Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin and More: Power Ranking the Big Ten

Carl StineCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2011

Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin and More: Power Ranking the Big Ten

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    Two games left for most teams, and even with only one week left in the Big Ten season, the balance of power could potentially still shift.

    Ohio State clings to a somewhat tenuous one game lead atop the conference standings, with Purdue just trailing them and Wisconsin two games off the pace.

    The Boilermakers have the easiest final week of the three, staying at home to take on an underachieving Illinois squad, then traveling to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to take on a young team in the Hawkeyes.

    Wisconsin has road trips to Bloomington and Columbus in the offing, while the Buckeyes tangle with the Nittany Lions on the road, then travel home for a revenge battle in a grudge match with the Badgers.

    While we are talking conference issues...

    Someone please explain why Michigan State is in the bubble discussion and Michigan is not.

    After that's finished, take a couple of minutes and check out these Big Ten Power Rankings, complete with every team's NCAA tournament status.

11. Iowa Hawkeyes 10-18 (3-13)

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    The Hawkeyes have had a rough year.

    Since winning two in a row Feb. 2nd and 5th, Iowa has lost five straight times.

    The bad news is they have to travel to East Lansing and then take on Purdue at home.

    The good news is the season is almost over.

    Big Dance: Iowa could make the NCAA tournament...in a couple of years.

    The Hawkeyes have some young talent that could take them far in the next few years, but until then, Iowa fans will have to spend March watching the NBA or something...

10. Indiana Hoosiers 12-17 (3-13)

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    Indiana has also had a rather difficult season.

    Couple inexperience with a significant injury to leading scorer Christian Watford, and you have a recipe for a bad year.

    Tom Crean has things looking up, but the Hoosiers are a long way from NCAA material.

    Indiana could grab some momentum heading into the conference tourney with a win at home against Wisconsin this week.

    Big Dance - No chance

9. Northwestern Wildcats 16-12 (6-11)

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    Northwestern last week got beat by Penn State, then went to Madison and hit three after three, but still lost to the Badgers.

    The Wildcats have been on the verge of breaking through against a top ranked team this season, but have never quite got there.

    Big Dance - Many thought this would be the year, but the 'Cats couldn't pull off any big victories against ranked opponents...

8. Minnesota Golden Gophers 17-11 (6-10)

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    Tubby Smith had the Gophers in good shape heading into February.

    Then the wheels came off.

    Since January 29th, the Gophers are 1-7.

    Big Dance - Minnesota definitely has the talent to make the tournament, but unless they can pull it together in the conference tournament, the will be NIT bound.

7. Penn State Nittany Lions 15-13 (8-9)

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    My how those losses to Michigan can bite you.

    The Nittany Lions rang in March by getting thrashed at home against OSU.

    Two losses earlier in the season to Michigan, one of Joe Lunardi's last four in, are really hurting PSU's chances right now.

    Big Dance - Without some sort of miracle, the Nittany Lions will not be dancing.

6. Michigan State Spartans 16-12 (8-8)

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    Ah how the mighty have fallen.

    From preseason No. 2 to unranked, the Spartans have had a tough road.

    As of right now, the Spartans are sitting pretty to collect at least one more win, but a road trip to Ann Arbor is in the offing.

    Big Dance - The Spartans seem to be set right now, and heading for the tournament. And with the low pressure of a low seed and the experience the Spartans have, they will be a threat to upset some teams in the first few rounds...

5. Michigan Wolverines 18-12 (8-9)

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    Michigan basketball is inching it's way back toward credibility.

    That one-point loss to Wisconsin last week could come back to haunt the Wolverines.

    Big Dance - It's simple, really. Beat MSU and you are in...

4. Illinois Fighting Illini 18-12 (8-9)

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    Illinois, led by mercurial point guard, Demetri McCamey, is a talented team.

    On the road against Purdue Tuesday, they looked, shall we say, less than talented.

    Big Dance - Illinois is a 10 seed in the latest edition of bracketology. A loss to Indiana and an early exit from the conference tourney would be a recipe for disaster to the Illini, leaving them out in the cold.

3. Wisconsin Badgers 22-6 (12-4)

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    The Badgers are good, but struggle with a consistent perimeter game.

    Senior forward Jon Leuer is a nightmare to guard, and the Badgers play stifling defense.

    A trap game looms for Bucky as they head to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers before a grudge match with the Buckeyes in Columbus.

    Big Dance - The Badgers have already punched their ticket, and with wins over IU and OSU, they could improve their seeding... A three seed is looking pretty reasonable right now.

2. Purdue Boilermakers 25-5 (14-3)

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    Even without star Robbie Hummel for the second straight season, the Boilermakers are making some noise.

    Ohio State has only a home game against Wisconsin between them and a regular season crown, but a loss to the Badgers would leave Purdue tied with OSU for a share of that title.

    Big Dance -  With a few more solid wins in the conference tournament, Purdue could still slip into a No. 1 seed, but it would take some great play to do so. Right now they are sitting as a two in most bracket predictions.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes 28-2 (15-2)

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    The Buckeyes are good.

    Scary good.

    Going into the tournament, it's hard to find a team that plays with OSU's level of intensity and consistency.

    The Buckeyes have a solid mixture of talent, explosiveness and wily veterans to make them the team to beat in the Big Dance.

    Big Dance - The only real question here is which region the Buckeyes will be slotted as the one seed. If they can get by UW at home, Thad Matta and Co. have pretty much sewed up that seeding.