Joe Jackson and Ethan Carbone combine to give their Big Ten basketball power rankings for week 16.
Matchup of the week: Indiana vs. Purdue
Sneaky good matchup of the week: Northwestern vs. Illinois
All times listed are EST.
1) Purdue Boilermakers
Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)
Record: 24-4 (13-4)
Last week: @ Maryland (L) 68-54, Ohio State (W) 82-55
This week: #17 Indiana (Feb. 25 – 7:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Marquette, Gonzaga, Duke, Michigan State (x2), West Virginia, Penn State, Iowa, Maryland
Worst losses: N/A
Purdue had their first two game losing streak of the season, losing at Maryland following the Northwestern loss. They had an 8 point lead in the second half before Maryland went on a huge run. Purdue has struggled to make perimeter shots at various points this season, generally coinciding with their few losses. They bounced back by putting on a dominant performance over Ohio State. Edey had 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks in only 25 minutes of play.
2) Indiana Hoosiers
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)
Record: 19-8 (10-6)
Last week: @ #21 Northwestern (L) 64-62, Illinois (W) 71-68
This week: @ MSU (Feb. 21 – 9:00 p.m.), @ #5 Purdue (Feb. 25 – 7:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Purdue, @ Xavier, Illinois x2, Rutgers, Michigan State, North Carolina, @ Michigan
Worst losses: N/A
Indiana has continued with the close calls, having two games this week decided by 3 points or less. They lost at Northwestern before squeaking out a win against Illinois. They are continuing to win, and setting themselves up pretty well for March. Jackson-Davis may not catch Zach Edey for any awards, but he has been a legitimate 1st Team All American. He had 26 and 12 against Illinois, including 5 blocks and 3 steals.
3) Northwestern Wildcats
Last week’s ranking: 5 (+1)
Record: 20-7 (11-5)
Last week: #17 Indiana (W) 64-62, Iowa (W) 80-60
This week: @ Illinois (Feb. 23 – 9:00 p.m.), @ Maryland (Feb. 26 – 12:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Purdue, @ Indiana, @ Michigan State, Illinois, @ Wisconsin
Worst losses: Michigan
Northwestern has continued to find ways to win, beating Indiana by 2 before getting a 20 point win over Iowa. Buie has been one of the best players in the Big Ten, and Northwestern has been able to grind down games to get close victories. They have the toughest schedule in the Big Ten left, especially this week, with two very tough road games. Winning one may prove how legit this team is.
4) Illinois Fighting Illini
Last week’s ranking: 3 (-1)
Record: 18-9 (9-7)
Last week: @ Penn State (L) 93-81, @ #17 Indiana (L) 71-68, Minnesota (W) 78-69
This week: #21 Northwestern (Feb. 23 – 9:00 p.m.), @ Ohio State (Feb. 26 – 12:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Texas, UCLA, Rutgers, Michigan State, Wisconsin (x2)
Worst losses: Missouri
Penn State had Illinois’ number this season, as the Illini allowed Pickett to do whatever he wanted. They looked poised to get a road victory at Indiana without Shannon, but they were not quite able to pull it out. It will be important to monitor the status of Shannon moving forward.
5) Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Last week’s ranking: 4 (-1)
Record: 17-10 (9-7)
Last week: Nebraska (L) 82-72, @ Wisconsin (W) 58-57
This week: Michigan (Feb. 23 – 8:30 p.m.), @ Penn State (Feb. 26 – 6:30 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Purdue, Indiana, @ Northwestern, Michigan State, Wake Forest, Penn State
Worst losses: Temple, Nebraska
Rutgers was very close to being in a pretty bad spot. Following the loss at home to Nebraska, Rutgers almost continued their losing streak to 4 games, but they did just enough to get a road victory over Wisconsin. Cam Spencer finally got going against Wisconsin after being almost non existent on offense for a while. The early season loss to Temple, and this loss at home to Nebraska will loom large when finding out their seed.
6) Iowa Hawkeyes
Last week’s ranking: 5 (-1)
Record: 17-10 (9-7)
Last week: Ohio State (W) 92-75, @ #21 Northwestern (L) 80-60
This week: @ Wisconsin (Feb. 22 – 9:00 p.m.), MSU (Feb. 25 – 12:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Iowa State, @ Rutgers, Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, Clemson, Seton Hall
Worst losses: Eastern Illinois, @ Nebraska, @ Ohio State
Iowa took care of business against Ohio State, but they could not buy a perimeter shot against Northwestern. It was not a good defensive game (as no game is a good defensive game for Iowa), but they got plenty of good looks against Northwestern that just did not fall. Making a few makes that a completely different ball game.
7) Michigan State Spartans
Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)
Record: 16-9 (8-6)
Last week: @ Michigan (L) 84-72
This week: #17 Indiana (Feb. 21 – 9:00 p.m.), @ Iowa (Feb. 25 – 12:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Rutgers, Iowa, Maryland, Kentucky, @ Wisconsin, @ Penn State, Oregon
Worst losses: @ Notre Dame
MSU lost their first game back since the tragedy that took place at their university.
8) Maryland Terrapins
Last week’s ranking: 8 (-)
Record: 18-9 (9-7)
Last week: #5 Purdue (W) 68-54, @ Nebraska (L) 70-66
This week: Minnesota (Feb. 22 – 7:00 p.m.), #21 Northwestern (Feb. 26 – 12:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Purdue, Miami (Fla), Indiana, Illinois, Saint Louis, Penn State
Worst losses: @ Nebraska
It is as simple as this. At home, Maryland is one of the best teams in the conference. On the road, they are one of the worst. They knocked off Purdue at home before losing on the road at Nebraska. On the season, Maryland only has two true road wins, Louisville and Minnesota. Not the toughest opponents.
9) Michigan Wolverines
Last week’s ranking: 9 (-)
Record: 15-12 (9-7)
Last week: @ Wisconsin (L) 64-59, MSU (W) 84-72
This week: @ Rutgers (Feb. 23 – 8:30 p.m.), Wisconsin (Feb. 26 – 2:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Penn State, Pittsburgh, Northwestern
Worst losses: Central Michigan
Michigan was not able to go into Wisconsin and steal a win no matter how Hunter Dickinson looked. In one of their tougher environments on the season because of what Dickinson has said about Wisconsin, Dickinson put up 12 points and 12 rebounds in the loss. They followed it up with a solid win over Michigan State. This is a team that is probably better than their record states, but won’t be seeing the tournament.
10) Wisconsin Badgers
Last week’s ranking: 10 (-)
Record: 15-11 (7-9)
Last week: Michigan (W) 64-59, Rutgers (L) 58-57
This week: Iowa (Feb. 22 – 9:00 p.m.), @ Michigan (Feb. 26 – 2:00 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Marquette, @ Iowa, USC, Dayton, Penn State
Worst losses: Nebraska (x2)
Wisconsin has now lost 9 of their last 13 games, but they did pick up a win over Michigan. The offense just has been no where near efficient this season, and it has come to really hurt them. They are truly on the bubble, and a 2-0 week would do a lot for them to try and get into the tourney.
11) Penn State Nittany Lions
Last week’s ranking: 11 (-)
Record: 16-11 (7-9)
Last week: Illinois (W) 93-81, @ Minnesota (W) 76-69
This week: @ Ohio State (Feb. 23 – 6:30 p.m.), Rutgers (Feb. 26 – 6:30 p.m.)
Best wins: Illinois x2, Iowa, Indiana
Worst losses: @ Nebraska
Penn State did what they needed to last week to keep their tournament bid hopes alive. Jalen Pickett had an all time great week in the Big Ten. He put up 41 points, 8 assists, and 2 rebounds against Illinois, shooting 10/11 from 2 and 5/9 from 3. He followed that up with a 32 point, 9 rebound, 8 assist performance against Minnesota.
12) Nebraska Cornhuskers
Last week’s ranking: 12 (-)
Record: 14-14 (7-10)
Last week: @ Rutgers (W) 82-72, Maryland (W) 70-66
This week: Minnesota (Feb. 25 – 3:30 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Creighton, Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, @ Rutgers, Maryland
Worst losses: @ St. John’s, @ Michigan
It is time to put some respect on Nebraska’s name. They are now on a 3 game win streak, and they have won 4 of their past 5. Tominaga has now had 5 straight 20+ point games, and he has become one of the most fun players in the Big Ten. Nebraska is doing enough on both ends to get the job done, and it has been very enjoyable to see them go on this run.
13) Ohio State Buckeyes
Last week’s ranking: 13 (-)
Record: 11-16 (3-13)
Last week: @ Iowa (L) 92-75, @ #5 Purdue (L) 82-55
This week: Penn State (Feb. 23 – 6:30 p.m.), Illinois (Feb. 26 – 12:00 p.m.)
Best wins: Rutgers, Iowa, Cincinnati
Worst losses: Minnesota, @ Nebraska
Ohio State continues to plunge, and they are a dead man walking at this point. After starting strong in the Big Ten, they have won only one game since January 1st, and their past 3 losses have been by 17+ points.
14) Minnesota Golden Gophers
Last week’s ranking: 14 (-)
Record: 7-18 (1-14)
Last week: Penn State (L) 76-69, @ Illinois (L) 68-79
This week: @ Maryland (Feb. 22 – 7:00 p.m.), @ Nebraska (Feb. 25 – 3:30 p.m.)
Best wins: @ Ohio State, Cal Baptist, Central Michigan
Worst losses: DePaul, Nebraska, UNLV
Minnesota just does not have the talent to get it done this year. They have some good individual players, but they have not been able to put anything together.