With just a few games left in this Big Ten roller coaster ride of a season, there’s only three teams left to make the push as conference champions in Michigan State, Purdue, and Michigan.
It’s crazy how even though Michigan has a measly four losses and three of them being on the road in conference play, they currently are third in the conference. Once again, it’s critical for every college basketball fan, analyst, player, and coach to realize that the Big Ten is THE BEST conference this year, no question.
This is important because it’s March 1st, which means the tournament is around the corner. Isn’t it also crazy that if IU wins its remaining three games and maybe takes a game or two in the Big Ten tournament, that they’re probably in the field?
The win against Wisconsin adds another quad 1 victory to the list for the Hoosiers, making the total number of quad 1 wins now 5, and that number can increase to 6 this Saturday against the Spartans, who now look like Michigan from a few weeks ago or even today, as the Wolverines clearly look like they’ve bounced back big time after demolishing Nebraska. Hopefully people haven’t forgotten about the Boilermakers, who’ve now won 12 of their last 13 games in the best conference, yet the AP top 25 has them below teams like Nevada and Houston.
Their margins of victory may not have been that large, but, as has been noted, this conference is stacked, so any victory is a great victory.
Now, what you all have been waiting for, here are this week’s rankings.
Big Ten Power Rankings: March 1st, 2019
|In typical fashion, Michigan State works out all its issues as the season progresses and becomes a nearly unbeatable team come March. It will be interesting to see how Izzo’s squad faces the challenge of a developing Hoosier squad this weekend. Cassius Winston is earning his deserved honors of being in the POTY discussion.
|Purdue has the ability to win and make a deep run in the tournament. Carsen Edwards is playing at an elite level again after two down games against Indiana and Nebraska. Painter continues to be one of the most underrated basketball coaches in the country with how he has developed a winning squad.
|Izzo knew the formula to win in Ann Arbor, and Beilein has responded with a nearly 30 point victory on the road against Nebraska. Michigan is now ranked 9 in the AP polls, the lowest they have been ranked since Week 2 of the season.
|Wisconsin is out of the running for the Big Ten regular season title, but have the capability to win any game the rest of the season with POTY candidate Ethan Happ. A tough loss against the Hoosiers will hurt the Badgers in their seeding come Selection Sunday.
|A bad loss against a lowly Penn State team does not bode well for the Terrapins as they face Michigan this week. They are safely in the bracket at this point, and need to close out the season strong with the remaining schedule being home games.
|When Iowa loses, they often lose by a lot. Four of their 7 losses in the conference have come by 15+ points. The drama with Fran does not help for this upcoming week. It will be interesting to see how the Hawkeyes respond as they have the team to make a run in the tournament.
|Ohio State picked up a massive quad 1 win against Iowa and had a massive outing from freshman Justin Ahrens, who picked up 29 points, hit 6-10 from deep and all 9 of his free throw attempts. His recent uptick in playing time should only increase from here on out, and henceforth, Ohio State’s chances of winning. The win against Iowa pushes the Buckeyes closer for a chance to dance in March. The question is, can they close the season out strong against Purdue and Northwestern on the road, and Wisconsin at home? If OSU wins 2 of 3, they should be a lock in March.
|Minnesota has been stuck in the middle of the Big Ten for weeks now with no big victories or bad losses (apart from Nebraska). They have two more chances to close the season with games against Purdue and Maryland – both ranked opponents. Murphy continues his dominance in the Big Ten with a presence down in the paint game after game.
|After a four game win streak in the Big Ten, the Illini have lost 3 in a row and appear to leveling out near the bottom of the Big Ten. Three winable games against PSU, Indiana and NW to finish the season will potentially help the Illini come Big Ten Tournament time in a few weeks.
|Two solid wins for the Nittany Lions late in the season over the last week will give them a boost in the rankings. Lamar Stevens continues to play at a top level with a 24 and 25 point game this week while Penn State rides a solid 3 game win streak in the ever difficult Big Ten.
|It looks like Rutgers’ non-conference play and some close conference games might come back to haunt them. Currently 9th in the Big Ten, a few more wins earlier in the season could’ve surely put them in the field this March. Omoruyi and Baker are probably gonna stay for next year, so at least the Scarlet Knights can look forward to that, and perhaps a deep NIT run.
|Moments of brilliance scattered amongst a season of underwhelming performances. The Hoosiers shined against Wisconsin and played well against Iowa and play against their fourth ranked opponent in a row, Michigan State, this week. Even from an unbiased standpoint, the Hoosiers are easily the most volatile team amongst the Big Ten ranking-wise.
|When Nebraska was 15-12 last week before having to face Purdue, Michigan, MSU and Iowa, they actually had a chance to make the tourney…….if they won 3 of 4. Unfortunately, the loss of Issac Copeland Jr. is surely still affecting the Huskers, as they’ve lost three in a row after winning two key games against Minnesota and Northwestern. Wins against MSU and Iowa, although unlikely, can definitely secure a spot in the NIT.
|There isn’t much to say about the Wildcats anymore as they’ve lost 9 straight. Their last victory was against the Hoosiers, in which the Wildcats hit over 40% of their threes. They haven’t shot 40% from deep since. After hitting six long balls against IU, Aaron Falzon has hit 7-32 since. It’s surely safe to say the Hoosiers got unlucky that night. The departures of Dererk Pardon and Vic Law after this year are hard to fathom for NW fans as well. Those two deserve a standing ovation on senior night.