Matt Charboneau’s Big Ten Power Rankings

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

1. Iowa (20-5, 11-2): The Hawkeyes got a break from the schedule makers and came off their loss at Indiana with a home date on Sunday night against winless Minnesota, which gave them a scare before Iowa came away with the 75-71 victory. Challenges await, however, as Iowa tries to avoid any late-season upsets and capture the regular-season championship.

2. Wisconsin (16-9, 8-4): The Badgers might not be the second-best team from the start of the season, but they sure are right now. It’s hard to ignore seven straight wins, especially when one comes at Maryland. The Badgers continue a tough stretch at Michigan State on Thursday.

3. Michigan State (21-5, 8-5): The Spartans nearly pulled off a huge comeback at Purdue before losing in overtime but bounced back in impressive fashion by blowing out Indiana. The final five games give MSU a good shot at finishing strong.

4. Maryland (22-4, 10-3): The Terrapins continue to get plenty of love from the national pollsters, however they have yet to impress and are no longer perfect at home in Big Ten play after losing to Wisconsin. Road games with Purdue and Indiana are still to come.

5. Indiana (20-6, 10-3): The Hoosiers had a big win over Iowa this week, but they’ve lost two of three with a loss at Penn State and Sunday’s blowout loss at Michigan State. The Hoosiers have a tough slate left with Purdue and Maryland at home and a trip to Iowa still on tap.

6. Purdue (20-6, 8-5): The Boilermakers showed resolve in holding off a furious rally from Michigan State early in the week but fell flat at Michigan on Saturday. They have a rivalry game at Indiana next weekend and still get a visit from Maryland and Wisconsin.

Charboneau: Wisconsin turning its season around

7. Michigan (19-7, 9-4): The Wolverines bounced back with a two-win week, including a signature win over Purdue. It remains difficult down the stretch, however. But if Michigan can get another win over the likes of Maryland, Wisconsin or Iowa, it will be in solid shape heading to the postseason.

8. Ohio State (16-10, 8-5): After losing two straight, the Buckeyes took care of business and picked up needed victories over Northwestern and Rutgers. Two games with Michigan State and a visit from Iowa are still up as the Buckeyes try and make a run for the NCAA Tournament.

9. Northwestern (17-9, 5-8): After losing five straight, the Wildcats have won two of three, including a close win at home over Illinois. The NCAA Tournament is still out there for the Wildcats, and they’ll have a good opportunity this week with games against Purdue and Michigan.

10. Nebraska (14-12, 6-7): The Cornhuskers have now won two of three after Andrew White III scored a career-high 35 against Penn State. Nebraska is hoping to avoid playing in the first day of the Big Ten tournament and a solid close to the regular-season should assure that.

11. Penn State (12-13, 3-9): The Nittany Lions were unable to build off the upset win over Indiana and came up short at Nebraska. There are winnable games left, however, as Penn State looks to get out of the first day of play at the conference tournament.

12. Illinois (11-14, 3-9): The only win in the last five games for the Illini came at winless Rutgers, and that was in triple overtime. Little is going right in Champaign as Illinois lost at Northwestern over the weekend and still has games with Wisconsin, Indiana and Maryland down the stretch.

13. Minnesota (6-19, 0-13): The Golden Gophers are still hunting for that first victory, one that might come next weekend with a visit from Rutgers. Other than that, the best chance might be the season finale at Rutgers.

14. Rutgers (6-19, 0-12): Another team trying to find just one conference victory, the Scarlet Knights at least have two games left with Minnesota. Penn State and Northwestern are possibilities, but it’s not likely Rutgers finds much success down the stretch.

matt.charboneau@detroitnews.com

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