HOOPS: Big Ten Power Rankings 3/8

Dylan Burn updates his power rankings right before the Big Ten Tournament kicks off in our nation's capital.

14. Rutgers (3-15)

They beat Illinois to round out the regular season, but that only got them to 3 Big Ten wins. They've spent the entire season at the cellar of my power rankings, but they are getting better. 

13. Nebraska (6-12)

The got embarrassed big time in the finale against Michigan and are riding a four game losing streak into the Big Ten Tournament. All four defeats have come by double figures as well. This is a team that started the Big Ten season 3-1, but had the wheels fall off midway through the season. It's hard to imagine Tim Miles keeping his job much longer.

12. Penn State (6-12)

They are one of the youngest teams in the conference and certainly played like it on Sunday against Iowa. They let Peter Jok get going out of the half and that led to the Hawkeyes wiping the floor with them for most of the afternoon. They are a team that could surprise some this week in DC. They are losers of 5 straight coming in, however. 

11. Ohio State (7-11)

They are 2-4 in their last 6, but have that key win over Wisconsin in Columbus on the resume. They'll be the highest seeded team playing on Wednesday afternoon as they look to advance on to play the Northwestern Wildcats. The Buckeyes can be dangerous, but they lack a great deal of depth.

10. Indiana (7-11)

Arguably the most up and down team in the conference, the Hoosiers will draw the Hawkeyes on Thursday evening after falling in Iowa City earlier in February. The Hoosiers have a lot of offensive talent, but the defense isn't there for them. Losing OG Anunoby did not help matters either. They have the talent to win a couple of games in the tournament, but they've lost 6 of their last 8 games.

9. Illinois (8-10)

The Illini were one of the hotter teams in the conference before they threw up a dud at the RAC against Rutgers. They have a nice mix of experience and youth and have won four out of five games heading into the conference tournament. They'll be led by second team All Big Ten selection, Malcolm Hill. They still have a fighting chance at the NCAA Tournament. 

8. Michigan State (10-8)

They finished up the regular season winning two of their last five games with a win over Wisconsin mixed in there. They are young, but have a bunch of talent with Miles Bridges, who was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year, and Nick Ward in their front court. They are another team I can see making a run this week in D.C.

7. Michigan (10-8)

Nothing too flashy from the Wolverines down the stretch. They were solid, finishing up 3-1 with a good win over Purdue and a blowout of Nebraska. They get the Illini in the 8-9 matchup of the Big Ten Tournament. Narrow losses to both Minnesota and Northwestern on the road prevented the Wolverines from finishing on an 8 game winning streak. If they're hot from 3, they are extremely dangerous.

6. Northwestern (10-8)

They lost 3-of-4 to end the season, but still look like a lock to make their first NCAA Tournament ever. A second round win over either Ohio State or Rutgers would definitely help things, but they look poised to be a lock at this point. If not for a last second bucket to beat Michigan the Wildcats could be staring four straight losses in the face.

5. Maryland (12-6)

The Terps beat Rutgers and Michigan State right after losing three straight games. They finally started to struggle a bit after three freshman played really well over the course of the season. They'll get a double bye in the conference tournament and will await either Northwestern, Rutgers, or Ohio State on Friday night. 

4. Wisconsin (12-6)

Talk about backing your way into the postseason. The Badgers have lost 5-of-7 games, including 3 of the last 4 and they just don't look like the team they used to. They have a first team All-Big Ten guy in Ethan Happ and good surrounding pieces, so they're definitely capable of making a run to the tourney title this week. They'll be the 2nd seed and await either Iowa or Indiana.

3. Iowa (10-8) 

The Hawkeyes are one of the hotter teams in the conference right now. They're being led by a host of players and just had two freshman in Tyler Cook and Jordan Bohannon named to the Big Ten's All Freshman team. Two big wins over Wisconsin and Maryland have the Hawkeyes squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. If they get a couple of wins this week they could find themselves dancing.

2. Minnesota (11-7)

With the exception of the blowout loss to Wisconsin to end the season, the Gophers have been the hottest team in the Big Ten. They have Nate Mason, who was a first team All-Big Ten guard and a bunch of long athletes that can score. They also have the defensive player of the year in the conference in Reggie Lynch. Having a shot blocker like him in the lineup helps a ton for interior post defense. They await Michigan State, Nebraska, or Penn State on Friday afternoon.

1. Purdue (14-4)

They finished the season 8-1 in their last 9 and they've been the most consistent team in the conference. They have the Big Ten Player of the Year in Caleb Swanigan, who was dominant all year long averaging a double double. They showed the ability to win road games, losing just two all year long and locked up the number one seed in the conference tournament. They await the winner of Michigan and Illinois.

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