What a huge week for Purdue as they beat two of the best teams in the conference, but Wisconsin will be hard to knock out of the top spot.
14. Rutgers (2-9, 13-11) LW: 14 – Rutgers finally got their second win in conference play this weekend at Penn State. Corey Sanders played his best game of the season, scoring 25 points and knocking down 4 of 5 three pointers for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers could probably finish this season off with 4 or 5 wins, significantly better than last year’s 1.
13. Illinois (3-8, 13-11) LW: 13 – The Illini failed to score 60 points in two consecutive home games as their losing streak has reached 3.
12. Penn State (4-7, 12-12) LW: 12 – Tough loss for the Nittany Lions at home against Rutgers comes just days after putting up 102 points and still losing to Indiana. They have lost 5 of their last 6 with the lone win coming at home against Illinois.
11. Nebraska (4-7, 10-13) LW: 9 – The Cornhuskers have reached the point of no return, any little hopes they had of making the NCAA tournament have gone out the window. Their continued losing is still shocking considering they have beaten a healthy Indiana, Maryland, and Purdue. But again, Nebraska is the youngest team in the conference and next year should be more promising.
10. Minnesota (4-6, 16-7) LW: 10 – The Golden Gophers finally snapped a five game losing streak with a win against Illinois. This is still a bubble team for the NCAA tournament despite their recent conference struggles. They have six of their remaining eight games against teams in the bottom half of the conference, so they kind of control their destiny, but can they take advantage of it?
9. Michigan (4-7, 14-9) LW: 6 – Two tough losses for the Wolverines against their two biggest rivals Michigan State and Ohio State this week. The Ohio State loss in Ann Arbor saw them out-rebounded by 18, including a 16-7 difference on the offensive end. Michigan gets Michigan State again this week before heading to Bloomington on Sunday.
8. Ohio State (4-7, 14-10) LW: 8 – Huge win for the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor could give them the momentum they need to turn this season around. They have Rutgers this week, another game that could give them more momentum before heading into College Park this weekend to take on Maryland.
7. Iowa (6-5, 14-10) LW: 11 – The hottest team in the conference, not named Purdue or Wisconsin, is Iowa. They have very quietly won 5 of their last 8 games including 3 straight, all by double-digits. Freshman forward Tyler Cook, high school teammate of Duke’s Jayson Tatum, has exceeded freshman year expectations and shot 56 percent during the three game win streak. The Hawkeyes have two tough road games this week at Minnesota and Michigan State.
6. Indiana (5-6, 15-9) LW: 7 – Indiana put up 110 against Penn State and fought admirably on the road in a losing effort at Wisconsin. They had the Badgers on the ropes but just couldn’t get that one key bucket to spark a run. Despite being without their top two guards, the Hoosiers are still a team to pay attention to down the stretch.
5. Michigan State (6-4, 14-9) LW: 5 – Sparty desperately needed the two wins they got this week against Michigan and Nebraska and they played well in both contests. Both games were dominated by Miles Bridges as he recorded a 15 point, 13 rebound game against Michigan and then 16 and 6 at Nebraska. They take on Michigan again and Iowa this week, two teams that would qualify as good wins at this point.
4. Northwestern (7-3, 18-5) LW: 3 – Northwestern finally got a taste of something other that winning as Purdue topped them by 21 points in West Lafayette, ending the Wildcats impressive six game win streak. Two of their next three games come against Wisconsin on the road and home against Maryland so they will get more chances to get a signature conference win before the final stretch of the regular season.
3. Maryland (8-2, 20-3) LW: 2 – Twice now Maryland has choked away a big second-half lead at home, leading to their only two conference losses. This time it was a 12 point lead with 13 minutes left against Purdue. The Terps didn’t score a field goal in the games final 7 minutes and change and couldn’t take advantage of a gift from Isaac Haas on a terrible travel with a half of a second left. Maryland gets a chance to right the ship with Penn State and Ohio State this week, two must win games for the Terrapins.
2. Purdue (8-3, 19-5) LW: 4 – As mentioned in the title, Purdue had a huge week against Northwestern and Maryland, proving once again that they can beat the best teams in the conference as they have now beaten all three of the remaining top 4 in the conference. Caleb Swanigan probably won himself the conference player of the year award with two more double-doubles in the two key wins in which he averaged 25 points. In total he now has a double-double in all but one conference game this season.
1. Wisconsin (9-1, 20-3) LW: 1 – Wisconsin continues to win, even if it isn’t pretty. The fourth best defensive team in the country has both Northwestern and Maryland at home in February, and neither on the road all season, giving them a huge edge on the race for the top seed in the conference tournament, which is in Maryland’s backyard, Washington, D.C.