There was a movement taken up by others within the BadgerNation.com family to move Ohio State into the rankings' No. 1 spot this week. Their main case was, Purdue hasn't had to deal with injuries like the Buckeyes have. First of all, ask Lewis Jackson if that's the case. And secondly, how can you hold that against Purdue? The Boilermakers have had the best body of work all season, and belong in the top position.
Next up: Wednesday at No. 9 Ohio State
2) No. 9 Ohio State (20-6, 10-3); LW, 4
Now, if anybody wearing scarlet and gray has a problem with that, they are more than welcome to take the No. 1 spot themselves rather than it being handed to them. Why, they don't even have to leave their own building to do just that on Wednesday.
Next up: Wednesday vs. No. 4 Purdue
3) No. 14 Wisconsin (19-6, 9-4 Big Ten); LW, 1
Last week: lost vs. Illinois 63-56, won vs. Indiana 83-55
Upon logging on Facebook today, that sometimes-reliable-sometimes-not tool called "News Feed" was lit up with several comments regarding Jon Leuer back at practice. There were lots of people "liking" these status updates and many exclamation points being used. Um … I think it's a good thing for Wisconsin that Jon Leuer might be playing by Thursday.
Next up: Thursday at Minnesota
4) No. 11 Michigan State (20-6, 10-3); LW, 3
Last week: lost vs. then-No. 6 Purdue 76-64, won at Penn State 65-54
A three-game losing streak in February. That's no way to impress bracket placement gurus, even if all three losses in and of themselves were completely explainable. The Spartans have lost their mojo a little bit, and don't have too much time to get it back before their real season begins.
Next up:Tuesday at Indiana
5) RV Illinois (17-9, 9-4); LW, 5
Last week: won at then-No. 11 Wisconsin 63-56, lost vs. then-No. 13 Ohio State 72-53
This was one of those "what the heck do you do with Illinois?" kind of weeks. A semi-impressive win over Michigan State followed by a really, really impressive win at the Kohl Center to cap a five-game win streak … and then not only do the Illini lose to Ohio State, they get trampled. For that, they stay put.
Next up: Saturday at No. 4 Purdue
6) Michigan (12-12, 5-7); LW, 8
Last week: won at Minnesota 71-63
A quiet but productive week for Michigan, which will need a few more results like the Minnesota one to sneak into the NCAA tournament.
Next up: Tuesday at Iowa
7) Northwestern (17-8, 6-7); LW, 6
Last week: lost at Iowa 78-65, won vs. Minnesota 77-74 (OT)
I think it's safe to say at this point: even if Northwestern doesn't get that coveted first NCAA tournament invitation, the Wildcats have given their fans a ride they won't forget. Up and down and up and down and just about out on Sunday – down 13 in the second half against the Gophers – before mounting a huge comeback and saving those dancin' hopes.
Next up: Wednesday vs. Penn State
8) Iowa (9-17, 3-10); LW, 9
Last week: won vs. Northwestern 78-65, lost at then-No. 6 Purdue 63-40
Yeah, the Hawkeyes beat Northwestern; thought about putting them above the Wildcats. But Iowa's not the seventh-best team in this conference. In fact, they're not even the eighth (especially with Anthony Tucker leaving the team.) But that team below them is still going shoe-shopping after riddling its feet with bullet holes this week.
Next up: Tuesday vs. Michigan
9) Minnesota (14-10, 5-7); LW, 7
Last week: lost vs. Michigan 71-63, lost at Northwestern 77-74 (OT)
Disapproving head-nods all around, Minnesota. The conference is looking to the Gophers to potentially fill that sixth Big Ten spot in the NCAAs, but after a couple of pretty inexcusable losses, Minnesota has lost seven of ten and has NIT written all over it.
Next up: Thursday vs. No. 14 Wisconsin
10) Indiana (9-15, 3-9); LW, 10
Last week: lost vs. then-No. 13 Ohio State 69-52, lost at then-No. 11 Wisconsin 83-55
Playing the role of doormat this week, Indiana will have to wait a little longer for that tenth victory. This doesn't figure to change tonight.
Next up: Tuesday vs. No. 11 Michigan State
11) Penn State (8-16, 0-12); LW, 11
Last week: lost vs. then-No. 10 Michigan State 65-54
The dubious "oh-fer" feat is in play now for Penn State. The Nittany Lions haven't come up on the winning end since before Christmas (against American University) and none of their final six games are gimmes even for a halfway-decent team.
Next up: Wednesday at Northwestern