14. Rutgers (2-11)
A couple of single digit losses this week for Rutgers as they continue to battle and play hard, but are unable to get over the hump. This team shows a lot of effort on both ends of the floor, but they're are just outmatched in terms of talent almost every night out. I like the job Steve Pikiell has done and can see this team taking off within the next few seasons.
13. Nebraska (4-8)
A one point overtime loss to Wisconsin is the only blemish for the Huskers for the week. They played well getting Ed Morrow back, but since starting 3-1 in the Big Ten, they have really struggled. They're going to be tough at home for teams, but that seems to be the case for just about every team in this conference and in college basketball as a whole. Losing Ed Morrow for that stretch really killed momentum.
12. Illinois (4-9)
They earned a really nice victory in Evanston, IL over Northwestern earlier in the week, but the Wildcats were playing without leading scorer, Scottie Lindsey. I thought the Illini played really well in the win, but following that by losing to Penn State at home keeps them near the cellar this week. They have a lot of talent, but it seems like John Groce can't put it together. I'll be surprised if he keeps his job after this season.
11. Ohio State (5-8)
They beat Rutgers at home, but fell to Maryland on the road over the past week. They sit in the middle of things with about 5 different teams that I feel are pretty level. The Buckeyes have some talented players and do have a good shot at finishing up strong over the last five games of Big Ten play.
10. Indiana (5-8)
Home losses to Purdue and Michigan this week don't help your case to move up here. Indiana just looks lost at times playing without the departed Yogi Ferrell. James Blackmon Jr is playing, but he's a shell of himself. He possesses so much talent, but has battled injuries throughout his entire career. The Hoosiers finish up playing four or their last five games on the road.
9. Penn State (6-7)
Pat Chambers has his group playing really well behind Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr. They earned a home win over Maryland and then a road win over Illinois this week. The Nittany Lions brought in some big time recruits in the class of 2016 and they should only be getting better. They could make some real noise in the Big Ten tournament and in the following seasons.
8. Iowa (6-7)
A couple of tough road losses for the Hawkeyes this week push them down a few spots. The Hawkeyes took a loss in Minneapolis on Wednesday night in a game that had some questionable calls late. They followed it by struggling from the field against Michigan State on Saturday night. Iowa is really tough at home, but a couple of road games against Wisconsin and Maryland to round out the year won't help Iowa's resume much.
7. Minnesota (6-6)
Three straight wins for the Gophers now have them back even in the Big Ten. They won at home against Iowa this week and on the road at Rutgers. Minnesota has a bunch of talent and make life hard for teams in the paint with big time shot blockers Reggie Lynch and Jordan Murphy down there. They look like an NCAA Tournament team and have four home games left on their schedule.
6. Michigan (6-6)
A big time win at home over Michigan State and a road win over Indiana this week move the Wolverines up to 6th. They shot the lights out in their win over Michigan State and battled hard to beat Indiana in Bloomington. They shoot a bunch of threes and when they are on, they are tough to beat. They have 6 games remaining on the schedule, but four are on the road.
5. Michigan State (7-5)
Michigan State got thumped by Michigan in Ann Arbor earlier in the week, but followed it with a good win over the Hawkeyes on Saturday. When their freshmen are playing the way they did against Iowa, it makes them a nightmare for teams this season and into the future. They'll play three games against ranked opponents over the final six, so the Spartans are in for an exciting finish.
4. Northwestern (8-4)
The Wildcats have one of the best wins in the conference this season and it came on Sunday night. They beat the 7th ranked Wisconsin Badgers inside the Kohl Center. They did lose to Illinois at home earlier in the week, but they are playing without Scottie Lindsey, who has been one of the most improved players in the entire conference this season. The Wildcats now look like a lock for the NCAA Tournament in March. They get four home games in the final 6 here.
3. Maryland (9-3)
The Terrapins are a young bunch, and sometimes they play like it. They lost to Penn State inside the Bryce Jordan Center, which is uncharacteristic of them. But they did bounce back to beat Ohio State at home. They're still playing the easiest schedule in the conference, but have two tough road games coming up at Northwestern and at Wisconsin.
2. Wisconsin (10-2)
The Badgers have been lucking out over the last couple weeks, narrowly escaping from games against teams like Rutgers and Nebraska. They even beat Indiana by five at home. The Badgers got left out of the committee's top 16 over the weekend and I think they see that the Badgers can be beaten. With 6 games left on the schedule, the Badgers still have time to get back to the top line here.
1. Purdue (9-3)
I said last week that when they are on, they look like a final four team. They beat Indiana this week in their only game and with Wisconsin's loss and the fact that they have been trending downward a bit, the Boilermakers take the top spot this week. Wins over Northwestern and Maryland this month really help bolster this ranking.