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Ranking The B1G: Road Warriors

Road teams had a great week in conference play.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Home teams had been eating everyone alive in conference play to date. Before last week, road teams were 7-42, last week alone, road teams went 8-5. That’s creating some separation between the haves and the have nots, with the jumbled middle increasingly shrinking.

1) Illinois Fighting Illini (+3)

Illinois had a great week, blasting Purdue on the road, then taking one away from Michigan, also on the road. The Illini now claim some of the best road wins in the conference, having beaten Wisconsin, Purdue, and Michigan on the road. That said, the road gets much tougher for Illinois, as five of their next six games are either on the road, or against ranked teams.

2) Michigan State Spartans (-1)

The Spartans would have held the number one spot on this list if not for their road loss to Indiana. Fear not, they turned it around pretty quickly and made work of Daniel Oturu and the Gophers. More on the Gophers later on.

3) Iowa Hawkeyes (+2)

Iowa has now won five in a row since losing to Penn State and Nebraska to start the year. Due to a scheduling quirk, the Hawkeyes have played three consecutive home games, which they took advantage of. Iowa seems to be firing on all cylinders now, so let’s see how they do on the road this week.

4) Maryland Terrapins (+2)

The Terrapins grabbed their first non-Nebraksa, non-Northwestern road win of the year against an Indiana team that had just beaten Michigan State in bloomington. Maryland seems to have realized that they’re one of the most talented teams in the conference, and are starting to play like it.

5) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-3)

Don’t look now, but Rutgers is tied for third in the conference standings. In their defense, they have done exactly what you would expect of them, and more. They’ve been competitive on the road, and they’ve won at home. Things get a lot tougher from here on out, but if they keep winning their home games they should be able to hold serve.

6) Indiana Hoosiers (+2)

Indiana could have had a perfect week, if not for a last second missed shot by Trayce Jackson-Davis. This would have given them two wins against ranked opponents, the former coming against Michigan State, which had sole possession of first place at the time. Instead, they get to joining the jumbled middle with a 5-4 conference record.

7) Minnesota Golden Gophers (—)

Minnesota got the message last week, so they decided to win on the road and lose at home this time around to switch things up. At 5-5 in conference play, they’re certainly not out of it, but their margin for error is quickly fading, as their overall record won’t carry them this season. Also, they might want to fix their attitude, as Oturu continued to jaw at Spartan players, who luckily didn’t bite.

8) Penn State Nittany Lions (+6)

In their lone game last week, Penn State made quick work of Michigan on the road. They got rewarded for their efforts by being ranked in the AP poll again after falling out a few weeks ago (when their season ended).

9) Wisconsin Badgers (-6)

Wisconsin did not have a good time last week. First they got blasted by Purdue, then they blow a 12-point lead at Iowa, in a game where Wisconsin played exactly the type of game they like to play: slow, methodical*, with as few possessions as humanly possible. I guess five-minute scoring droughts are not exclusive to our own Nittany Lions. Adding insult to injury, Kobe King stayed home for this game due to personal reasons.

10) Purdue Boilermakers (—)

After the home loss to Illinois, the Boilermakers probably got the message, as they led by nearly 30 at one point against the Badgers. Now we get to see if this message lasts, as they go on the road to face a team that has yet to lose a home game.

11) Ohio State Buckeyes (—)

The Buckeyes salvaged their week by winning a game on the road, after dropping one against Minnesota at home. Too bad that road win was against Northwestern, a team anyone should expect to beat this season.

12) Michigan Wolverines (-3)

Things may be unraveling for the Wolverines. Isaiah Livers came back for Illinois, but quickly re-aggravated his injury. On top of that, Zavier Simpson is suspended for the Nebraska game for a violation of team rules. If Michigan doesn’t start winning soon, they may not only be out of the conference race, they may be out of the NCAA Tournament race.

13) Northwestern Wildcats (-1)

Close but no cigar is the name of the game for the Wildcats. They held sizable leads against both Maryland and Ohio State last week, but both opponents found ways to come back.

14) Nebraska Cornhuskers (-1)

Like Northwestern, Nebraska had a couple of “close but no cigar” games themselves. The difference is that those came on the road. Can the Huskers steal one, or two, at home this week?