Big Ten Power Poll: Week Nine

Bubbles are bursting around the country but there's one thing we know for sure, the Big Ten regular season title race is heating up with two weeks to go, which is evident by the shake up in the Big Ten Power Poll.

1) No. 3 Purdue (23-3, 1-3 Big Ten); Last week's rank, 1

Last week: won at then-No. 9 Ohio State 60-57, won at Illinois 75-65

Okay, so, two road wins over two really good teams in one week. Any other questions about Purdue being my number one?

Next up: Wednesday at Minnesota

2) No. 9 Ohio State (21-7, 11-4); LW, 2

Last week: lost vs. then-No. 4 Purdue 60-57, won at then-No. 11 Michigan State 74-67

For that matter, any other questions about Ohio State being number two and Michigan State below both PU and OSU? Mmkay, didn't think so. Glad we could clear that up. Now just let me get off my pedestal, because trust me, as you'll see later in the rankings, I wasn't right about everything this past week.

Next up: Wednesday at Penn State

3) No. 14 Michigan State (21-7, 11-4); LW, 4

Last week: won at Indiana 72-58, lost vs. then-No. 9 Ohio State 74-67

Finally, the season-long argument that MSU is inferior to Purdue (and possibly other Big Ten teams) comes to fruition. Now the Spartans have a good, long week to think about what kind of March team they can be.

Next up: Sunday at No. 3 Purdue

4) No. 17 Wisconsin (20-7, 10-5); LW, 3

Last week: lost at Minnesota 68-52, won vs. Northwestern 70-63

Whoops. Guess Wisconsin didn't have things figured out after all, not with Jon Leuer's return. What is it about the Barn that makes the Badgers check their basketball ability at the door?

Next up: Thursday at Indiana

5) RV Illinois (17-10, 9-5); LW, 5

Last week: lost at then-No. 4 Purdue 75-65

A ho-hum week, as far as going on the road to the conference's best squad and playing gamely but losing. And then not having a weaklink to beat up on, but a bye instead. As I said, Ho-hum.

Next up: Tuesday at Michigan

6) Minnesota (16-10, 7-7); LW, 9

Last week: won vs. then-No. 14 Wisconsin 68-52, won vs. Indiana 81-58

It might have been a little too late, but the Gophers make a strong statement with two muscle-flexing victories in one week; one in stature, the other in score margin.

Next up: Wednesday vs. No. 3 Purdue

7) Michigan (13-13, 6-8); LW, 6

Last week: won at Iowa 80-78 (OT), lost vs. Penn State 55-51

Blech. Needing five extra minutes to barely put away Iowa, and then embarrassing your home fans by losing to the Nittany Lions. What a forgettable squad the Wolverines are becoming. Not if you're an NIT buff, though.

Next up: Tuesday vs. Illinois

8) Iowa (9-18, 3-11); LW, 8

Last week: lost vs. Michigan 80-78 (OT) More good feelings stirred by playing hard, but ultimately coming up short of victory. But hey, here comes another game with Northwestern!

Next up: Thursday at Northwestern

9) Northwestern (17-10, 6-9); LW, 7

Last week: lost vs. Penn State 81-70, lost at then-No. 14 Wisconsin 70-63

Sad. Just sad. Those poor nerds … er, intellectuals down there in Evanston will never make the NCAAs, will they? The Wildcats have five games left ... winning all of them would be a really good idea.

Next up: Thursday vs. Iowa

10) Penn State (10-16, 2-12); LW, 11

Last week: won at Northwestern 81-70, won at Michigan 55-51

Hey, is that … yes! There is some life emanating from State College, Pa.! Good for Talor Battle and crew. That was my other gross misinterpretation from last week, when I stated that the oh-fer was firmly in play. At least this one feels good to be wrong about. Good for the Nittany Lions.

Next up: Wednesday vs. No. 9 Ohio State

11) Indiana (9-17, 3-11); LW, 10 Last week: lost vs. then-No. 11 Michigan State 72-58, lost at Minnesota 81-58

Not so good for the Hoosiers, which find themselves back in the cellar where they resided all of last season. Eight straight losses have doomed Indiana, where even Tom Crean has got to be running out of optimistic steam.

Next up: Thursday vs. No. 17 Wisconsin

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