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Ranking the B1G: It’s The Purdue Show Now

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Purdue and Ohio State are tied for first. Exactly as everyone expected.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach the halfway point in Big Ten play, Michigan State is now two games behind Purdue for the conference lead. The Boilermakers do not look like they have three conference losses in them. Meanwhile, Ohio State is just chilling over here waiting for someone, anyone, to pose a challenge.**

1) Purdue Boilermakers (Last Week: 1)

Previously: W at Michigan 70-69, W at Minnesota 81-47

Michigan fans won’t soon forget that finish, but Purdue will take it. They capped the week by blowing out another opponent on their quest to a second consecutive regular season title.

Up Next: vs Wisconsin (Tue), at Iowa (Sat)

2) Ohio State Buckeyes (LW: 2)

Previously: W vs Maryland 91-69, W at Rutgers 68-46

The Buckeyes continue their seeming collision course against Purdue, facing the perfect balance of terrible teams on the road, and anything with a pulse at home. Ohio State could very well be undefeated in Big Ten play still when they face Purdue on February 7.

Up Next: at Northwestern (Wed), vs Minnesota (Sat)*

3) Michigan Wolverines (LW: 4)

Previously: L vs No. 5 Purdue 70-69, W at No. 4 Michigan State 82-72

The silver lining for Michigan is that they were able to wash the bitter taste Purdue left in their mouth by beating the Spartans in their own gym.

Up Next: vs Maryland (Mon), at Nebraska (Thu), vs Rutgers (Sun)

4) Michigan State Spartans (LW: 3)

Previously: W vs Rutgers 76-72 (OT), vs Michigan 82-72

Michigan State struggled to put Rutgers away, blowing a 10-point, second half lead to go into overtime. They followed it up with a loss to rival Michigan three days later. The team that looked invincible just a few short weeks ago is now looking for answers as they sit two games behind both the Buckeyes and Boilermakers.

Up Next: vs Indiana (Fri)

5) Indiana Hoosiers (LW: 6)

Previously: W vs Penn State 74-40, W vs Northwestern 66-46

The Hoosiers had a great week, beating both teams it played at home. The road gets a little tougher as they travel to East Lansing, though.

Up Next: at No. 4 Michigan State (Fri)

6) Maryland Terrapins (LW: 5)

Previously: L at Ohio State 91-69

There’s nothing nice about scoring 69 points when you allow 91. If Maryland wants to keep pace with the top of the conference, they’re going to have to start winning some road games. They could start this week against Michigan.

Up Next: at Michigan (Mon), vs Minnesota (Thu)

7) Penn State Nittany Lions (LW: 6)

Previously: L at Indiana 74-70, W vs Nebraska 76-74 (OT)

Like Maryland, Penn State needs to start winning some road games if it wants to keep pace with the top of the conference. They once again split their games, losing a tough one at Indiana (who is finding its stride under Archie Miller), then gutting out a home win against Nebraska. This week offers the perfect opportunity to earn some games against the mushy middle.

Up Next: vs Minnesota (Mon), at Northwestern (Sat)

8) Nebraska Cornhuskers (LW: 6)

Previously: W vs Wisconsin 63-59, L at Penn State 76-74 (OT)

Nebraska had an opportunity to position itself as a top half conference team, but it squandered its opportunity against a Penn State team that handed them the game on a silver platter. The next two games will go a long way in deciding what kind of team Nebraska will be the rest of the way.

Up Next: vs Illinois (Mon), vs Michigan (Thu)

9) Northwestern Wildcats (LW: 6)

Previously: W vs Minnesota 83-60, L at Indiana 66-46

The Wildcats were on both ends of a blowout this week. They made Minnesota look silly at home, then looked silly themselves in Bloomington. Northwestern scored 3 points in the first 12 minutes of play against Indiana, but still went into the half down only 5. More of the same in the second half, coupled with Indiana actually scoring some points, led to the game finally getting out of hand.

Up Next: vs Ohio State (Wed), vs Penn State (Sat)

10) Minnesota Golden Gophers (LW: 6)

Previously: L at Northwestern 83-60, L vs No. 5 Purdue 81-47

The Gophers have to be in panic mode right now, coming off back-to-back blowouts in their last two games. They’re going to have to find a way to win without Reggie Lynch and Amir Coffey if they want to salvage what’s left of their season.

Up Next: at Penn State (Mon), at Maryland (Thu), vs Ohio State (Sat)*

11) Wisconsin Badgers (LW: 6)

Previously: L at Nebraska (Tue)

In their only game of the week, Wisconsin dropped a close one to Nebraska to fall three and a half games behind first place. Something tells me both the “finish at least tied for fourth in the Big Ten” and NCAA tournament appearance streaks are about to end for the Badgers.

Up Next: at No. 5 Purdue (Tue), vs Illinois (Fri)

12) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (LW: 6)

Previously: L at No. 1 Michigan State 76-72 (OT), L vs Ohio State 68-46

If this were a game of horse, Rutgers would be way ahead. Alas, close doesn’t really count.

Up Next: vs Iowa (Wed), at Michigan (Sun)

13) Iowa Hawkeyes (LW: 14)

Previously: W at Illinois 104-97 (OT)

Iowa overcame a 20-point deficit to beat the Illini in overtime. This is their first conference win.

Up Next: at Rutgers (Wed), vs No. 5 Purdue (Sat)

14) Illinois Fighting Illini (LW: 13)

Previously: L vs Iowa 104-97 (OT)

Illinois blew a 20-point lead to lose in overtime. They are now the only team without a conference win.

Up Next: at Nebraska (Mon), at Wisconsin (Fri)

*Neutral site game
**Ohio State’s first road game against a team with a winning conference record will be on February 7, when they visit Purdue.

Ranking criteria:

  1. Recent performance
  2. Overall body of work
  3. Season expectations