Brooks Barnhizer, Northwestern Wildcats, Big Ten basketball

Joe Jackson and Ethan Carbone combine to give their Big Ten basketball power rankings for week 15.


Matchup of the week: Northwestern vs. Indiana

Sneaky good matchup of the week: Iowa vs Northwestern

All times listed are EST.

1) Purdue Boilermakers

Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)

Record: 23-3 (12-3)

Last week: Iowa (W) 87-73, @ Northwestern (L) 58-64

This week: @ Maryland  (Feb. 16 – 6:30 p.m.), Ohio State (Feb. 19 – 1 p.m.)

Best wins: Marquette, Gonzaga, Duke, Michigan State (x2), West Virginia, Penn State

Worst losses: N/A

In the past week, Purdue had been slowed down a bit compared to all of their previous games as Zach Edey scored a combined 38 points in both games. He also turned the ball over six times in the game against Northwestern. Purdue couldn’t defend the guards of the Wildcats late into the game, which cost them their third loss of the season and second in the last three games.

2) Indiana Hoosiers

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)

Record: 18-7 (9-5)

Last week: #24 Rutgers (W) 66-60, @ Michigan (W) 62-61

This week: Northwestern (Feb. 15 – 9 p.m.), Illinois (Feb. 18 – Noon)

Best wins: Purdue, @ Xavier, @ Illinois, Rutgers, Michigan State, North Carolina, @ Michigan

Worst losses: N/A

Indiana had a couple of close calls but Trace Jackson-Davis and Miller Kopp were able to escape the pressure from Rutgers’ defense. Against Michigan, they had an even closer call but this time alongside Jackson-Davis was Jalen Hood-Schifino who scored 21 on efficient shooting. 

3) Illinois Fighting Illini

Last week’s ranking: 4 (+1)

Record: 17-7 (8-5)

Last week: #24 Rutgers (W) 69-60

This week: @ Penn State (Feb. 14 – 7 p.m.), @ #14 Indiana ( Feb. 18 – Noon), Minnesota (Feb. 20 – 9 p.m.)

Best wins: Texas, UCLA, Rutgers, Michigan State, Wisconsin (x2)

Worst losses: N/A

Illinois fought their way back after being down in the first half against Rutgers as Coleman Hawkins played a big role on both sides of the court. Freshman Ty Rodgers also impressed, collecting 7 boards in just 18 minutes. 

4) Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Last week’s ranking: 3 (-1)

Record: 16-9 (8-6)

Last week: @ #18 Indiana (L) 60-66, Illinois (L) 60-69

This week: Nebraska (Feb. 14 – 8 p.m), Wisconsin (Feb. 18 – Noon)

Best wins: @ Purdue, Indiana, @ Northwestern, Michigan State, Wake Forest, Penn State

Worst losses: Temple

Rutgers had a week where their defense played well for the most part, but their offense was stagnant. On a positive note, Paul Mulcahy continues to play like the best defender in Big Ten basketball. Coming off a game where they shot 34.8% from the field, Rutgers will need to improve heading into the later stages of the year if they want to make a deep run in March.

5) Northwestern Wildcats

Last week’s ranking: 6 (-1)

Record: 18-7 (9-5)

Last week: Ohio State (W) 69-63, #1 Purdue (W) 64-58

This week: #14 Indiana (Feb. 15 – 9 p.m.), Iowa (Feb. 19 – 6:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Purdue, @ Indiana, @ Michigan State, Illinois, @ Wisconsin

Worst losses: Michigan

Northwestern stepped up big and is playing its best basketball since 2017. Boo Bouie and Chase Audige dominated against Purdue as Northwestern’s guard play single handily won the game. The defense of the Wildcats also proved pivotal as they came away with 11 steals in the upset.

6) Iowa Hawkeyes

Last week’s ranking: 5 (-1)

Record: 16-9 (8-6)

Last week: #1 Purdue (L) 73-87, Minnesota (W) 68-56

This week: Ohio State (Feb. 16 – 9 p.m.), @ Northwestern (Feb. 19 – 6:30 p.m.)

Best wins: Iowa State, @ Rutgers, Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, Clemson, Seton Hall

Worst losses: Eastern Illinois, @ Nebraska, @ Ohio State

Despite losing to Purdue by 14 points, Iowa continues to make noise in the Big Ten with an 8-6 record in the conference. Coming out of a week where a 1-1 record was predictable, Kris Murray continues to shine for Iowa as he put up 28 against Minnesota.

7) Michigan State Spartans

Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)

Record: 16-9 (8-6)

Last week: Maryland (W) 63-58, @ Ohio State (W) 62-41

This week: @ Michigan (Feb. 18 – 8 p.m.)

Best wins: Rutgers, Iowa, Maryland, Kentucky, @ Wisconsin, @ Penn State, Oregon

Worst losses: @ Notre Dame

MSU won both of their games this week. Against Maryland, they came through in a tight battle, but against Ohio State, they had control throughout and dominated for the whole 40 minutes. In the smoking of Ohio State, Maryland allowed just one player to score in double figures as they held the Buckeyes to 28.3% shooting from the field.

8) Maryland Terrapins

Last week’s ranking: 8 (-)

Record: 17-8 (8-6)

Last week: @ Michigan State (L) 58-63, Penn State (W) 74-68

This week: #3 Purdue (Feb. 16 – 6:30 p.m.), @ Nebraska (Feb. 19 – 5 p.m.)

Best wins: Miami (Fla), Indiana, Illinois, Saint Louis, Penn State

Worst losses: N/A

Maryland played hard this week as Hakim Hart scored a career-high 23 against Penn State. The Terrapins refused to give up against Michigan State and battled until the end. Perhaps the most intriguing team in the Big Ten will need to win the games they’re supposed to in order to continue on their path to March Madness.

9) Michigan Wolverines

Last week’s ranking: 9 (-)

Record: 14-11 (8-6)

Last week: Nebraska (W) 93-72, #18 Indiana (L) 61-62

This week: Wisconsin (Feb. 14 – 9 p.m.), Michigan State (Feb. 18 – 8 p.m.)

Best wins: Penn State, Pittsburgh, Northwestern

Worst losses: Central Michigan

Michigan continues to tug at the heartstrings of their fans as they were almost able to knock off a ranked Indiana team after destroying Nebraska. It was neck and neck but nobody scored for the final 2:58 of the game which ended up being the reason why they lost.

10) Wisconsin Badgers

Last week’s ranking: 11 (+1)

Record: 14-10 (6-8)

Last week: @ Penn State (W) 79-74, @ Nebraska (L) 73-63

This week: Michigan (Feb. 14 – 9 p.m.), Rutgers (Feb. 18 – Noon)

Best wins: @ Marquette, @ Iowa, USC, Dayton, Penn State

Worst losses: Nebraska (x2)

Wisconsin managed to have their worst loss of the season against Nebraska as they lost by 10 to one of the bottom feeders of the Big Ten. A supposed “Blue Blood” is having a season not up to their standards.

11) Penn State

Last week’s ranking: 10 (-1)

Record: 14-11 (5-9)

Last week: Wisconsin (L) 74-79, @ Maryland (L) 68-74

This week: Illinois (Feb. 14 – 7 p.m.), @ Minnesota (Feb. 18 – 9 p.m.)

Best wins: @ Illinois, Iowa, Indiana

Worst losses: @ Nebrakska

Penn State continues to drift further and further away from making the field as they may need to win out the rest of the regular season to get an at-large bid. Coming off two losses that they couldn’t afford, the Nittany Lions need to figure out how to stop the foul difference between them and their opponents.

12) Nebraska Cornhuskers

Last week’s ranking: 13 (+1)

Record: 12-14 (5-10)

Last week: @ Michigan (L) 72-93, Wisconsin (W) 73-63

This week: @ Rutgers (Feb. 14 – 8 p.m.), Maryland (Feb. 19 – 5 p.m.)

Best wins: @ Creighton, Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State

Worst losses: @ St. John’s, @ Michigan

Nebraska is coming off of a win versus Wisconsin that puts them now two games ahead of Ohio State in the Big Ten standings. That is big for a program that needs every win it can get.

13) Ohio State Buckeyes

Last week’s ranking: 12 (-1)

Record: 11-14 (3-11)

Last week: Northwestern (L) 63-69, Michigan State (L) 41-62

This week: @ Iowa (Feb. 16- 9 p.m.), @ #3 Purdue (Feb. 19- 1 p.m.)

Best wins: Rutgers, Iowa, Cincinnati

Worst losses: Minnesota, @ Nebraska

Ohio State has fallen all the way to the depths of the Big Ten and fans are livid. Coming off of six straight losses the Buckeyes’ only hope of making it to the Big Dance is to win the Big Ten tournament. The bright side is Ohio State has a good class of recruits coming in after this season.

14) Minnesota Golden Gophers

Last week’s ranking: 14 (-)

Record: 7-16 (1-12)

Last week: Iowa (L) 56-68

This week: Penn State (Feb. 18 – 9 p.m.), @ Illinois (Feb. 20 – 9 p.m.)

Best wins: @ Ohio State, Cal Baptist, Central Michigan

Worst losses: DePaul, Nebraska, UNLV

Minnesota continues to lose and lose as they cannot figure out what’s going on. The Gophers shot well but their offense couldn’t get enough done against the Hawkeyes. It’s another look onto next season at this point for the Golden Gophers.