HOOPS: Big Ten Power Rankings 2/28

Dylan Burn of Hawkeye Insider updates his Big Ten Power Rankings as the regular season winds down.

14. Rutgers (2-14)

Three straight losses since our last power rankings keeps the Scarlet Knights at the bottom here. They do have narrow losses to both Michigan and Northwestern in the last 10 days, but they are what they are, which are losses. They finish up the regular season with home games against Maryland and Illinois.

13. Nebraska (6-10)

They are 2-and-2 in the last couple of weeks, but have lost two straight games by double digits, which isn't a good recipe to make your way up the rankings. They are in a battle with three other 6-and-10 teams so they can make their way up in terms of seeding for the Big Ten tournament, but games against Michigan and Minnesota stand in the way to wind the regular season down.

12. Penn State (6-10)

After winning back-to-back games against Maryland and Illinois the Nittany Lions have dropped three straight in the last couple of weeks. The potential is there for Pat Chambers' team, but they haven't been able to put it together consistently. That'll happen with young teams. They have opportunities against Ohio State and Iowa to round out the regular season.

11. Indiana (6-10)

They got a good win over Northwestern on Saturday, but have been reeling as of late. They lost an OT game against Iowa and a close one against Minnesota, but they have been pretty inconsistent since losing OG Anunoby. This is a team that can still make some noise in the Big Ten tourney given their talent level, but they have one and done written all over them as well. They finish with two road games against Purdue and Ohio State. 

10. Ohio State (6-10)

The Buckeyes slide up one spot after an impressive victory over a good Wisconsin team over the weekend. They lost to Michigan State and Nebraska in the two games prior, so it was a nice bounce back win for Thad Matta's bunch. They get Penn State and Indiana to finish up their regular season.

9. Iowa (8-8)

The Hawkeyes are performing about like you'd expect a young team to. They've been up and down, losing games they shouldn't and winning games they shouldn't. They lost a tough one to Illinois at home, but bounced back to defeat both Indiana and Maryland, which are two solid victories. They have another big chance this week with a road game against Wisconsin and a home game against Penn State.

8. Illinois (7-9)

The Illini are winners of three straight since our last power rankings and are definitely one of the hotter teams in the conference right now. Two of their wins came on the road and the other was a home winner over Northwestern. The victory was their second of the season over the Wildcats. I've said all year that I think the Illini have the talent, but they just needed to put it all together. They get Michigan State and Rutgers to wind the regular season down.

7. Northwestern (9-7)

The Wildcats have lost 3-of-4 games since the last power rankings and the only win came by four points over Rutgers. They've been struggling without Scottie Lindsey, who is their leading scorer. However, he's returned for the last three games and hasn't really helped all that much. The Wildcats are looking for their first NCAA tournament berth in school history and should be on their way if they finish strong. They have home games against Michigan and Purdue to end the regular season.

6. Michigan (9-7)

The Wolverines are 3-1 since the last power rankings and have wins over both Purdue and Wisconsin in that stretch. They took a tough OT loss to Minnesota on the road, but that is another team that is as hot as anybody right now. The Wolverines have gotten impressive front court and guard play, which is paying dividends for them. Road games against Northwestern and Nebraska round out the schedule for them.

5. Maryland (10-6)

Finally the Terrapins are playing like the freshman group they are. Good leaders like Melo Trimble and Damonte Dodd have helped a lot and these younger kids can definitely play, but it's hard to put it all together over the course of a long college hoops season. They've lost 3-of-4 since our last power rankings and all three losses have been by double digits, so it hasn't been pretty for Mark Turgeon's group. They get Rutgers and Michigan State to finish up the regular season.

4. Michigan State (10-6)

They are 3-1 since the last power rankings and it seems like Tom Izzo coached teams do this every year. They make a late push and wind up in the big dance where anything can happen. His freshmen aren't freshmen anymore and they have loads of talent. Losing Eron Harris hasn't helped the team, but they've been solid behind Nick Ward and Miles Bridges. Two road games against Illinois and Maryland are on the schedule for the Spartans as they wrap things up.

3. Wisconsin (11-5)

The Badgers are just 1-3 in four games since our last power rankings. A big problem for Greg Gard's team has been the lack of depth. They played without Bronson Koenig for a few games there, but with Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes on the team you'll always be in games. The three games they did lose were all on the road and they'll have Iowa and Minnesota at home to finish the season. The Gophers are about as dangerous as anyone in the country right now.

2. Minnesota (10-6)

To say this team is streaky would probably be an understatement. They started off Big Ten play 3-1 and looked like a serious contender in the conference. Then they lost five straight and dropped big time in my power rankings. Now they've rattled off 7 straight victories and look like one of the best teams in this conference again. They have everything you want in an NCAA tourney team with an experienced point guard, long post players, three point shooters, and guys that can get to the bucket. They get Nebraska at home and Wisconsin on the road to end the season. 

1. Purdue (12-4)

Not only do they have the best record in the Big Ten, but they've just been the most consistent over the course of the season. They are 6-1 in the last 7 with the only loss coming to Michigan in Ann Arbor. They're beatable, but they look like the most consistent bunch at this point in the Big Ten season. Having Caleb Swanigan certainly helps them in a big way. Purdue has senior night tonight against Indiana and then finishes against Northwestern in Evanston. 

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