|1. Purdue Boilermakers 21-5 (12-1) (Previous #1)|
This week: 2/19-at Indiana
Eleven straight wins have the Boilers on top of the Big Ten and atop the Power Rankings for a second straight week. The rest of the nation has finally started to take notice of what Purdue has been able to do in Big Ten play thanks in large part to their nationally televised win over Michigan State on Tuesday. The Boilermakers continue to improve defensively, led by stopper Chris Kramer, and in conference games are holding opponents to just 0.93 points per possession. Next up is another huge ESPN-televised game on Tuesday at in-state rival Indiana.
2. Indiana Hoosiers 21-4 (10-2) (Previous #2)
This week: 2/19-vs Purdue, 2/23-at Northwestern
The Hoosiers were handed the NCAA's report of five major violations committed by coach Kelvin Sampson and his assistants on Wednesday, then hit the court and dropped a heart-breaker to Wisconsin thanks to Brian Butch's bank-shoot three-pointer. Then on Saturday, Indiana bounced back to defeat Michigan State by 19 without D.J. White in the second half, who left the game with a knee injury. White says he'll be fine, but the Indiana basketball program certainly is not. Sampson's job status is day-to-day as IU takes seven days to sort through the mess and ultimately decide their coach's fate for the remainder of the season. In my opinion, Sampson has to be fired. Indiana knew they were hiring Coach Sampson and his past allegations, but after warnings from the NCAA and his school, Sampson committed the same violations. The only problem then is who is named interim coach for the remainder of the season? First-year assistant Dan Dikich is the only coach on the staff not named in the NCAA's report and appears to be the safe option. It looks as though Sampson will be coaching the Hoosiers again on Tuesday when conference leading Purdue comes to town, but he could and should be long gone by next weekend.
3. Wisconsin Badgers 21-4 (11-2) (Previous #3)
This week: 2/20-at Illinois, 2/24-at Ohio State
Wisconsin banked into a win at Indiana on Tuesday and then took care of business against Minnesota over the weekend. The Badgers are 11-0 in conference against teams not-named Purdue and have a very tough week ahead of them on the road. Illinois and Ohio State, while down this year, are still very formidable foes and especially in their places. If Wisconsin can come away with two wins this week, they will be in very good shape for the regular season conference title.
4. Michigan State Spartans 20-5 (8-4) (Previous #4)
This week: 2/20-vs Penn State, 2/23-vs Iowa
Once again the Spartans can stake claim to the Big Ten team doing the least with the most amount of talent. Back-to-back losses at Purdue and Indiana are nothing to be ashamed of, but MSU needed to at least split in their road trip to the state of Indiana last week if they wanted to keep any hope alive for the regular season crown. Surprisingly, the Spartan offense is only averaging 0.99 points per possession in conference games and continue to be haunted by turnovers. Obviously, Michigan State will still be a tournament team, but we are currently looking at three straight disappointing seasons for Coach Izzo's squad.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes 17-9 (8-5) (Previous #5)
This week: 2/24-vs Wisconsin
After a loss on Sunday at Michigan, the Buckeyes are starting to slide back on the bubble. Ohio State needs to find a way to win away from home if they want to secure an NCAA bid before the Big Ten Tournament. OSU is now 8-5 in conference play and have a very tough remaining schedule. Their next two games are against Wisconsin and at Indiana.
6. Minnesota Golden Gophers 15-9 (5-7) (Previous #6)
This week: 2/21-vs Michigan, 2/24-vs Penn State
The Gophers have certainly played themselves out of any NCAA Tournament talk after a 0-2 week. The 24-point home loss to Illinois on Tuesday may have single-handily put a stop to Tubby Smith's career NCAA Tournament streak. The good news is this week Minnesota can get back to .500 with home wins over Michigan and Penn State. Of course that is easier said then done especially for a team that has yet to beat anyone in the RPI Top-100 this season.
7. Illinois Fighting Illini 11-15 (3-10) (Previous #8)
This week: 2/20-vs Wisconsin, 2/24-at Michigan
Illinois has to be the best 11-15 team in the nation. In Big Ten play, the Illini are averaging exactly 1.00 point per possession and surrendering 0.99 points per possession on the defensive end. The Badgers had better not overlook Illinois this Wednesday as Assembly Hall is still a very difficult place to play, just ask Indiana.
8. Michigan Wolverines 8-17 (4-9) (Previous #9)
This week: 2/21-at Minnesota, 2/24-vs Illinois
Has Michigan finally figured out Coach Beilein's offense? The Wolverines have won three-straight games including a 80-70 win over Ohio State on Sunday. Michigan has a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way to improve their seed in the Big Ten Tournament and nobody is going to want to face a hot-shooting Wolverine team that weekend.
9. Penn State Nittany Lions 12-12 (4-8) (Previous #10)
This week: 2/20-at Michigan State, 2/24-at Minnesota
Penn State has won back-to-back home games against Michigan State and Illinois, but unfortunately now head on the road for two games this week. Revenge will be on the Spartan's mind on Wednesday and things could get ugly for the Lions in East Lansing.
10.Iowa Hawkeyes 11-15 (4-9) (Previous #7)
This week: 2/19-vs Northwestern, 2/23-at Michigan State
Just when it looked like maybe Iowa was growing into a team that could contend for the 5 or 6 seed in the Big Ten Tournament they look ugly in losses at Minnesota and against Michigan at home. Northwestern comes to town on Tuesday before a trip to East Lansing to face the Spartans.
11.Northwestern Wildcats 7-16 (0-12) (Previous #11)
This week: 2/19-at Iowa, 2/23-vs Indiana
The Wildcats can look at three games on their remaining schedule as their last realistic opportunities to pick up a conference win. Tuesday at Iowa, February 26th at Michigan, and March 5th at home against Iowa in their best chance at a Big Ten win.