In the history of IndianaHQ’s power rankings of Big Ten basketball, there has not been as tough of a week as this one. Our team had consensus on the number one team (Michigan State) and the number 13 and 14 teams (Nebraska and Northwestern respectively), but there was absolutely chaos for the teams in between. A team was ranked as high as 3 by multiple voters and as low as 9 by others.
There is really no right or wrong answer. Every team has made a case for themselves on why they are hot and why the are not. As a reminder to our readers, these power rankings reflect the strength of the teams at this moment in time, and it does not necessarily consider their full body of work. That analysis is saved for bracketologists.
January 17, 2020 Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings
No. 14 Northwestern (6-10, 1-5 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last Week: Win vs. Nebraska 62-57, Loss vs. Iowa 62-75
Northwestern picked up a victory against Nebraska, but have lost six of their last seven contests. Five of those losses were by single digits and the Wildcats played competitively for the majority of those contests. However, they have not been able to break out from the bottom of the Big Ten and the challenge continues with the Wildcats facing Illinois and Maryland next week.
No. 13 Nebraska (7-10, 2-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last Week: Loss at Northwestern 57-62, Win vs. Penn St. 75-69
After defeating Iowa, the Cornhuskers dropped two matchups against Northwestern and Ohio State. Both losses did not look good as Northwestern is last in the league and the loss to the Buckeyes was by double digits. Nebraska is set for a rematch against Indiana on Saturday. Both teams faced off in a 96-90 overtime thriller back in December.
No. 12 Indiana (13-4, 3-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last Week: Win vs. #11 Ohio St. 66-54, Loss at Rutgers 50-59
More and more questions surround the Hoosiers as the season has progressed. They seem to lack all sorts of consistency and their ability to utilize the talent they have on their team. However, they do not have any “bad” losses on the season. This is something that they will look to try to avoid this weekend when they travel to Nebraska to face a struggling Cornhusker team. If they win they will not only avoid this blow to their resume, but they will get the needed road Big Ten victory they have yet to acquire.
No. 11 Penn State (12-5, 2-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last Week: Loss vs. Wisconsin 49-58, Loss at Minnesota 69-75
The Big Ten grind has been rough on Penn State, who already have more losses in January than they did in the 2019 portion of their schedule. The offense needs to bounce back. After putting up 70+ points in all but one of their first 14 games, PSU has failed to reach that level in their last three. Matchups against top-40 KenPom defenses OSU, Michigan, and Indiana await.
No. 9 (Tie) Minnesota (10-7, 4-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Week: Win vs. #19 Michigan 75-67, Win vs. Penn St. 75-69
Minnesota is coming off back-to-back wins after defeating Michigan and Penn State and improving to 4-3 in the league. Daniel Oturu is continuing his strong play scoring 20.3 points per game, ranking him second in the conference behind Iowa’s Luka Garza. The Golden Gophers travel to both Rutgers and Ohio State next week and are looking to continue gaining ground in an unpredictable Big Ten season.
No. 9 (Tie) Purdue (10-7, 3-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Week: Win vs. #8 Michigan St. 71-42
Trevion Williams continued steamrolling teams inside, putting up 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in the Boilermakers rout of top-10 Michigan St. He won Big Ten Player of the Week for his efforts against Michigan and MSU. A tricky stretch awaits Williams and his teammates, with a road game at Maryland on Saturday, followed by home tilts against Illinois and Wisconsin.
No. 8 Ohio State (12-5, 2-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last Week: Loss at Indiana 54-66, Win vs. Nebraska 80-68
After falling at Assembly Hall, the Buckeyes stopped the bleeding with a win over Nebraska, in which they cracked the 60-point mark for the first time since Dec. 21 vs. Kentucky. Kaleb Wesson notched another double double in the win, the 13th of his career. Will Chris Holtmann reinstate the suspended Luther Muhammad (6.5 PPG) and Duane Washington Jr. (10.7 PPG) for OSU’s trip to Happy Valley on Saturday?
No. 7 Iowa (12-5, 3-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Week: Win vs. #12 Maryland 67-49, Win vs. #12 Maryland 67-49, Win at Northwestern 75-62
Iowa is looking to string together several major wins in a tough conference and can do so this weekend in a match up against Michigan at home. If they do so, it would not be surprising to seem them break into the top 25 again. They don’t play another road game for two weeks so it would not be surprising to seem them continue on a win streak until then.
No. 6 Illinois (12-5, 4-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Week: Win vs. Rutgers 54-51
Illinois is still quietly winning games and now are sitting newar the top of the conference. They have only won the last two games by a combined 4 points, but expect them to easily surpass that total this weekend against a struggling Northwestern team.
No. 5 Rutgers (13-4, 4-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last Week: Loss at Illinois 51-54, Win vs. Indiana 59-50
Rutgers is currently safely within the group of dancers in March, especially if they can hold serve at the Rutgers Athletic Center, where they are currently undefeated this season. The Scarlet Knights are tied for second in the Big Ten with four wins against tough teams.
No. 4 Michigan (11-5, 2-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last Week: Loss at Minnesota 67-75
Michigan kept the game against the Gophers close until about two minutes left in the second half. The Wolverines could not contain Marcus Carr and Daniel Oturu. Because of this, another team that should’ve gotten the job done on the road, failed to do so. Furthermore, Isaiah Livers’ absence continues to haunt the Wolverines.
No. 3 Maryland (13-4, 3-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Week: Loss at Iowa 49-67, Loss at Wisconsin 54-56
We said last week if Maryland won at Iowa and at Wisconsin, they were the real deal. Instead, their road struggles continue. However, road struggles are running rampant in the Big Ten. They host Purdue this Saturday, and since they’re hosting, the Terrapins will likely win.
No. 2 Wisconsin (11-6, 4-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last Week: Win at #20 Penn St. 58-49, Win vs. #17 Maryland 56-54
Wisconsin won this week with a road win against a ranked Penn State team, as well as a home victory against Maryland. The Badgers have absolutely flipped their trajectory of the season after a rough 5-5 start to the season. Since then, they have gone 6-1 including four wins that will likely end up in quadrant I.
No. 1 Michigan State (13-4, 5-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last Week: Loss at Purdue 42-71
Out of all the Big Ten teams we’d expect to win on the road against any other Big Ten team besides Nebraska and Northwestern, it would be Michigan State. Yet once again, winning on the road in this conference is extremely challenging for any team. They got stomped in West Lafayette, as Purdue controlled the game from start to finish. MSU is undoubtedly still a conference contender. They have forget the loss at Purdue and look ahead.
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