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Another week in the Big Ten means another twist in the power rankings. As we already probably have figured out by now, this conference is nuts. Each week, there are upsets or massive season-shifting wins. It seems like Michigan State is back on track, and Illinois might spoil another team’s hopes in the Big Ten Tournament. Additionally, Penn State is clearly tired of losing close games, which they stated in major upset-winning fashion, and Purdue’s hot boiling engines seemed to have cooled off a bit. Just when you might think Indiana is back on track, they derail once again. Anyhow, this conference is still up for grabs, and the Big Ten Tournament will surely be chaotic. Let us just hope that the teams that make it to March can actually still play in March. Here are this week’s power rankings.

Big Ten Power Rankings: February 15th, 2019

T1

Purdue

17-7 (10-3)

Last: 1
The Boilermakers, who sport one of the five most efficient offenses in the nation (per KenPom), blew away Nebraska before shooting 17% in the second half in a loss at Maryland. Matt Painter’s crew is firmly in the mix for the Big Ten title and will likely be favored in every game until the postseason. Can the Hoosiers throw a wrench into things on Tuesday night?

  • Win against Nebraska 81-62
  • Loss at #24 Maryland 56-70

T1

Michigan State

20-5 (11-3)

Last: 5
After a tough 3-game losing streak, Tom Izzo has the Spartans right back in the thick of things with wins against Minnesota and a top-25 Wisconsin team. Look for Michigan State to finish near the top of the conference as they close out the Big Ten.

  • Win against Minnesota 79-55
  • Win at #20 Wisconsin 67-59

3

Michigan

22-3 (11-3)

Last: 2
Buckle up, Michigan bandwagoners. The Wolverines, experiencing some February turbulence, take on Maryland and Michigan State twice each in the six games to end the regular season. With the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments to follow, could John Beilein’s crew run out of gas after their spectacular 17-0 start?

  • Win against #19 Wisconsin 61-52
  • Loss at Penn St. 69-75

4

Maryland

19-6 (10-4)

Last: 6
After losing to Illinois at home, the Terrapins could have easily crumbled into a big losing streak. Instead, they got better, going 3-1 in their last 4, beating Northwestern, Nebraska, and, more importantly, Purdue. Defeating Purdue pushes Maryland closer to a potential conference title and pushes them much closer to a higher seed in March. Their next two games are at Michigan and at Iowa, two extremely difficult, yet important games.

  • Win against #12 Purdue 70-56

5

Iowa

19-5 (8-5)

Last: 4
This group is still finding ways to win tough conference games even though Luka Garza has only played 30 minutes in the prior two games combined. So how are they winning? Jordan Bohannon is 8-12 from deep the last two games, and freshman Joe Wieskamp has stepped up big time. Iowa still has a shot at winning the conference. They face Rutgers on the road and Maryland at home, which are two very winnable games.

  • Win against Northwestern 80-79

6

Wisconsin

17-8 (9-5)

Last: 3
On the surface, losses to top-12 teams Michigan and MSU do not seem like causes for concern. However, a deeper dive suggests some alarming trends for Wisconsin. The Badgers are among the worst in the nation at offensive rebounding (323rd in OR%), getting to the charity stripe (324th in FTA/FGA), and making those free throws (326th in FT%). Prediction: the Badgers fall in their first NCAA Tournament game due to these issues.

  • Loss at #7 Michigan 52-61
  • Loss against #11 Michigan St. 59-67

7

Minnesota

16-9 (6-8)

Last: 8
The Gophers have lost the last four games, with the last loss coming from a Nebraska team that was able to get rid of their own seven-game skid. Speaking of skids, Indiana comes to down next on Saturday with their own two-game losing streak.

  • Loss at #9 Michigan State 55-79
  • Loss at Nebraska 61-62

8

Illinois

10-15 (6-8)

Last: 10
The Illini are clearly fighting now, as they have racked up a 4-game winning streak in one of the best conferences in basketball. After a major upset victory over the Spartans, the momentum continued into victories against Rutgers and on the road in Columbus, Ohio. What’s gotten into the former bottom-of-the-barrel group recently? The freshman from Georgia (the country, not the state), Giorgi Bezhanishvili, scored 48 points off 20-27 shooting the last two games.

  • Win against Rutgers 99-94 (OT)
  • Win at Ohio State 63-56

9

Ohio State

16-8 (6-7)

Last: 7
The Ohio State Buckeyes are continuing to maintain their own within the league. While they have not won any shocking games, they were at least taking care of business, until the Illinois game. Their win at Assembly Hall was arguably their most impressive Big Ten win so far.

  • Win at Indiana 55-52
  • Loss against Illinois 56-63

T10

Penn State

9-15 (2-11)

Last: 14
Entering Tuesday, PSU was 1-11 in conference play. Their opponent, #6 Michigan, was 11-2. Of course, that meant absolutely nothing as the underdog Nittany Lions pulled the upset. Junior forward Lamar Stevens has owned defenses all season, but in conference play, he ranks 3rd in PPG (behind Edwards and Winston) and, impressively, 1st in minutes per game (37.5).

  • Win against #6 Michigan 75-69

T10

Indiana

13-11 (4-9)

Last: 9
Just when you think that Indiana’s season might turn around significantly after a stunning road win at MSU, they lose two close home games in a row to Iowa and Ohio State. Even though Luka Garza and Kaleb Wesson were in foul trouble, the Hoosiers still did not snag a victory in either game. When looking at perimeter shooting, Iowa and Ohio State both shot at least 40% from deep. Furthermore, IU shot at least 30% from deep both games, which is a significant improvement compared to prior weeks. In the end, however, these losses most likely mean IU will not dance in March.

  • Loss against Ohio State 52-55

12

Rutgers

12-12 (5-9)

Last: 11
Rutgers had never won more than three conference games in a season since joining the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights’ win at Northwestern on Wednesday gave them win #5, with six games left. Head coach Steve Pikiell, whose mother passed away on Saturday, deserves serious Big Ten Coach of the Year consideration.

  • Loss at Illinois 94-99 (OT)
  • Win at Northwestern 59-56

13

Nebraska

14-11 (4-10)

Last: 13
The Cornhuskers broke their own seven-game losing streak at the expense of Minnesota. Although they have two easier games in Northwestern and Penn State coming up, they will end the season with four games against ranked Big Ten opponents. The road will not be easy for Tim Miles, especially without Isaac Copeland.

  • Loss at #15 Purdue 62-81
  • Win against Minnnesota 62-61

14

Northwestern

12-12 (3-10)

Last: 12
Northwestern continues to struggle as they hit .500 with two losses this week against Iowa, understandably, but also to Rutgers, who is starting to move up the Big Ten ranks. With Penn State’s win in Michigan, the Wildcats are looking at the basement.

  • Loss at #20 Iowa 79-80
  • Loss against Rutgers 56-59
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