Big Ten Power Rankings

Michigan State finally learned its lesson - don't unveil a championship banner until after you won the championship. The Spartans won the conference by four games, but can they win one of the most wide-open and competitive Big Ten Tournaments ever? Badger Nation brings you its final Power 11

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 and seven is the lowest score.

This week's contributors include Aaron Brenner from the Capital Times and Badger Nation, Bryan Camp from the Grateful Red, Brad Fedie from Badger Nation, Adam Hoge from the WGN 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 (25-5, 15-3) (77)

2) Purdue (22-9, 11-7) (65)

3) Illinois (23-8, 11-7) (64)

4) Wisconsin (19-11, 10-8) (60)

5) Penn State (21-10, 10-8) (46)

6) Ohio State (20-9, 10-8) (43)

7) Michigan (19-12, 9-9) (36)

8) Minnesota (21-9, 9-9) (26)

9) Northwestern (17-12, 8-10) (24)

10) Iowa (15-16, 5-13) (14)

11) Indiana (6-24, 1-17) (7)

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

Featured Matchup of the Week

No.9 Northwestern vs. 8 Minnesota, 11:00 a.m. Thursday, Big Ten Network

Northwestern is trying to play themselves into the NCAA Tournament while it appears Minnesota is trying to play its way out. These two teams split the two regular season meetings, each winning on the home court. Both teams are trying to make a statement, with Minnesota trying to get to the dance in just the second year under Tubby Smith and Northwestern is trying to wear its dancing shoes for the first time ... ever!

Both squads need to win one and possibly another to make an impact on the selection committee. Think this one is important? What a great game to kick off the tournament.

Aaron Brenner's Poll

1) Michigan State – Why not Tom Izzo for coach of the year? Ed DeChellis, Bruce Weber, and three other coaches have been more impressive with less talent, but you can't shake a stick at Michigan State's effort by losing Drew Neitzel and still dominating a much-improved conference.

2) Illinois – Relatively quiet week for the Illini, with just a tight loss in State College. Gives the Illini time to rest up for the Big Ten tournament.

3) Purdue – Rest that back, Robbie Hummel. Get healthy quick, Chris Kramer. Your NCAA seed is dropping quickly, and three games in three days is no picnic.

4) Wisconsin – Jason Bohannon and Jon Leuer – easily UW's most inconsistently effective players this season – scored the first 13 points to propel the Badgers to a coasting victory over Indiana in the season finale. Those two must continue to play well to give Wisconsin a chance in Indianapolis or in the NCAAs.

5) Penn State – Not quite sure what that double-overtime loss at Iowa was all about. All I know is, Nittany Nation should be anxious to see what this team is capable of in postseason play, as PSU tries to Dance for the first time since 2001.

6) Michigan – Gamely competing at the Kohl Center, and then holding off Minnesota at the Barn, shows how much this team has grown up. Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims are as tough an inside-outside punch as they come.

7) Ohio State – Barely – and I mean, barely – getting by Iowa and Northwestern to finish the season out? For some reason, I'm strangely comfortable feeling like Wisconsin will handle the Buckeyes in Indianapolis. Of course, I've been wrong before on many occasions.

8) Minnesota – So many good feelings created by sweeping the hated Badgers. So many thrown out the window by blowing it against the Wolverines and settling for a first-round date with a Hawkeye team playing very well.

9) Northwestern – What if they go on a run this weekend? Does the slipper fit?

10) Iowa – We've reached an unthinkable point, folks; where the clear-cut No. 10 team in the Big Ten beats a team that was eying second place in the final conference standings AND NOBODY RAISES AN EYEBROW. What a season of parity in the Big Ten Conference. How awesome is this tournament going to be?

11) Indiana – Remember last week how I couldn't name a single Hoosier? I can name one now: freshman Verdell Jones III. Had a reader on the Badgerbeat.com blog compare Jones – who scored 23 in the Kohl Center last night – to Devin Harris. That's a lofty standard, obviously, but Jones does slash and score in a similar fashion. Give Crean two years to have this team competing for Big Ten titles again.

My Big Ten Tournament champion: Illinois. The Illini got an entire week to rest up for the tournament; they've got a fairly manageable draw, and swept their likely semifinal opponent, Purdue, in the regular season (not to mention the Boilers are beaten up); and Illinois has experience with tournament toughness, winning three games in three days as the No. 10 seed a year ago to advance to the championship game. Give me Weber over Izzo in the final.

Bryan Camp's Poll

1) Michigan State

2) Wisconsin

3) Purdue

4) Illinois

5) Ohio State

6) Penn State

7) Michigan

8) Minnesota

9) Northwestern

10) Iowa

11) Indiana

My Big Ten Tournament champion: Michigan State

Brad Fedie's Poll

1) Michigan State

2) Illinois

3) Purdue

4) Wisconsin

5) Ohio State

6) Penn State

7) Michigan

8) Minnesota

9) Northwestern

10) Iowa

11) Indiana

My Big Ten Tournament champion: Michigan State. In a field this tight (Any of the top nine teams have a shot at winning), why not pick the top seed. Is there a good chance for an upset? Sure, but everyone else is just as vulnerable. The Spartans seem to have found their identity and have been getting better as they got the freshmen some playing time and Morgan and Sutan back from injury.

Runner-up? The Purdue fans that have the nice short drives could make it tough for anyone playing the Boilers, but then again, it didn't help them last year when they looked stronger (and healthier) than they do now. Getting past Illinois may be tough for them, as they couldn't do it in the regular season, but the third time may prove to be the charm.

Adam Hoge's Poll

1) Michigan State

2) Illinois

3) Purdue

4) Wisconsin

5) Penn State

6) Michigan

7) Ohio State

8) Northwestern

9) Minnesota

10) Iowa

11) Indiana

My Big Ten Tournament champion: It's conceivable that nine of the 11 teams have a legitimate shot to win the Big Ten Tournament. However, only one team has shown any resemblance of consistency the last month and a half and that's Michigan State. After surprisingly losses at home to Northwestern and Penn State, the Spartans have won eight of their last nine games, with the only loss coming at Purdue. On a neutral court, Michigan State is far above the rest of the field.

Ben Voelkel's Poll

1) Michigan State

2) Purdue

3) Illinois

4) Wisconsin

5) Penn State

6) Ohio State

7) Minnesota

8) Michigan

9) Northwestern

10) Iowa

11) Indiana

My Big Ten Tournament champion: Michigan State has been the best team in the Big Ten all season, and I see no reason to pick against them now. The Spartans have the depth to withstand the three-games in-three-days Big Ten Tournament test and the most overall talent. Just like Wisconsin last year, the Spartans win the league tournament to capture the conference double.

Badgermaniac's Poll

1) Michigan State - Despite some health issues, were clearly the class of the Big Ten this year.

2) Purdue

3) Illinois - Closed with two losses, but Wisconsin's loss to Minnesota kept them in the three-hole.

4) Wisconsin - A team that nobody will really want to play in the NCAA tournament, but probably not a team that is capable of going far.

5) Ohio State - All in all, I thought the Buckeyes had a nice year with a young team and the loss of Lighty. Evan Turner has my vote for POTY.

6) Penn State - Was possibly the luckiest team in the Big Ten this year, but did win four of their last six.

7) Michigan - Gave themselves an NCAA chance by also winning four of their last six.

8) Minnesota - Started the year 4-1 in the Big Ten, so the rest of the year has to be a disappointment.

9) Northwestern - On paper (Kenpom), they actually rank higher than PSU. As I noted last week, it is year of what might have been with narrow losses to Butler, PSU, Purdue, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and OSU.

10) Iowa - Won three of their five Big Ten games in OT.

11) Indiana - One of the worst B10 teams in recent memory.

My Big Ten Tournament champion: Michigan State.

Benjamin Worgull's Poll

1) Michigan State

2) Wisconsin

3) Purdue

4) Illinois

5) Penn State

6) Ohio State

7) Michigan

8) Northwestern

9) Minnesota

10) Iowa

11) Indiana

My Big Ten Tournament champion: Wisconsin. What went into my pick? Two reasons.

1) Wisconsin has been a different team since beating Illinois at home, have played well in this tournament over the last handful of years and know what they need to do in order to beat Michigan State, should they get there.

2) I am the publisher of Badger Nation. I am a Badger fan, not some bum from Iowa running this site. While my mind might change by the time I get to Indianapolis, I figured, for now, what the hell?


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