Big Ten Power Rankings

Penn State and Purdue are on a roll while Ohio State and Wisconsin are all losing ground. After two weeks of being the undisputed number one, Michigan State no longer has a firm grasp on the top spot, as there are plenty of movers and shakers in this week's Power 11.

In seasons past, teams simply did not go on the road in Big Ten country and come out with a win. How things change. It has been increasingly tougher for the home team to protect its turf this season, going 24-15 (.615) in conference games mid-way through Big Ten play.

Michigan State saw the nation's third- longest active home-court win streak of 28 consecutive games come to an end last week, as they succumbed to Northwestern at the Breslin Center. Wisconsin owns the nation's fourth-best home win-percentage over the last eight years- -Bo Ryan's tenure--with a 115-9 record. The ninth loss came at the hands of Minnesota in an overtime game this season. Illinois is the only team yet to suffer a loss at home, sporting a 4-0 record in Champaign. Ten of the 11 teams have at least one loss at home, while Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern each have two and Indiana three to date.

It just shows you that no team is safe on any given night in the Big Ten.

Badger Nation's weekly feature will rank the 11 teams of the Big Ten Conference, giving you our opinions as to who is rising, who is falling and the key matchup to watch for in our favorite conference.

Each contributor ranks the 11 teams from one to 11 with one being the weakest and 11 being the strongest. Seventy-seven points this week is a perfect score, which we have in this edition, and seven is the lowest score, which we also have.

This week's contributors include Aaron Brenner from the Janesville Gazette/Captial Times/Badger Nation, Bryan Camp from the Grateful Red, Adam Hoge from the Chicago Tribune, Tyler Mason from WSUM Radio, Ben Voelkel from Sportsbubbler.com, Badgermaniac and Benjamin Worgull from the Nation.

View Last Week's Rankings

Badger Nation's Power 11

1) Michigan State (16-3, 6-1) (77)

2) Purdue (15-4, 4-2) (72)

3) Illinois (17-3, 5-2) (63)

4) Minnesota (17-3, 5-3) (55)

5) Penn State (16-5, 5-3) (47)

6) Ohio State (13-5, 3-4) (41)

7) Michigan (14-6, 4-4) (35)

8) Wisconsin (12-7, 3-4) (29)

9) Northwestern (10-7, 2-5) (23)

10) Iowa (12-8, 2-5) (16)

11) Indiana (5-13, 0-6) (7)

first number in parentheses is overall record, followed by conference record and then total number of points

Featured Matchup of the Week

No.19 Illinois at Minnesota, 8:00 p.m. Thursday, Big Ten Network

It seems Minnesota's roller coaster has hit a giant drop. After stealing a win over Wisconsin, Goldy Gopher lost at Northwestern, at home to Purdue and squeaked by conference-doormat Indiana.

Illinois, on the other hand, has won four of five and recently finished off UW at home, ending its personal five-game losing streak to the Badgers. A year after being dormant, Illinois leads the conference in scoring defense (56.6 ppg) and in field goal percentage (47.9 percent).

Aaron Brenner's Poll

1) Purdue

Order has officially been restored to the Big Ten Conference. It's tough, because I haven't had a chance to see the Spartans live yet. But when Hummel, Kramer, Moore, Grant, Calasan are healthy and clicking – I mean, they have the best starting five in the league, and they seem to be playing the best basketball right now.

2) Michigan State

Had a chance to watch MSU take on OSU on CBS in Columbus. The Spartans were MIA for a time being, and while I admire the way they calmly turned the game on its heel for an emphatic 11-point win, you just can't shake the fact that Michigan State lost on its own court to Northwestern. We'll have to wait until Feb. 17 for a clash between the Boilermakers and Spartans.

3) Illinois

Being in Champaign over the weekend, I found it interesting that the local media are just baffled that Illinois is actually contending for the Big Ten title. Really? While Marquette's guard combo shows in shooting ability, Illinois' guard combo shows in versatility and tenacious defense. I get the feeling that when Demetri McCamey shoots like that, with sidekicks like Chester Frazier and Trent Meacham, Illinois would beat Wisconsin 19 out of 20 times.

4) Minnesota

What a crash down to earth since that Kohl Center comeback. Sad losses at Northwestern and never really competing with Purdue at home, then they barely fight off Indiana. The Gophers might have peaked too early.

5) Ohio State

You think ESPN's regretting that decision to set up College Gameday in Madison on Valentine's Day? Good news for UW, you know, in case it still hasn't broken the losing streak by Feb. 14; the Buckeyes are 1-3 in road Big Ten games so far.

6) Penn State

Three-game winning streak has the Nittany Lions feeling good, but now PSU sits for a week before its trip to the Wolverine State for dates with Michigan State (on Super Bowl Sunday) and Michigan.

7) Michigan

The definition of marginal in this league so far has been Michigan; gee, I guess that's a good thing for the Big Ten Conference seeing as I have UM ranked No. 7. Yes, that means Wisconsin has been, uh, less than so-so. Speaking of which…

8) Wisconsin

You know what's maddening? How simple it is for Wisconsin to climb out of this dump. If only Marcus Landry would channel his inner Alando and start playing like he wants to be a first-team All-Big Ten player by being a factor down the stretch, if only Trevon Hughes could hold onto the ball and make his shots consistently rather than exclusively in catch-up time, if only Jason Bohannon could hit a shot (any shot), if only Jon Leuer could decide he prefers contributing 10 points a game consistently rather than his roller-coaster ride of scoring, if only there were three Jordan Taylors and eight Joe Krabbenhofts wearing a cardinal jersey, if only Bo Ryan could figure out what the heck to do with the Nankivil-Gullikson-Jarmusz-Wilson quartet in terms of playing time, and if only the referees could stop misinterpreting Ryan's comments and gestures which graciously donate two free points to UW's opponents each game that end up being costly when the clock reads zeroes, the Badgers would be set!

9) Northwestern

How did the Wildcats follow up that shocking win in East Lansing? By dropping their next game to the Spartans' ugly in-state cousin, Michigan. Also, Northwestern lost to Wisconsin by 29. That says it all.

10) Iowa

Yeah, maybe the Hawkeyes do deserve more respect for holding off Wisconsin in overtime. But then again, sending the Badgers off without a 'W' isn't that hard these days.

11) Indiana

This space for rent - e-mail comments to me at ajbrenner@wisc.edu, and the best one will get this spot each week. Advertisers, you can get in on this action too. That's right; I'm not opposed to selling this space on a weekly basis.

Bryan Camp's Poll

1) Michigan State

2) Purdue

3) Illinois

4) Minnesota

5) Penn State

6) Michigan

7) Ohio State

8) Wisconsin

9) Northwestern

10) Iowa

11) Indiana

Adam Hoge's Poll

1) Purdue

2) Michigan State

3) Illinois

4) Penn State

5) Minnesota

6) Michigan

7) Ohio State

8) Northwestern

9) Iowa

10) Wisconsin

11) Indiana

Certainly a huge shake up this week as Illinois and Penn State surge, while Ohio State and Wisconsin free fall. On a four-game win streak, Purdue takes over at the top after Michigan State's loss to Northwestern. That win by the Wildcats was enough to move them up, but the loss at Michigan prevented them from jumping Ohio State, which has lost three straight. Iowa passes Wisconsin by virtue of their head-to-head win over the Badgers. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, a four-game losing streak might reach six games by week's end.

Tyler Mason's Poll

1) Michigan State

2) Purdue

3) Illinois

4) Minnesota

5) Penn State

6) Ohio State

7) Michigan

8) Wisconsin

9) Northwestern

10) Iowa

11) Indiana

Ben Voekel's Poll

1) Michigan State — Road win in Columbus shows hiccup at home to Northwestern nothing to be too concerned about.

2) Purdue — Took care of business in Williams Arena in lone game this past week. JuJuan Johnson continues to show he could be Big Ten's most improved player this season.

3) Illinois — Bo Ryan was asked after UW's game against Illinois whether he thought the Illini could win the Big Ten. Why not, he asked. Can't say I disagree.

4) Minnesota — Gophers avoided catastrophe with a three-point win in Bloomington Sunday.

5) Penn State — Ed DeChellis has a week to prepare his team for a trip to East Lansing that could help solidify the Nittany Lions' place in the tournament conversation.

6) Ohio State — 3-0 against teams with losing conference records. 0-4 against teams above .500 in the Big Ten.

7) Wisconsin — When was the last time you heard a Bo Ryan coached team needed to get tougher? Someone pull the ripcord…

8) Michigan — Beating who they're supposed to, losing to who they're supposed to. Defense isn't good enough to make a move toward top of conference.

9) Northwestern — Big win on the road against Michigan State, but couldn't keep momentum going in Ann Arbor.

10) Iowa — Loss of Anthony Tucker will hurt as the season goes on.

11) Indiana — Close call against Minnesota, but losing streak now at nine. Best chance for a conference win comes in 10 days when Iowa visits Bloomington.

Badgermaniac's Poll

1) Michigan State - Without the win at OSU, they drop to No.2.

2) Purdue - Probably playing the best basketball in the conference, but I put their overall resume a tick behind the Spartans.

3) Illinois - Two more solid wins against teams behind them in the standing.

4) Minnesota - I think we are starting to see some stratification here. We have the top three teams, which have clearly played the best of anyone. After that, the next three teams are in the next tier, but all of them had disappointing weeks. The Badgers have the least number of top 50 wins, but their losses are tighter and their schedule much tougher. I think the next three can be put in any order.

5) Wisconsin - Say what you want about close losses, but they are just 2-6 vs. top 50 teams.

6) Ohio State - Hammered by Illinois, whereas Wisconsin lost narrowly, so the Badgers get the higher rank.

7) Penn State - Three straight wins for the Lions. They are giving themselves an NCAA bid opportunity.

8) Michigan - Those big early season wins are becoming a distant memory.

9) Northwestern - Would have jumped Michigan if they would have beaten them this week.

10) Iowa

11) Indiana

Benjamin Worgull's Poll

1) Michigan State

2) Purdue

3) Illinois

4) Minnesota

5) Penn State

6) Michigan

7) Ohio State

8) Northwestern

9) Wisconsin

10) Iowa

11) Indiana

The Big Ten is definitely a three tiered conference. Tier one is teams one through three, as my money is on the regular season conference champion coming from that group. Group two (teams four through seven) are 100 percent likely to get some post season bid while group three has work to do to get back on course.

Northwestern turned out two quality wins over ranked teams, which is more than any of the teams below them can say. If UW was sinking like the Titanic last week, the Badgers now resemble Leonardo Dicaprio holding onto the make-shift life raft in the middle of the Atlantic while the conference beauty stays afloat.

UW better find a way to make room on that door or its down to the bottom and fast, as UW easily could lose eight-straight games.


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