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Rod Beard ranks the Big Ten basketball teams for the week beginning Monday, Feb. 16:

1. Wisconsin (23-2, 11-1)

With a three-game lead and six games remaining, the Badgers look to be coasting to an outright conference title. Frank Kaminsky averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds in victories over Nebraska and Illinois. Last week: 1

2. Maryland (21-5, 9-4)

Maryland followed its lopsided loss at Iowa with close victories over Indiana and at Penn State. The Terrapins are inconsistent, but haven't lost a close game all year. Freshman Melo Trimble continues to impress. Last week: 4

3. Purdue (17-9, 9-4)

The Boilermakers are one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten, winning six of their last seven. A tough matchup at Indiana will tell if Purdue can stay in the race for second. Last week: 5

4. Michigan State (17-8, 8-4)

Michigan State was solidly on the bubble before Denzel Valentine saved it with a last-second 3-pointer to top Ohio State. It has a tough one tonight at Michigan but could set itself up for a run. Last week: 8

5. Ohio State (19-7, 8-5)

The Buckeyes are fourth in the nation in shooting percentage (50). But the last-second loss at Michigan State dropped Ohio State in the standings and could hurt its NCAA seeding. Last week: 2

6. Indiana (18-8, 8-5)

Indiana followed a two-point loss at Maryland with a dominating performance (school-record 18 3-pointers) over Minnesota. The in-state rivalry game against Purdue on Thursday is critical. Last week: 3

7. Illinois (17-9, 7-6)

In the final minutes, Illinois mounted a nice comeback against Michigan for an OT win. The return of Rayvonte Rice, along with strong play from Kendrick Nunn (21 points), propelled it before a flat loss to Wisconsin. Last week: 7

8. Minnesota (16-10, 5-8)

Minnesota got a big win at Iowa for its first three-game winning streak since late December. Andre Hollins continued his underrated play (21.5 points) to keep the Gophers slim postseason hopes alive. Last week: 10

9. Iowa (15-10, 6-6)

On the heels of a big week, Iowa followed with losses to Minnesota and Northwestern. It has been up and down, but needs to bounce back against Rutgers and Nebraska. Last week: 6

10. Michigan (13-12, 6-7)

After another lopsided overtime loss (Illinois), the NCAA Tournament is out of focus. Now it's about ensuring an NIT spot and getting the young players more seasoning. Last week: 9

11. Nebraska (13-12, 5-8)

Following double-digit losses to Wisconsin and Purdue, Nebraska likely won't repeat last season's magic. The Cornhuskers likely will have the nucleus of their roster back. Last week: 11

12. Penn State (15-11, 3-10)

Penn State has three of its next four at home: Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio State. It had a shot late against Maryland, but fell late. Last week: 12

13. Northwestern (11-14, 2-10)

With a surprising overtime victory over Iowa, Northwestern snapped its 10-game losing streak. Freshman Bryant McIntosh had 12 points and Alex Olah added 11 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. Last week: 13

14. Rutgers (10-16, 2-11)

Rutgers is winless on the road, and three of its final five are away. Getting another win will be a challenge. Last week: 14

rod.beard@detroitnews.com

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