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Another week in the Big Ten brings another shift in the teams. With Michigan State’s loss at Purdue, there are no longer any undefeated teams in the conference. The schedule for everyone in the conference is absolutely brutal. The tiering of teams is starting to shape up, and it will be interesting to see who moves in and out of these natural tiers with the top group including the Michigan, MSU, and, arguably, Purdue. The struggling Hoosiers are certainly on the bottom shelf and desperately need to pick things up before the season is considered a major disappointment.

Big Ten Power Rankings: February 1st, 2019

1

Michigan

20-1 (9-1)

Last: 2
After stumbling in Madison, the Wolverines responded with two resounding defeats of IU and OSU. No team in the nation allows fewer free throw attempts per game than Michigan, who give up a paltry 11.9 per contest.

  • Win at Indiana 69-46
  • Win against Ohio State 65-49

2

Purdue

15-6 (8-2)

Last: 4
Purdue is quickly becoming the center of the discussion when it comes to being the top team in the conference. The Boilermakers looked outstanding in its win over Michigan State, especially on the boards, winning the rebound battle, 42-33.

  • Win against #6 Michigan State 73-63
  • Win at Penn State 99-90

3

Michigan State

18-3 (9-1)

Last: 1
Josh Langford is out for the year, but it probably will not matter. Not to take anything away from Langford’s abilities, but this team is still fantastic, and they will definitely bounce back. It is extremely difficult to win in Purdue. MSU’s upcoming schedule involves facing a reeling Hoosiers team and Illinois on the road. Even though this conference is highly unpredictable, MSU has seemingly avoided the surprising loss so far. We will see if they can stay consistent.

  • Loss at Purdue 63-73

4

Wisconsin

15-6 (7-3)

Last: 5
Badger big man Ethan Happ is simply playing out of his mind. After a triple-double against Michigan last week, Happ earned his second one of the season against Northwestern on Saturday with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.

  • Win against Northwestern 62-46
  • Win against Nebraska 62-51

5

Maryland

17-5 (8-3)

Last: 3
Maryland wins this week’s “life comes at you fast” award in the Big Ten. After reeling off seven straight wins, the Terps suffered setbacks at MSU, and much more surprisingly, vs. Illinois. Mark Turgeon’s team faces a brutal schedule in February, starting with a road game vs. Wisconsin tonight.

  • Loss against Illinois 67-78
  • Win against Northwestern 70-52

6

Minnesota

16-5 (6-4)

Last: 8
After a heartbreaking loss at Illinois, Minnesota has bounced back by winning 3 of their last 4, barely losing to Michigan in Ann Arbor. Specifically looking at the victory against a solid, ranked Iowa Haweyes group, Gophers upperclassmen Jordan Murphy and Amir Coffey stepped up big time and led the Gophers to victory. Furthermore, they stayed hot by performing well against Illinois the next game. Their next three games are extremely difficult, as they face a surging Purdue on the road, Wisconsin, and MSU on the road. If the Gophers pick up two wins in this 3 game stretch, I think the entire conference and nation would consider them serious tournament threats. This may seem unlikely, but anything is possible this year in the Big Ten.

  • Win against #19 Iowa 92-87
  • Win against Illinois 86-75

7

Iowa

16-5 (5-5)

Last: 6
If you like high-scoring games, the Hawkeyes are your team. Iowa possesses the 10th-most efficient offense in the nation, but only the 120th-ranked defense, per KenPom. That exploitable defense allowed Minnesota to score its most points since Nov. 6. Iowa will look to defend its #25 ranking (USA Today Coaches Poll) at home against #5 Michigan tonight.

  • Loss at Minnesota 87-92

8

Ohio State

13-7 (3-6)

Last: 10
After losing five in a row, OSU finally broke the slump by beating Nebraska on the road, which is no easy feat. They did not carry the momentum into Ann Arbor, however, as they failed to crack 50 points against Michigan’s stifling defense. After freshman Luther Muhammad’s fantastic 24-point performance in Nebraska, he only shot the ball five times against Michigan. OSU’s next two games are at home against Rutgers and Penn State, two very winnable contests. But once again, any team can win any game in the Big Ten, so OSU has to play their best in both games to record victories. Winning these next two will not only boost the team’s confidence, but also greatly improve their March odds.

  • Win at Nebraska 70-60
  • Loss at #5 Michigan 49-65

9

Rutgers

11-9 (4-6)

Last: 11
Whoever thought that Rutgers would be a team with a three-game winning streak in conference play? That streak could increase to four games with an upcoming contest against Ohio State Saturday.

  • Win at Penn State 64-60
  • Win against Indiana 66-58

10

Nebraska

12-8 (3-7)

Last: 7
After dominating the Hoosiers in Assembly Hall, the Cornhuskers have lost four straight to MSU, Rutgers, OSU, and Wisconsin. The conference is difficult, but losing winnable games hurts in this highly competitive league. To make matters worse, senior Isaac Copeland suffered a season-ending injury on Saturday. Nebraska faces Illinois on the road and Maryland their next two games. Illinois is no joke as they recently defeated Maryland at home, and Maryland is a solid team. Nebraska might lose sight of tournament hopes if they don’t get out of this slump. Lastly, James Palmer Jr. shot 5-19 in the loss against Wisconsin.

  • Loss against Ohio State 60-70
  • Loss against #24 Wisconsin 51-62

11

Northwestern

12-9 (3-7)

Last: 9
After winning a key home game agaisnt the Hoosiers, Northwestern lost two straight games, both on the road against Wisconsin and Maryland. Both games were not close, which is not a good sign. After torching IU from deep, Aaron Falzon has only taken 8 threes the last two games, making 3 of them. Vic Law and Dererk Pardon have slumped a bit recently as well. Northwestern faces Penn State at home and Iowa on the road their next two games. PSU has been so close to winning their first conference game many times, and if Northwestern isn’t careful, it could be problematic. Iowa has only lost one game at home, which was to MSU. Northwestern needs to dig deep and win these next few to improve tournament odds.

  • Loss at Wisconsin 46-62
  • Loss at #21 Maryland 52-70

12

Illinois

6-15 (2-8)

Last: 13
It happened six days ago, but what a win Brad Underwood’s crew registered against Maryland at MSG. The Illini have three players averaging more than 12.0 PPG in conference play: Ayo Dosunmu (14.8), Trent Frazier (13.1), and Giorgi Bezhanishvili (12.6).

  • Win vs. #13 Maryland 78-67
  • Loss at Minnesota 75-86

13

Indiana

12-9 (3-7)

Last: 12
The losing streak has reached seven, and IU fans, players, and coaches all seem to be frantically searching for the secret ingredient to get the Hoosiers back on track. One area that desperately needs to improve is three-point shooting; IU has made a dreadful 25.3% of threes in conference play, which is last in the Big Ten.

  • Loss against #5 Michigan 69-46
  • Loss at Rutgers 58-66

14

Penn State

7-14 (0-10)

Last: 14
In its last three contests the Nittany Lions have looked extremely competitve. With games against Northwestern and Ohio State this week, it is very possible that Penn State could win its first conference game of the season.

  • Loss against Rutgers 60-64
  • Loss against #17 Purdue (OT) 90-99
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