So far this season we have seen significant injuries hinder Maryland (Dez Wells), Wisconsin (Traevon Jackson) and Illinois (Rayvonte Rice). Well, the bad news keeps on beckoning the Big Ten, as it was learned this week that Michigan star Caris LeVert will be out for the rest of the season with a broken foot.
Suffice to say, injuries have marred the conference and have made the race even more wide open. While some things are starting to go to form, some unexpected occurrences are still permeating the conference.
So, with that said, let’s look at this week’s Big Ten Power Rankings.
14. Penn State 12-6, 0-5
Still winless in the conference, the Nittany Lions are just not getting it done in the Big Ten after a solid showing in non-conference play. In the last week they lost at Indiana and also at home to Purdue. They’ll have it tough in their next game (at Michigan State on Wednesday), but they could get off the schneid with a home game against Rutgers on Saturday.
13. Northwestern 10-8, 1-4
With a good chance to come away with a win or two last week, the Wildcats went 0-2 while losing at home to Illinois and on the road at Michigan. Games this week against Ohio State and at Maryland do not look promising.
12. Minnesota 12-8, 1-6
The Golden Gophers are coming off another tough loss as they had three cracks at tying the game at Nebraska on Tuesday night but came up empty again. While it was nice to see them get their first win over Rutgers on Saturday, it’s still been a major struggle for Richard Pitino’s squad.
11. Rutgers 10-10, 2-5
After shocking Wisconsin, the Scarlet Knights have now dropped three games in a row. We knew they would take their lumps, but they are still doing better than some people thought.
10. Illinois 12-7, 2-4
While the Illini showed grit in winning on the road at Northwestern last week, Illinois missed a chance to make a statement with a win over Indiana at home on Sunday. However, it couldn’t close it out after leading the game late. With Rice hurt, you should expect these types of inconsistencies from the Illini.
9. Nebraska 11-7, 3-3
Slowly but surely, Nebraska is starting to dig out of the hole it dug for itself early and has won three out of its last four games. A home game this Saturday against Michigan State is a good chance for the program to open some eyes and get into the conversation for a postseason bid.
8. Purdue 11-7, 3-2
Although they lost to Maryland last time out (and there is nothing wrong with that), Purdue rebounded to knock off Penn State on the road on Saturday in its only game this past week. Next up for the Boilermakers is a road game at Illinois on Wednesday and a home game against Iowa on Saturday. It could be a telling week for Purdue.
7. Michigan 12-7, 5-2
The good news for the Wolverines is that they scraped by to win on the road at Rutgers on Tuesday to improve to 5-2 in conference. The bad news? Well, it doesn’t get much worse than losing LeVert for the remainder of the season. As if John Beilein didn’t have it bad enough this season.
6. Ohio State 14-5, 3-3
While they have no bad losses, the Buckeyes don’t exactly have that many convincing wins either. They’ve only beaten Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois in conference thus far. Up next for Ohio State is a game at Northwestern on Thursday. However, the game its circling is its game on Sunday at home against Indiana. The Buckeyes will be looking to exact some revenge on the Hoosiers for a loss earlier this month.
5. Michigan State 12-6, 3-2
If you didn’t know, the only conference losses the Spartans have are both to Maryland. We have seen how good Maryland is (more on them later), and there is no shame in that. Michigan State is still getting better and it has two winnable games on tap this week: a contest against Penn State on Wednesday and a road game versus Nebraska on Saturday.
4. Iowa 13-6, 4-2
The Hawkeyes are playing well, but they took it on the chin at Wisconsin on Tuesday. A barrage of three pointers by Wisconsin absolutely buried Iowa early and it could not overcome. It is still coming off a big week by beating Minnesota on the road while also completing its sweep of Ohio State.
3. Indiana 14-4, 4-1
I already chronicled the season Indiana is having here. It is starting to become a feel-good story after facing some adversity last year and also earlier in the year. The Hoosiers had a big win on the road against Illinois on Sunday and now find themselves back in the top-25.
2. Maryland 17-2, 5-1
Ok, between Maryland and Wisconsin, we may have to start labeling these teams 1A and 1B. Because, if you have seen Maryland play lately, you should know it has legitimate Final Four aspirations. Freshman Melo Trimble could not only be your Big Ten freshman of the year, but perhaps national freshman of the year. He’s been that good.
1. Wisconsin 17-2, 5-1
So far, so good for the Badgers while playing without Jackson. Frank Kaminsky is back and better than ever, though, and Wisconsin has regrouped to pound Nebraska and Iowa since losing to Rutgers. Things are just about status quo in Madison.