While football fans mope over an uneventful conclusion to the season, Big Ten basketball fans are buckling up for a wild second half of conference play. In the last week, Michigan State and Minnesota fumbled away opportunities to improve their standing, while Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois scored impressive wins. Meanwhile, IU showed they were a true wild card, pulling off a huge road upset win over the weekend, only to fall in a close, tough home game five days later. There was no time for a halftime show; see how the teams stack up going into another big week below.

Big Ten Power Rankings: February 8th, 2019



16-6 (9-2)

Last: 2
Purdue is the hottest team in the conference right now, no questions asked. Even though their victories against Penn State and Minnesota weren’t statement wins, it showed that this team has tons of fortitude, and their leader, Carsen Edwards, is a phenom. Even though he didn’t shoot well overall from the field against Minnesota, he still hit key shots and dished out important assists to cut a double digit deficit late. Their next two games are against Nebraska and at Maryland. Although Nebraska is struggling big time, you have to take every team in this conference seriously. Maryland is also looking for revenge.

  • Win against Minnesota 73-63



21-2 (10-2)

Last: 1
The Wolverines had their worst lost of the season against Iowa Saturday missing 25 threes in addition to losing the rebound battle 48-36.

  • Win against Rutgers 77-65
  • Loss against Iowa 74-59



15-6 (7-3)

Last: 4
Wisconsin is the second hottest team in this conference. They’re on a six game winning streak, most notably winning against Michigan and Maryland at home and defeating a tough Minnesota on the road. Wisconsin might have the most difficult two game stretch in the nation, as they face Michigan on the road, and MSU at home. Ethan Happ is playing great basketball. It’s interesting to see that he’s not only averaging a double double, but he also averages 5 assists per game.

  • Win against Maryland 69-61
  • Win at Minnesota 56-51



18-5 (7-5)

Last: 7
Fran McCaffery has the Hawkeyes rolling at the moment with back to back victories against Michigan at home and Indiana on the road. The Hawkeyes continue to build their tournament resume. After a rocky start to conference play, they have righted their ship and are trending upwards.

  • Win at Indiana 77-72
  • Win against #5 Michigan 74-59


Michigan State

18-5 (9-3)

Last: 3
This week’s winner of the “life comes at you fast” award in the conference, the Spartans had a shocking week with two losses against unranked opponents, extending its losing streak to three. One area that Tom Izzo will look to fix is defensive rebounding: MSU has conceded 48 offensive boards during the losing streak.

  • Loss against Indiana 75-79
  • Loss at Illinois 74-79



18-6 (9-4)

Last: 5
For Maryland to remain competitive in the Big 10, the Terrapins needs to see more production from its bench. In its loss against Wisconsin Friday, Maryland saw just two points from its non-starters.

  • Win against Nebraska 60-45
  • Loss at Wisconsin 69-61


Ohio State

15-7 (5-6)

Last: 8
Two home games against Rutgers and Penn St. seem to have steadied the Buckeyes’ turbulent season, for now. Next up for Ohio St. is a trip to Bloomington, where Chris Holtmann and Archie Miller will square off in a battle of second-year coaches.

  • Win against Rutgers 76-62
  • Win against Penn St. 74-70



16-7 (6-6)

Last: 6
Although they lost both games, Minnesota can look back on the past week with an optimistic viewpoint. They played competitively against the two hottest teams in the Big Ten, nearly upsetting both Purdue and Wisconsin. They fell short in both contests, however, and now face a tough two-game trip to Michigan St. (gulp) and Nebraska.

  • Loss at #17 Purdue 63-73
  • Loss against #19 Wisconsin 51-56



13-10 (4-8)

Last: 13
The good news: Indiana’s losing streak is over and they did it with convincing fashion. Also, the Hoosiers are playing with a significantly noticeable difference in their energy level. The bad news: the losing streak starts again after they lost a close game.

  • Loss against Iowa 77-72
  • Win at #6 Michigan State 79-75



8-15 (4-8)

Last: 12
Give the Fighting Illini’s defense full credit for its huge win against Michigan State Tuesday. Not only did Illinois force 24 Spartan turnovers, but also had 12 steals and three blocks in the process.

  • Win against #6 Michigan State 79-74
  • Win against Nebraska 71-64



11-11 (4-8)

Last: 9
After picking up two extremely critical conference wins against Penn State and Indiana, the Scarlet Knights couldn’t pull through at Ohio State or against Michigan. Both games were double digit losses, and it looks like this team has fallen back down to earth. Eugene Omoruyi has been a bright spot for this team, however, and still has his senior year left.

  • Loss at Ohio State 76-62
  • Loss against #7 Michigan 77-65



12-10 (3-8)

Last: 11
No one could criticize the Wildcats for any of their five January losses, all of which were against the upper echelon of the conference. However, their lifeless performance at home to give Penn St. its first Big Ten win is cause for concern. Since returning from a mid-January injury, senior forward Vic Law has shot a paltry 18.5% (10-54) from the field.

  • Loss against Penn St. 52-59



13-10 (3-9)

Last: 10
Just a few weeks ago, the majority of the conference wanted to avoid the dangerous Huskers. Six consecutive losses and a brutal season-ending injury later, Nebraska’s NCAA Tournament hopes are on life support. Star guard James Palmer, Jr., who made 44% of his field goals last season, desperately needs to improve his 32% record in Big Ten play.

  • Loss at Illinois 64-71
  • Loss against #24 Maryland 45-60


Penn State

8-15 (1-11)

Last: 14
Penn State finally picked up its first conference win of the season at Northwestern after suffering numerous close defeats. However, they couldn’t pull through against Ohio State, which unfortunately again was a close finish. Imagine if PSU could’ve just pulled through with a victory in half of their 8 conference losses by single digits. It would be a totally different season. This team is good, but the conference is just too competitive this year.

  • Win at Northwestern 59-52
  • Loss at Ohio State 74-70

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