Detroit News Big Ten Power rankings

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Rod Beard ranks the Big Ten basketball teams for the week beginning Monday, Feb. 9:

1. Wisconsin (21-2, 9-1): The Badgers took another step toward winning the conference title with a pair of home wins. Sophomore point guard Bronson Koenig had a career-high 16 points against Northwestern and 15 against Indiana. Last week: 1

2. Ohio State (18-6, 7-4): As most in the Big Ten has found, winning at Purdue is almost impossible. But the Buckeyes bounced back, with freshman D'Angelo Russell notching a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in routing Rutgers. Last week: 2

3. Indiana (17-7, 7-4): In league play, the Hoosiers are 5-0 at home and 2-4 on the road. After a tough loss at Wisconsin, they bounced back with a good win over Michigan. James Blackmon Jr. and Yogi Ferrell are one of the best backcourts around. Last week: 5

4. Maryland (19-5, 7-4): Following a hot start, the Terrapins are sputtering, going 2-3 in their last five games. Sunday's blowout loss at Iowa was another troubling, double-digit road defeat. Wednesday's home game vs. Indiana will be critical. Last week: 3

5. Purdue (15-9, 7-4): The Boilers took a big step forward with a home win over Ohio State, but coach Matt Painter said he was surprised at the lack of execution in the loss at Minnesota on Saturday, which ended their four-game win streak. Last week: 6

6. Iowa (15-8, 6-4): With a bounce-back week, the Hawkeyes are back in the race, with wins over Michigan and Maryland. Adam Woodbury's questionable plays are overshadowing their recent streak but a couple more wins this week could elevate them. Last week: 8

7. Illinois (16-8, 6-5): The Illini have become one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten, winning four of five, including a victory at Michigan State. They'll host a struggling Michigan squad before a big game Sunday at Wisconsin. Last week: 9

8. Michigan State (15-8, 6-4): The free-throw line has been the Spartans' Achilles' heel this season, but it was horrific in the loss to Illinois. They have some tough games to finish the season and desperately need a win Tuesday at Northwestern. Last week: 4

9. Michigan (13-11, 6-6): After losses to Iowa and at Indiana, the Wolverines appear headed for the NIT. They've played better against some of the league's top teams, but have beaten one team with an above-.500 league record (Illinois, in OT). Last week: 7

10. Minnesota (15-9, 4-7): The Gophers have won three of four and are out of the Big Ten basement. They're 4-2 at home in league play, with both losses (Ohio State and Iowa) coming by two points. The problem: Four of the next five are on the road. Last week: 11

11. Nebraska (13-10, 5-6): After teetering for the first half of the league season, the Huskers have fallen off, losing three of the last four — all on the road. The loss at Penn State was crushing, as they were still in the race. Last week: 10

12. Penn State (15-9, 3-8): With an 0-6 start, the Nittany Lions looked to be Big Ten road kill, but they've rallied to win three of the last five, with a big home win over Nebraska. The next three are tough: Ohio State, Maryland and Wisconsin. Last week: 12

13. Northwestern (10-13, 1-9): The skid has reached nine games and the margins aren't as close, with double-digit defeats at Nebraska and at Wisconsin. Next is MSU and coach Tom Izzo called them "the best one-win team in the country." Last week: 13

14. Rutgers (10-15, 2-10): The Scarlet Knights' losing skid has reached eight and only four have been by single digits. Five of their final six opponents having winning records in the conference. Last week: 14

rod.beard@detroitnews.com

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