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Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings: Spartans drop after brutal showing at Northwestern

Michigan State’s hot streak came to a screeching halt on Sunday and because of that the Spartans have dropped in our weekly power rankings.

The Spartans fell at Northwestern on Sunday evening to snap a five-game winning streak and prove that Michigan State still has a lot to work on. But how far should the Spartans drop after the road loss?

See where Michigan State and the rest of the league lands in our weekly Big Ten basketball power rankings below:

Michigan

Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 6-9 (1-3 in Big Ten)

Michigan is in a free fall right now. The Wolverines lost a pair of games this week that many would have expected them to win entering the year, and now seem like a squad that is heading for a disastrous season.

Rutgers

Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 8-6 (0-3 in Big Ten)

Rutgers, Michigan and Penn State all appear to be battling for the bottom spot in the league right now. Lucky for Rutgers, Michigan is a mess and will hold that spot for the foreseeable future though.

Penn State

Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 8-7 (2-2 in Big Ten)

Penn State had an up-and-down week with a blowout loss at Michigan State followed up by a comeback win over Michigan. The Nittany Lions have enough talent to upset some decent teams but also will find themselves on some tough losses as we saw in East Lansing, Mich.

Maryland

Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 9-6 (1-3 in Big Ten)

It was a bad week for the Terps, who dropped a pair of games against Purdue and Minnesota. Maryland needed at least a split badly this week for their NCAA Tournament resume and it appears it’s going to be a quiet March for Maryland.

Minnesota

Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 12-3 (3-1 in Big Ten)

So, Minnesota might actually be a problem in the Big Ten this year. The Golden Gophers picked up a pair of nice wins this week — on road at Michigan and home vs. Maryland — and appear to be no longer a pushover in the conference. Watch out for the Golden Gophers moving forward.

Indiana

Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 11-4 (3-1 in Big Ten)

Indiana rebounded nicely on Saturday night with a win over the Buckeyes to make up for a lackluster performance in Lincoln, Neb. earlier in the week. The Hoosiers remain a bubble team for now, and it could really go either way in the coming weeks.

Northwestern

Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 11-3 (2-1 in Big Ten)

Sure, Sunday night’s win over Michigan State was very impressive for the Wildcats but let’s not forget they lost by 30 points to their in-state rival earlier in the week. Northwestern is a solid team that’ll consistently beat teams at home but truly great teams don’t lose by 30 in a rivalry game like that. So until I see Northwestern experience more success on the road, I’m holding off on moving them up too much higher.

Iowa

Credit: Iowa City Press-Citizen
Credit: Iowa City Press-Citizen

Record: 9-6 (1-3 in Big Ten)

It’s hard to get a read on Iowa right now as the Hawkeyes have gotten off to a slow start but also have played better recently. I have a feeling this team can get hot at some point, but they really need to start piling up some wins now if they’re going to play their way into the NCAA Tournament mix.

Nebraska

Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 12-3 (2-2 in Big Ten)

Nebraska at home is a much different team than on the road — or at least that has been the case so far in conference play. The Cornhuskers made easy work of Indiana earlier in the week but then were blown out by Wisconsin in a road tilt on Saturday.

Michigan State

Credit: Lansing State Journal
Credit: Lansing State Journal

Record: 9-6 (1-3 in Big Ten)

Is this too high for the Spartans? Maybe after what we saw against Northwestern on Sunday night. But I will hold off on dropping Michigan State too far as anyone who knows the Spartans had to have seen this loss coming. We will see how the Spartans respond in a tough Thursday night matchup at Illinois this upcoming week.

Ohio State

Credit: The Columbus Dispatch
Credit: The Columbus Dispatch

Record: 12-3 (2-2 in Big Ten)

Ohio State has let a pair of conference games slip through their fingers, including a loss this week at Indiana. The Buckeyes are clearly one of the top half teams in the league but they need to finish games stronger than they have been doing so far this year.

Wisconsin

Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 11-3 (3-0 in Big Ten)

Wisconsin has a strong argument to be the second-best team in the league behind Purdue, but for now, I have them staying put at No. 3. The Badgers picked up a pair of convincing wins at home and quickly locking down a spot as one of the top teams in the league.

Illinois

Credit: Journal-Courier
Credit: Journal-Courier

Record: 11-3 (2-1 in Big Ten)

Illinois went 1-1 this past week but it was an impressive split week for the Fighting Illini. Illinois first beat rival Northwestern by 30 and then followed that up with a narrow defeat at Purdue — although the game wasn’t as close as the score suggested. Regardless, this is still a top team in the league.

Purdue

Credit: Journal-Courier
Credit: Journal-Courier

Record: 14-1 (3-1 in Big Ten)

Copy and paste what I said about Purdue last week. Not really, but you get the point. The Boilermakers are still the top team and only further proved that in picking up a win over Illinois this week.

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Story originally appeared on Spartans Wire