Big Ten Power Rankings: Badgers running away

Wisconsin is running away from the pack, but many other teams are still jumbled in the middle.

Wisconsin is running away from the pack in the Big Ten, but many other teams are jumbled up after that. We still don't have a clear answer to this question: Who is No. 2? Here is the eighth edition of AllHoosiers.com’s Big Ten Power Rankings.

14. Rutgers (10-16, 2-11, KENPOM: 193rd, RPI: 137th): The Scarlet Knights have lost nine straight games after a shocking upset win over Wisconsin on Jan. 11. The recent losses -- by 10 against Purdue and by 19 against Ohio State -- weren't particularly close. Rutgers seems to be regressing. Still, the Knights are the only Big Ten team that has beaten Wisconsin. (LAST WEEK: 13)

13. Northwestern (11-14, 2-10, KENPOM: 145th, RPI: 148th): It was nice to see the Wildcats snap a 10-game losing streak with an overtime win over Iowa on Sunday. Northwestern nearly blew another game after back-to-back Iowa 3s forced overtime, but it managed to pull out a hard-earned home victory. (LAST WEEK: 14)

12. Penn State (15-11, 3-10, KENPOM: 88th, RPI: 93rd): The Nittany Lions have been a tough-luck team in recent years, and this season is no different. Penn State had a great chance to earn a big win over Maryland on Saturday, but ultimately lost 76-73. It doesn't get much easier this week. Penn State will play Wisconsin on Wednesday and must travel to Northwestern on Saturday. (LAST WEEK: 11)

11. Nebraska (13-12, 5-8, KENPOM: 117th, RPI: 112th): A disappointing season continues in Lincoln. Tim Miles' club has lost three in a row and five out of six, all five losses coming by double figures. The Cornhuskers are inept offensively, and Miles seems to be losing this team a bit. (LAST WEEK: 9)

10. Michigan (13-12, 6-7, KENPOM: 93rd, RPI: 78th): The Wolverines have battled hard without much talent, but they can't seem to close out games. They had Illinois dead to rights on the road last week, but let the Illini push it to overtime and lost by 12 in OT. It was the kind of collapse that could end the season. Michigan has lost four straight. What could save the season? A win over rival Michigan State on Tuesday night. (LAST WEEK: 10)

9. Iowa (15-10, 6-6, KENPOM: 38th, RPI: 56th): The Hawkeyes collapsing in February. I'm shocked. Iowa lost games to Minnesota and Northwestern last week after it seemed like the Hawkeyes had found a rhythm. Now, they are on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament. Can they right the ship in time? Games against Rutgers and Nebraska will give them that opportunity. (LAST WEEK: 6)

8. Minnesota (16-10, 5-8, KENPOM: 48th, RPI: 77th): The Gophers rattled off three wins in a row after a 2-8 start in conference, but they were humbled Sunday night in Bloomington. Minnesota gave up 90 points to the Hoosiers, including a school-record 18 3-pointers, in a blowout loss. Minnesota will need a hot finish to get in the conversation for the Big Dance. (LAST WEEK: 12)

7. Illinois (17-9, 7-6, KENPOM: 54th, RPI: 46th): The Fighting Illini kept their postseason dreams alive with their late comeback against Michigan, but Illinois has challenging games against Michigan State and at Iowa coming next. John Groce's team is likely NIT bound. (LAST WEEK: 8)

6. Indiana (18-8, 8-5, KENPOM: 41st, RPI: 28th): The Hoosiers earned a big win over Minnesota on Sunday night, but it could have been a special week. Indiana let a golden opportunity slip away at Maryland on Wednesday. Now, the Hoosiers will be focused on evening the score with rival Purdue, which visits on Thursday night. (LAST WEEK: 5)

5. Purdue (17-9, 9-4, KENPOM: 49th, RPI: 66th): Matt Painter deserves a lot of credit for the job he's done with this team, especially considering the dreadful non-conference season it had. The Boilermakers head to Assembly Hall winners of six of their last seven games and back in the conversation for the NCAA Tournament. Thursday night's game will go a long way in deciding whether or not Purdue goes dancing. (LAST WEEK: 4)

4. Michigan State (17-8, 8-4, KENPOM: 23rd, RPI: 39th): The Spartans had to win Saturday's game against Ohio State, and they did. That keeps them in the field of 68, for now. Denzel Valentine buried a game-winning 3 on Valentine's Day in one of the feel-good stories of the weekend. Tom Izzo won't be feeling good, however, if Michigan State doesn't correct its free-throw issues. The Spartans play at Michigan and at Illinois this week. (LAST WEEK: 7)

3. Ohio State (19-7, 8-5, KENPOM: 14th, RPI: 36th): The Buckeyes lost at Michigan State, but I still think they're the better team because of their depth. Ohio State has a relatively easy close to the regular season with games against Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State still on the schedule. (LAST WEEK: 2)

2. Maryland (21-5, 9-4, KENPOM: 39th, RPI: 11th): The Terps aren't earning any style points for their recent wins, but they're winning, and that's what matters most. I have my doubts as to how good Maryland really is, but wins over Indiana and at Penn State last week keep the Terps in the No. 2 spot. (LAST WEEK: 3)

1. Wisconsin (23-2, 11-1, KENPOM: 4th, RPI: 6th): Surprise, surprise. The Badgers are running away from the pack, and they're making it look easy. Wisconsin has won eight straight games, seven of them by 10 points or more. When Wisconsin gets Traevon Jackson back, it will be a legitimate title contender in March. (LAST WEEK: 1)


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