Big Ten power rankings: Feb. 3

    The Contenders:

    1. Michigan Wolverines (8-1 Big Ten)

    Sure they lost to Indiana, but the Hoosiers are finally looking like a real team. It’s crazy hard to win nine games in a row in any conference, so think of this loss as an “attitude readjustment” game. The Wolverines are still the top team in the Big Ten.

    This week: vs. Nebraska Feb. 5, at Iowa Feb. 8

    2. Michigan State Spartans (8-1 Big Ten)

    Michigan State went to Iowa and pulled out an overtime win. Keith Appling had 16 points against the Hawkeyes, but only seven when the Spartans lost their strange mid-season non-conference game against Georgetown. In a week when 16 of the Top 25 teams were upset, MSU can probably just forget last week and move on.

    This week: vs. Penn State Feb. 6

    3. Iowa Hawkeyes (6-3 Big Ten)

    Iowa has pounded much of the Big Ten competition. Their only losses came from Wisconsin (when the Badgers were good) and from Michigan and Michigan State. The Hawkeyes are better than most of the conference, but struggle against very good teams.

    This week: vs. Ohio State Feb. 4, vs. Michigan Feb. 8

    The Rest:

    4. Northwestern Wildcats (5-5 Big Ten)

    The Wildcats are one of four teams in the Big Ten with at least a .500 win percentage. Their stifling defense does its job, and their offense has finally started to show up at games. Drew Crawford had 30 points in a win against Wisconsin, and Tre Demps is knocking down clutch late game shots. Northwestern also won three straight Big Ten road games for the first time since 1960.

    This week: vs. Nebraska Feb. 8

    5. Ohio State Buckeyes (4-5 Big Ten)

    When the Buckeyes lose five games in a row, they somehow managed to stay in the Top 25. Yet, when they win two games, they drop out. These pollsters are confusing. Anyway, in its win over Wisconsin, Ohio State decided it was done losing. Now the team has its determination back. And it appears Aaron Craft (yes, I know how old that link is) is done with his medical school interviews, because he’s finally back to being that clutch point guard everyone loves to hate.

    This week: at Iowa Feb. 4, vs Purdue Feb. 8

    6. Indiana Hoosiers (4-5 Big Ten)

    Yogi Ferrel apparently loves the big stage. In all of their games against Top10 teams, Ferrel has surpassed 17 points. Every time he’s scored at least 20, the Hoosiers have won; in their win against Michigan, he had 27. This team revolves around Ferrel, and if he can stay hot, Indiana has a good chance at winning.

    This week: at Minnesota Feb. 8

    7. Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-5 Big Ten)

    Nebraska has graduated from being “that bad team” to “that average team.” With three Big Ten wins under their belt, let’s see how the ‘Huskers fair against Michigan.

    This week: at Michigan Feb. 5, at Northwestern Feb. 8

    8. Penn State Nittany Lions (3-6 Big Ten)

    The Nittany Lions have three straight wins, which is the current longest winning streak in the Big Ten. Their one point overtime win against Ohio State showed hunger, and their win over Purdue showed finesse. Penn State might reach .500 in Big Ten play.

    This week: at Michigan State Feb. 6

    9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-5 Big Ten)

    Without their leading scorer Andre Hollins, the Gophers just can’t keep up, especially against defensive teams like Northwestern. His little brother Austin is trying to fill his shoes, but the gophers need both brothers to continue winning.

    This week: at Purdue Feb. 5, vs Indiana Feb. 8

    10. Wisconsin Badgers (4-5 Big Ten)

    Oh how the mighty have fallen. The best way to describe the Badgers right now is “sloppy.” The Badgers are now one of the worst teams in the country in rebounds and assists per game. A trip to Illinois might be all it takes to rejuvenate this apathetic team.

    This week: at Illinois Feb. 4

    11. Purdue Boilermakers (3-6 Big Ten)

    Since their double overtime loss to Northwestern, the Boilermakers seem like they’ve given up on winning. They have three more winnable games before they hit their end of season gauntlet: Michigan State, Iowa and Michigan.

    This week: vs. Minnesota Feb. 5, at Ohio State Feb. 8

    12. Illinois Illini (2-7 Big Ten)

    Illinois has lost seven games in a row. Somebody call a doctor and check for a pulse.

    This week: vs. Wisconsin Feb. 4


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