The Big Ten had a loaded slate of action over the last week and a half, highlighted by some marquee matchups. Of course, it all shook things up. While teams like Indiana and Maryland rose, others like Wisconsin and Ohio State fell.
So, let’s jump into this week’s Power Rankings.
Big Ten Week 12 Power Rankings
#1 - Purdue Boilermakers (—)
The Boilermakers had another impressive week of play, knocking off Michigan on the road on Thursday night and following it with a dominant win over Michigan State at home on Sunday afternoon. The two wins pushed Purdue to 21-1 overall and 10-1 in Big Ten play. It’s easily the program’s best start in years and is setting up to be a banner year. After all, Purdue is likely going to be the unanimous (or close to it) No. 1 team on Monday in the polls.
Purdue’s performance last week also sets the Boilermakers up with overwhelming odds to earn at least a share of the Big Ten title this season. TRank’s projections give Purdue more than a 98 percent chance to earn at least a share and nearly a 95 percent chance to win the title outright. KenPom similarly projects Purdue to win the league by three full games. And there’s little reason to disagree with those numbers, as many of Purdue’s toughest conference games are already in the rear view mirror.
The Boilers will get two more interesting games this week with a hot Penn State team at home on Wednesday and arch-rival Indiana on the road on Saturday. The clash with the Hoosiers figures to be the team’s toughest remaining game of the season.
#2 - Indiana Hoosiers (+1)
The Hoosiers put together another solid performance this week, beating Minnesota on the road on Wednesday and Ohio State at home on Saturday night. The win over the Buckeyes was particularly impressive, as Indiana took what figured to be a pretty competitive game and rolled to a 16-point win. The team now sits at 15-6 overall and 6-4 in Big Ten play.
While Indiana still has a long way to go to meet its lofty preseason expectations, the Hoosiers are quietly getting there after a rough start. The team has now won five straight and seems to be playing better with each game. Trayce Jackson-Davis remains a star and Jalen Hood-Schifino is quickly emerging into one as well. If those two can keep it up, Indiana has a genuine shot at finishing near the top of the league.
It also seems odd to say given Indiana’s putrid 1-4 start to league play, but the Hoosiers are arguably Purdue’s biggest remaining threat for the Big Ten title since the rivals still have two games to play against each other this season. If Indiana manages to sweep those games (a huge ask), that alone would put Purdue in reaching distance for Indiana. Statistically speaking, it’s an unlikely event, but something that’s worth noting.
This week, Indiana gets Maryland on the road on Tuesday and arch-rival Purdue at home on Saturday. Two wins would substantially boost to Indiana’s resume. KenPom has Indiana as narrow underdogs in both games.
#3 - Illinois Fighting Illini (+1)
The Illini swept the team’s games this week, beating Ohio State at home on Tuesday and Wisconsin on the road on Saturday. Both games had some ugly segments, but Illinois found a way to get the job done, which is all that matters at this point in the season. The wins propelled the team to 15-6 overall and 6-4 in Big Ten play.
Illinois will hope to keep things rolling this week with Nebraska at home on Tuesday and Iowa on the road on Saturday. The statistical models suggest a split, so another sweep would be great for the team’s postseason goals.
#4 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-2)
The Scarlet Knights had a mixed week, blowing out Penn State at home on Tuesday, but falling on the road to Iowa on Sunday. The loss to the Hawkeyes was Rutgers’ second loss to Iowa of the season and marked the conclusion of a relatively down stretch, as Rutgers went just 3-3 over its last six games after an incredible start to the new year.
Despite the recent missteps, Rutgers remains a really solid team with serious postseason hopes. Unfortunately, the recurring splits and bumps have prevented the team from getting much praise nationally, as voters can’t boost the team up after a loss. Fans will hope the team can start stringing together some victories.
Rutgers will begin that effort with Minnesota at home on Wednesday and Michigan State in New York City on Saturday. Both games should be wins.
#5 - Northwestern Wildcats (—)
The Wildcats grabbed two more wins this week, beating Nebraska on the road on Wednesday and Minnesota at home on Saturday. The two wins pushed Northwestern to 15-5 overall and 6-3 in Big Ten play. Both games were decided by double-digits.
While Northwestern still hasn’t attracted much national fanfare, the team is quietly putting together a really nice campaign. The Wildcats not only have impressive overall marks, but seem to be trending up as well, having won three straight and risen all the way to 44th on KenPom. Even with potential stumbling blocks ahead, Northwestern is in great shape to make the NCAA Tournament as long as it takes care of the manageable games.
That effort will continue this week with Iowa on the road on Tuesday, Michigan at home on Thursday, and Wisconsin on the road on Sunday. All three games are winnable, so fans should be hoping for at least a 2-1 performance. Of course, two or three losses on this slate would have a massively detrimental impact to the team’s postseason hopes.
#6 - Maryland Terrapins (+1)
The Terps added two solid wins this week, beating Wisconsin at home on Wednesday and Nebraska at home on Saturday. They were much needed wins to ensure Maryland remained on the right side of the NCAA situation and left the team sitting at 14-7 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play. Jahmir Young continues to dominate Maryland’s usage.
Maryland will now prepare for two tricky games this week with Indiana at home on Tuesday and Maryland on the road on Saturday. While KenPom favors the Terps in both games, neither feels like a “sure thing”, especially with how well the Hoosiers have been playing lately. Fans will hope for Maryland to grab two vital wins.
#7 - Michigan State Spartans (-1)
The Spartans split the team’s games this week again, beating Iowa at home on Thursday and falling on the road to Purdue on Sunday. It was largely the results you’d expect if you looked at the schedule beforehand and that’s how Michigan State played, with little to change preconceived notions about the group.
Through 22 games, Michigan State is sitting in position that’s been all too familiar for the program in recent years. The Spartans are on the right side of the NCAA bubble, but not enough to really feel great about things. Even one or two losses or a key injury could derail things. It makes every game stressful. The team should make the cut. It’s just about meeting expectations enough to get there.
Michigan State will hope to bolster its changes with its lone game of the week on Saturday in New York City against Rutgers. KenPom likes the Scarlet Knights in the game, so Spartan fans will be hoping for an upset.
#8 - Iowa Hawkeyes (—)
The Hawkeyes split the team’s games this week, falling to Michigan State on the road on Thursday but bouncing back with a win over Rutgers at home on Sunday. The win over the Scarlet Knights was a notable one for the program, as it marked a season sweep for Iowa and gave it another resume win. Iowa now sits at 13-8 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play.
Last week’s effort left Iowa sitting 35th in the NET ratings, which is more than good enough to get the team into the discussion on Selection Sunday. However, it’s not good enough to take the foot off the gas. Even one or two missteps could drastically change that analysis.
Iowa will get two challenging games this week with Northwestern at home on Tuesday and Illinois at home on Saturday. The Hawkeyes will have their work cut out to protect home court.
#9 - Penn State Nittany Lions (+1)
The Nittany Lions split the team’s games this week, falling on the road against Rutgers on Tuesday and blowing out Michigan at home on Sunday. The blowout win over the Wolverines was one of the program’s most dominant wins in recent memory and propelled Penn State to 14-7 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play.
While Penn State hasn’t been exceptional over the last month, it’s hard to complain much about where things are trending. The Nittany Lions are winning enough games to keep their heads above water and are gradually getting themselves in position to make the NCAA Tournament. KenPom now projects Penn State to finish the regular season at 19-12 overall, which would be more than enough to make the cut. We’ll see if that projection holds up.
Penn State will now prepare for a road game against Purdue on Wednesday and Nebraska on the road on Sunday. Fans should be hoping for a split.
#10 - Wisconsin Badgers (-1)
The Badgers had a rough week, falling on the road against Northwestern on Monday, losing on the road at Maryland on Wednesday, and losing by double-digits at home against Illinois on Saturday. The three losses left Wisconsin sitting at 12-8 overall and 4-6 in Big Ten play.
At this point, Wisconsin’s lofty hopes have dwindled significantly. The team has lost six of its last seven games and really hasn’t looked great since beating Iowa on the road in December. The losses have also finally started impacting the team’s resume ranks, as the Badgers now rank 74th nationally in the NET rankings. Obviously, that’s nowhere near good enough to feel good about the team’s postseason hopes.
The good news is Wisconsin has plenty of opportunities to reverse those trends, starting with Ohio State on the road on Thursday and Northwestern at home on Sunday. Both games look winnable, but that’s assuming Wisconsin plays up to its potential.
#11 - Ohio State Buckeyes (—)
The Buckeyes lost both of the team’s games this week, falling on the road against Illinois on Tuesday and on the road against Indiana on Saturday. The second loss was particularly disappointing as many thought the Buckeyes could hold their own, but the team ended up losing by 16 points. Ohio State now sits at 11-10 overall and 3-7 in Big Ten play.
At this point, it’s hard to get a read on this Buckeye squad. The team is just one game above .500 and has been putrid since the calendar flipped to 2023, holding a 2-7 record. However, Ohio State’s statistical ranks are oddly impressive, as the team is ranked 27th on KenPom and 29th in the NET ratings. Ohio State’s close losses are boosting its statistical numbers, but that’s one of the more bizarre resumes you’ll ever see this late in the season.
#12 - Michigan Wolverines (—)
The Wolverines had another rough week, falling to Purdue at home on Thursday and Penn State on the road on Sunday. The loss to the Nittany Lions was particularly disappointing, as it came by 22 points in a game that probably wasn’t even that close. Michigan now sits at 11-10 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play. The team has lost five of its last seven games.
While many keep mentioning the Wolverines as an NCAA bubble group, it’s hard to feel those projections are realistic at this point. Michigan isn’t even close to NCAA eligibility and hasn’t played well enough to think a rebound is likely. The team is now just 68th on KenPom and has been abysmal on the road. That’s not a recipe for success in the Big Ten.
This week, Michigan gets Northwestern on the road on Thursday and Ohio State at home on Sunday. The games are winnable, but the Wolverines are underdogs in both contests.
#13 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (—)
The Huskers lost both of the team’s games last week, falling at home to Northwestern on Wednesday and on the road against Maryland on Saturday. The losses left Nebraska sitting at 10-12 overall and 3-8 in Big Ten play. Nebraska will hope to bounce back this week on the road against Illinois on Tuesday and at home against Penn State on Sunday.
#14 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (—)
The Gophers were also swept in the team’s games last week, losing to Indiana at home on Wednesday and falling on the road to Northwestern on Saturday. The latter loss was particularly rough, as it came by an 81-61 final margin. The team now sits at 7-13 overall and 1-9 in Big Ten play. Gopher fans will hope the team can get back on track against Rutgers on the road on Wednesday and Maryland at home on Saturday.