Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings, Week 8: Indiana proves it deserves to be No. 1, but will it last?
But as we enter the final three weeks of the conference season, we are becoming more sure of a few things.
One, Indiana deserves to be ranked No. 1 and we have the proof. That doesn't mean they won't lose in Ann Arbor in their regular season finale, but they're the only team to have beaten both Michigan and Michigan State.
Two, the basement foundation has solidified and Purdue, Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State form the concrete base for the rest of the league - despite Minnesota's best efforts to join them.
Lastly, at this point, the Big Ten has three teams in the national Final Four discussion (Indiana, Michigan State and Michigan). The Big Ten Tournament is going to be absolutely nuts.
1. Indiana (24-3, 12-2)
"The Hoosiers answered any remaining critics in a big, big way Tuesday. Win at Minnesota next week, and this thing's in the bag -- if it isn't already. " -- MLive Michigan basketball beat writer Nick Baumgardner
2. Michigan State (22-4, 11-3) When Michigan State blew the roof off against Michigan, a curious thought crossed my mind. Michigan seemed to be taking the loss as a wake up call and it wouldn't surprise if the loss to the Spartans ended up being the turning point for a special post season run. The Spartans on the other hand were going to have a hard time not getting fat and sassy (Izzo voice). You can only circle the wagons so many times (Saban voice).
3. Michigan (22-4, 9-4)
"Michigan didn't look good against lowly Penn State last weekend. The Wolverines had the week off due to a bye and will return to the floor against Illinois on Sunday. Which team will show up, though?" -- Baumgardner
4. Wisconsin (19-8, 10-4)
"Wisconsin dismantled Ohio State, dismantled Northwestern and only has one more truly difficult game on its schedule left (at Michigan State). Pretty good chance Bo Ryan will do what he always does once again -- finish in the top four." -- Baumgardner
Do Wisconsin fans ever get tired of good but not great, or do they just head to Lambeau and try to forget about it?
5. ↓ Ohio State (19-7, 9-5)
"The Buckeyes are just 1-7 against teams ranked in the Top 25 at the time they met. But their defense looked pretty good again in last night’s win over Minnesota." -- MLive writer Tim Martin
When I watch Aaron Craft play this season, for the first time, I feel like three years of intense defense for over 30 minutes per game has taken its toll.
6. Illinois (19-8, 6-7)
"Outside of maybe Indiana, no one is hotter than Illinois right now. A four-game winning streak has Illinois back on the right side of the bubble. Heck, probably off the bubble altogether." -- Baumgardner
7. ↑ Iowa (17-9, 6-7)
There will be a lot of people rooting for the Hawkeyes on March 2 when they travel to Bloomington looking to seal their tournament resume. Most of those people will be in East Lansing and Ann Arbor.
8. ↓ Minnesota (18-9, 6-8)
Watching what's happening to Minnesota down the stretch makes me kind of sad. And then I watch this and I feel better.
9. Purdue (12-14, 5-8)
"At least these guys don't have to play Indiana again." -- Baumgardner
10. Northwestern (13-14, 4-10)
11. Nebraska (12-14, 3-10)
12. Penn State (8-15, 0-11)
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