We’re getting down to the final days of the regular season now and you could feel it on the court last week. The games had some extra intensity and seasons were on the line. And while Purdue clinched a share of the Big Ten title over the weekend, there’s still a lot that remains unsettled heading into the final week of regular season play.
So, let’s jump into this week’s Power Rankings.
Big Ten Week 16 Power Rankings
#1 - Indiana Hoosiers (—)
The Hoosiers had a pretty impressive performance this week, even though the team split its slate. Indiana opened with a loss on the road against Michigan State on Tuesday, but rebounded with a massive upset over Purdue on the road on Saturday night. It was Indiana’s first win in Mackey in a decade. A streak Hoosier fans must be thrilled to see broken.
Indiana now enters the final week of the regular season at 20-9 overall and 11-7 in Big Ten play. The Hoosiers technically still have a shot at a share of the Big Ten title, but it will take a perfect set of circumstances to get there and a lot of help from Purdue. The good news for Hoosier fans is that Indiana gets a manageable closing slate with Iowa at home on Tuesday and Michigan at home on Sunday. KenPom favors Indiana solidly in both games.
Still, even if Indiana can’t make up to the two-game deficit to Purdue in the standings this week, fans have to be thrilled with the season to date. The Hoosiers swept arch-rival Purdue and are playing their best basketball heading into March, which is something the program has struggled with over the last decade. Keep that rolling and this team is good enough to earn some hardware next month.
#2 - Maryland Terrapins (+2)
The Terps had a great week, scoring a win over Minnesota at home on Wednesday and beating a hot Northwestern team by double-digits at home on Sunday. The win over the Wildcats pushed Maryland to 20-9 overall and 11-7 in Big Ten play.
At this point, it’s hard to understand why the Terps aren’t getting more national attention. Maryland has won two straight, four of five, and 8 of its last 10 games. The Terps are also now all the way up to 17th on KenPom nationally. And if you use TRank’s segmented tool and only look at data since January 25th (the last 10 games), Maryland ranks fifth nationally by TRank’s numbers and first in the Big Ten. That’s the kind of play that gets you to April.
Limited sample size or not, those TRank numbers are obviously impressive. And with the season quickly drawing to a close, Terp fans should start dreaming big. This is a really good team capable of some big things in March. The key will be adding diversity on offense because somebody will figure out how to slow down Jahmir Young in the postseason.
Maryland will close the regular season with two road games this week. However, both look manageable with Ohio State on the road on Wednesday and Penn State on the road on Sunday.
#3 - Purdue Boilermakers (-1)
The Boilermakers had a rough week, dropping the team’s only game at home against arch-rival Indiana on Saturday night. The loss to Indiana dropped Purdue to 24-5 overall and 13-5 in Big Ten play. It was Purdue’s fourth loss in six games, which is obviously a disappointing drop from the team’s impressive 22-1 start.
Losing to Indiana is always going to be painful for Boilermaker fans. However, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Those losses are two games in a long season and things aren’t done yet. Purdue still earned a share of the Big Ten title over the weekend (thanks to Northwestern’s loss to Maryland), has two shots to earn the title outright this week, and will get an opportunity to avenge its losses in Chicago. There’s a ton still on the line.
Purdue will close things out with Wisconsin on the road on Thursday and Illinois at home on Sunday. KenPom favors the Boilermakers in both games, though that Thursday matchup against the Badgers should be really intriguing given Wisconsin’s desperate situation.
#4 - Northwestern Wildcats (-1)
The Wildcats had a horrific week of play, falling on the road against arch-rival Illinois on Thursday and on the road against Maryland on Sunday. The loss to the Terps was particularly disappointing, as it marked Northwestern’s first lopsided loss in quite some time. The struggles dropped Northwestern to 20-9 overall and 11-7 in Big Ten play.
Northwestern remains comfortably in the NCAA Tournament, but last week was certainly a missed opportunity. The Wildcats were within a game of Purdue in the Big Ten standings and now need a perfect finish to even have a shot at sharing the league title. Regardless of Northwestern’s expectations a few months ago, it’s an opportunity you don’t see often (and certainly in Evanston), so Northwestern needed to capitalize. Unfortunately, the Wildcats didn’t do it and now will need some major help from Purdue to have a chance.
This week, Northwestern will get Penn State at home on Wednesday and Rutgers on the road on Sunday. Both games look pretty challenging.
#5 - Iowa Hawkeyes (+1)
The Hawkeyes had a relatively wild week, falling on the road to Wisconsin on Thursday and rebounding win an insane comeback win over Michigan State at home on Saturday. It’s hard to put the craziness of Iowa’s win over the Spartans into words, so we’ll let KenPom’s in-game odds chart do the talking:
This is still absolutely insane. pic.twitter.com/CfIYkshxav— Thomas Beindit (@tbeindit) February 27, 2023
Iowa had no business winning the game, but somehow came out on top. Props to the Hawkeyes on getting the job done.
This week, Iowa will face Indiana on the road on Tuesday and rival Nebraska at home on Sunday. It’s going to be really tough to sweep these games. A split seems likely.
#6 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-1)
The Scarlet Knights split the team’s games this week, falling at home to Michigan on Thursday and rebounding with a road win over Penn State on Sunday. The mixed results left Rutgers sitting at 18-11 overall and 10-8 in Big Ten play.
Rutgers will hope to close out the regular season strong this week with Minnesota on the road on Thursday and Northwestern at home on Sunday. KenPom favors the Scarlet Knights in both games.
#7 - Penn State Nittany Lions (—)
The Nittany Lions had a relatively disappointing week, going 1-1 against what looked like a manageable slate. Penn State beat Ohio State on the road on Thursday, but collapsed down the stretch against Rutgers at home on Sunday. The split left Penn State sitting at 17-12 overall and 8-10 in Big Ten play.
Obviously, the loss to the Scarlet Knights was a rough one and for a variety of reasons. Blowing a 19-point lead late in a game is bad enough, but the implications were perhaps even rougher, as Penn State now finds itself in precarious footing for the NCAA Tournament. Most bracketologists now have Penn State narrowly outside the field heading into the final week of the regular season. The Nittany Lions probably would have been on the right side of things had they simply held on against Rutgers.
Penn State will get two chances to get on the right side of the bubble this week with Northwestern on the road on Wednesday and Maryland at home on Sunday. KenPom has the Nittany Lions as underdogs in both games.
#8 - Michigan Wolverines (+2)
The Wolverines had an incredible week, knocking off Rutgers on the road on Thursday by double-digits and beating Wisconsin in an overtime thriller at home on Sunday. The wins pushed Michigan to 17-12 overall and 11-7 in Big Ten play. Hunter Dickinson’s shot to force overtime against the Badgers was particularly impressive:
Despite a horrid start to the season, Michigan surprisingly enters the last week of the regular season as one of the five teams in the Big Ten title race. TRank only gives the Wolverines a 0.3 percent shot at grabbing a share, but even the possibility is something that would have shocked fans even a few weeks ago.
Like a few other teams on this list, Michigan remains in the NCAA bubble discussion and will hope to grab a few wins to get on the right side of the discussion. Those efforts will continue with Illinois on the road on Thursday and Indiana on the road on Sunday. Even a split would be massive for Michigan’s hopes.
#9 - Nebraska Cornhuskers (—)
The Huskers added another win to the team’s hot streak this week with a win over Minnesota at home on Saturday. It was Nebraska’s fourth straight win and pushed the Huskers to 15-14 overall and 8-10 in Big Ten play. Nebraska is likely just a win or two away from getting a serious shot at this year’s NIT. It would be the program’s first postseason appearance since 2019.
Nebraska will close the regular season with Michigan State at home on Tuesday and Iowa on the road on Sunday. KenPom has the Huskers as underdogs in both games. However, Nebraska has been defying odds for a few weeks, so take those projections with a grain of salt.
#10 - Illinois Fighting Illini (-2)
The Illini had mixed results this week, with a win over rival Northwestern on Thursday and a loss at Ohio State on Sunday. The split left Illinois at 19-10 overall and 10-8 in Big Ten play. Once again, Illinois took once step forward and one backward.
Illinois will hope to get back on track with Michigan at home on Thursday and Purdue on the road on Sunday. KenPom expects a split.
#11 - Michigan State Spartans (—)
The Spartans had another emotional stretch this week. Michigan State returned home for the first time since the tragic events earlier this week and earned a hard fought win over Indiana on Tuesday night. AJ Hoggard led the way with 22 points. Unfortunately, Michigan State followed up the win with an incredible collapse against Iowa on Saturday afternoon. The loss to the Hawkeyes dropped Michigan State to 17-11 overall and 9-8 in Big Ten play.
Michigan State will get two manageable games on the docket to close the regular season with Nebraska on the road on Tuesday and Ohio State at home on Saturday. The Spartans should be safe for the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens, but two losses could put the team in a challenging seeding placement, to say the least.
#12 - Wisconsin Badgers (—)
The Badgers split the team’s games, beating Iowa at home on Wednesday and falling on the road to Michigan on Sunday. The loss to the Wolverines was particularly rough, as Wisconsin held a three-point lead with just seconds remaining but gave up a buzzer beater. The mixed results left Wisconsin sitting at 16-12 overall and 8-10 in Big Ten play.
Wisconsin will now close the regular season with Purdue at home on Thursday and Minnesota on the road on Sunday. Badger fans will hope for a sweep, especially with the team hinging on the NCAA Tournament bubble. It’s likely going to take at least two wins for the Badgers to feel good about the team’s postseason hopes.
#13 - Ohio State Buckeyes (+1)
The Buckeyes finally got back on track this week. While Ohio State began with a tough loss to Penn State on Thursday, the team bounced back with a massive win over Illinois on Sunday. It was Ohio State’s first win since January 21st and prevented the Buckeyes from going winless in the month of February. That would have been a first for Ohio State in the history of KenPom. Fortunately for Buckeye fans, that didn’t come to fruition.
Ohio State will close out the regular season with Maryland at home on Wednesday and Michigan State on the road on Saturday. The Buckeyes are already locked into a Wednesday game in the Big Ten Tournament and have no at-large postseason hopes, so this week technically won’t mean much, but fans will hope to see some progress from the team.
#14 - Minnesota Golden Gophers (-1)
The Gophers lost all three of the team’s games last week, falling on the road to Illinois, Maryland, and Nebraska. None of the three games was particularly competitive, though Minnesota kept the Illinois game within single-digits. Minnesota now sits at 7-20 overall and 1-16 in Big Ten play. The Gophers will hope to close things on a positive note with Rutgers at home on Thursday and arch-rival Wisconsin at home on Sunday.