These are my power rankings for this week as the Big Ten season continues to come to a close, and teams prepare for the Big Ten along with the NCAA Tournament. So far it seems as if 5 teams will represent the Big Ten in this years NCAA Tournament, but alot can change from now until Selection Sunday on March 14th.
1) Purdue Boilermakers (21-3, 9-3 Big Ten): Purdue is ranked #4 in the country and will have a tough test tonight when they play a red hot Ohio St. team. The reason why I put them ahead of Ohio St. and Michigan St. is because they beat Michigan St. last week and Michigan St. has been struggling since the injury to Kalin Lucas. Tonight will be a game that makes or breaks both teams hopes of winning a Big Ten regular season title. Shown that they are the team to beat in the Big Ten by riding a 7-game winning streak.
2) Ohio State Buckeyes (20-6, 10-3 Big Ten): Ohio St. moves ahead of Michigan St. due to how hot they have been lately. They crushed an Illinois Illini team that was battling move up into the top 3 of the Big Ten, and that had been playing well before they ran into the Buckeyes. This is a team that has a potential player of the year in Evan Turner, and should be an exciting game to watch when they take on Purdue tonight.
3) Michigan St. Spartans (21-6, 11-3 Big Ten): Yes, Michigan St. could easily be the #1 team in the Big Ten, but since the injury to their leader: Kalin Lucas they have hit a bump in the road until they beat a lowly Indiana team last night. Their Big Ten regular season title hopes are starting to slip away due to great play from teams behind them such as Purdue, Ohio St, and Illinois. This is a team that can make a big run in the NCAA Tournament next month if Kalin Lucas can come back healthy. They also have a great shot at winning the Big Ten Tournament.
4) Illinois Fighting Illini (17-9, 9-4 Big Ten): They go ahead of the Wisconsin Badgers because they went into the Kohl Center where Wisconsin is usually unbeatable and upset the Badgers. They had been playing great basketball until they played Ohio St. this past weekend, where they looked nothing like a team that was battling for a top 2 spot in the Big Ten standings. One thing that has hurt the Illini though is that they have not lived up to the hype, and are up and down team.
5) Wisconsin Badgers ( 19-6, 9-4 Big Ten): After suffering a home loss, yes a home loss, to Illinois, Wisconsin dropped to fifth in the Big Ten standings. This is a team that has been playing really good basketball lately and can be a dangerous team. This is a team however that when they are playing their style of basketball they are tough to beat. This is a team that could battle Purdue, Ohio St, and Michigan St. in the Big Ten Tournament.
6) Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-10, 5-7 Big Ten): With losses to Michigan and Northwestern, the Gophers can say goodbye to the NCAA Tournament next month and say hello to the NIT. They had a pretty favorable schedule for the rest of Big Ten play, and controlled their own fate for this season, but they just couldn't find a way to get the job done.
7) Northwestern Wildcats (17-8, 6-7 Big Ten): WIth their 77-74 overtime win over Minnesota, the Wildcats gave the knock out punch to the Gophers making the NCAA Tournament this year. Northwestern did lose to a lowly Iowa team but bounced back and showed great composure in their win over Minnesota. They also have not been playing that bad of basketball of late even in the loss to Iowa. They could be a dangerous team down the road.
8) Michigan Wolverines (13-12, 6-7 Big Ten): A NCAA Tournament team a year ago, the Wolverines are looking at a NIT berth this season. They got a big win last week at Minnesota against a decent Gopher team. This is a team that is young, and should be fun to watch in the years to come.
9) Indiana Hoosiers (9-16, 3-10 Big Ten): Indiana is another young team in the Big Ten and have had their share of ups and downs during the season. They have no chance of making the NCAA Tournament or the NIT this year, so after the season is done Indiana will be looking towards next season. A 6-game losing streak has not helped anything either.
10) Iowa Hawkeyes ( 9-18, 3-11 Big Ten): Iowa earned a win against Northwestern a few days ago,a team that has been playing pretty good as of late. This goes to show that the Hawkeyes are improving slowly but surely. Iowa is another team that should start looking towards next season.
11) Penn St. Nittany Lions (8-16, 0-12 Big Ten): This was a lost season for Penn St. Their Big Ten season can't get any worse, and has just been plain ugly. They have had some close games against conference opponents but they just can't get the job done. Penn St. will be at the bottom of the Big Ten for the next 2-3 years.