Wednesday. Like Minnesota, Penn State is another team in free fall, having lost three straight and four of the team’s last five games. Even a loss or two could have a devastating impact on the team’s postseason hopes moving forward.
Penn State will try and get back on track this week with Iowa at home on Monday and Wisconsin on the road on Saturday. The team desperately needs two wins or a split.
#13 - Northwestern Wildcats (-)
The Wildcats had a rough week, losing on the road against Michigan on Wednesday and at home to Illinois on Saturday. The two losses dropped Northwestern to 9-10 overall, 2-8 in Big Ten play, and on the verge of a complete collapse. All told, Northwestern has now lost four in a row and eight of the team’s last nine games.
Northwestern will hope to get back on track this week with Rutgers at home on Tuesday and Nebraska on the road on Saturday. Both games look more than winnable. Losing either would likely kill any remaining at-large hopes for the Wildcats.
#14 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (-)
The Huskers lost both of the team’s games this week. Nebraska fell at home to Wisconsin on Thursday and at home to Rutgers on Saturday. The two losses dropped the team to 6-15 overall and 0-10 in Big Ten play. Nebraska will hope to bounce back this week with Michigan on the road on Tuesday and Northwestern at home on Saturday. At this point, the goal for Nebraska has to be simply breaking through and winning a game.