Big Ten Power Rankings for Feb. 23

1. WISCONSIN BADGERS (25-2, 13-1)
Rolling right along with guard Traevon Jackson eyeing a return from injury next week, the Badgers will get a good test this week at Maryland, their first ranked opponent since Jan. 20. Wisconsin needs to keep winning to have a chance at a No. 1 seed in the Big Ten NCAA Tournament and returns home this weekend to play Michigan State.

2. MARYLAND TERRAPINS (22-5, 10-4)
The win over Indiana was the first in what is now three straight victories by four points or less for the Terrapins, who have two home games left this week against Wisconsin and Michigan before hitting the road to finish the season. Maryland may not be clicking on all cylinders, but it’s confidence in winning close games keeps growing.

The Boilermakers have won three straight and seven of eight to surge into a tie for second in the Big Ten and into the NCAA Tournament field despite the albatrosses of losses to North Florida and Gardner-Webb. The streak should continue against Rutgers this week before a tough trip to Ohio State.

It would seem the real Spartans have finally stood up, winners of four straight and six of seven to get off the NCAA bubble and position themselves for a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan State has done it with characteristic Tom Izzo-coached toughness and physicality backing up an improved defense.

5. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (19-8, 8-6)
The Buckeyes have lost three of their last four on the road, including Sunday’s rivalry game at Michigan, with D’Angelo Russell averaging just 15 points per game in those losses compared to his 19 ppg on the season. The good news for Ohio State is that three of its final four games are at home, starting with Nebraska and Purdue visiting this week.

6. INDIANA HOOSIERS (19-9, 9-6)
The first home loss of the Big Ten campaign was followed by a dominating road win for the Hoosiers, who have just one road game remaining at Northwestern this week before finishing the season with two home games after a bye this weekend. Indiana must almost certainly win out to have a shot at a top-four seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

7. IOWA HAWKEYES (17-10, 8-6)
With its NCAA hopes and season seemingly on the brink, the Hawkeyes responded with two of their most dominating performances of the season in routing Rutgers at home and Nebraska on the road. Now Iowa will try to maintain the momentum and get back on the bubble by hosting Illinois and visiting Penn State this week.

Losses at Wisconsin and home to Michigan State last week weren’t unexpected, but they were missed opportunities for the Fighting Illini. It doesn’t get much easier for Illinois, hitting the road to Iowa mid-week before returning home against Northwestern. Both games are critical to keep fading NCAA hopes alive.

The slumping Wolverines awoke from their slumber to snap a five-game losing streak with a win over rival Ohio State over the weekend. NCAA hopes are gone, but the NIT is still on the radar with a couple more wins. Those won’t be easy to come by, especially when Michigan visits Maryland this weekend.

While much of the bottom half of the league just keeps sliding further into oblivion, the Wildcats are headed the other direction with three straight wins, two at home. Northwestern hopes to continue that streak, and possibly sneak into the NIT, by staying home against Indiana before a trip to Illinois this weekend.

Since that barrage of 3-pointers undid the Gophers at Indiana, the roof has fallen in with a home loss to Northwestern and a road loss at Wisconsin. Minnesota won’t find the going any easier in East Lansing this week before a bye provides a chance to regroup for the final week of the season.

12. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS (13-14, 5-10)
After Sunday’s blowout loss to Iowa, coach Tim Miles banned his team from its locker room, and that’s how the Cornhuskers found out things actually could get worse than losing five straight and seven of eight. Nebraska won’t need its locker room at Ohio State this week, and there’s precious little time left to right the ship.

13. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (15-13, 3-12)
A 21-point loss at Northwestern was one of the rare times the Nittany Lions haven’t been in a game until the end, only its third double-digit loss in Big Ten play. Still, Penn State has used up most of the non-conference victory margin it once had and needs to win some more to make the NIT. Next chance is hosting Iowa Saturday.

The Scarlet Knights are trying to put on a brave face, but 11 straight losses are still discouraging, and they’re coming in increasingly uncompetitive fashion. Things seem unlikely to get better for Rutgers at Purdue this week, but at least a weekend bye is on the way.


  1. jeremy,

    “Wisconsin needs to keep winning to have a chance at a No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament”. uh, no. wisc could lose its next 4 games and still have a “chance” at the 1 seed. at least you still don’t have mich st ranked behind indiana. glad you were finally able to figure that out. do you actually pay attention to the games? maybe you could turn this feature over to the food critic or the obit writer.

  2. Any update on Hartman? Just scary seeing a kid go down holding the knee that was injured prior.

    1. “He’s sore this morning, but no, there’s no update past that right now,” Crean said on the Big Ten teleconference this morning. We’ll see if there’s anything new on the radio show tonight. By the way, it was his left knee that he hurt at Rutgers. It was the right knee that had the torn ACL.

      1. UPDATE ON COLLIN HARTMAN: Here’s what Tom Crean said about Hartman’s chances of playing at Northwestern on his radio show Monday night:
        “His status is a little uncertain right now in the sense that he didn’t do anything today, we’ve just been checking him and testing him, hoping he gets over some of the pain he’s dealing with. So I would say right now, it’s going to be day-to-day for a bit. … He’s still very sore, and we’ve just gotta continue to wait and see.”

  3. jeremy.

    a typo is when you accidently hit the key next to the intended key. what you did is called a mistake

  4. Jeremy,
    Matthew Falcon, a running back, from Southfield (Mich) High School visited IU a couple weeks ago.6-foot1, 215 pounds. Has offers from at least 15 schools UT, Ohio State Michigan State, plus others. Just getting him to visit Indiana is a big. He is a junior and is rated a 3 star prospect.
    Also junior Joejuan Williams defensive back, from Father Ryan High, in Nashville. He is 6-foot 2 ,195 listed as #3 prospect in Tennessee. Got offers from IU, UT, Texas A&M Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss. I don’t remember reading anything about this in the Scoop. Have you got anymore info on these and any other IU targets. Thanks

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