Big Ten Power Rankings: MSU drops after late-game collapse to rival UM
It was a tough week for Spartans everywhere — on and off the court.
Monday’s on-campus shooting at Michigan State was a tragic event that left three students dead and others injured. It resulted in Michigan State’s matchup against Minnesota getting postponed and a highly-emotional battle against rival Michigan on Saturday, which the Spartans lost in the final minutes.
So how far do the Spartans drop after a winless week on the hardwood? See where Michigan State and the rest of the Big Ten teams land in our latest batch of power rankings:
Record: 7-17 (1-13 in Big Ten)
Minnesota battled Penn State but came up short in a home loss in its lone game this week. The Golden Gophers have lost nine straight and will be hard pressed to win another game in league play this year.
Record: 11-16 (3-13 in Big Ten)
It was yet another rough week for the Buckeyes, who dropped two more games to extend their losing streak to eight games. Ohio State has lost its last three games by an average of 21 points and appears to have packed it in for the season.
Record: 15-11 (7-9 in Big Ten)
It was another up-and-down week for the Badgers, who picked up a close victory over Michigan during the week but fell at home to Rutgers on Saturday. Wisconsin is on the bubble of making the NCAA Tournament and will need to string some wins in the final weeks to secure a bid to the big dance.
Record: 16-11 (7-9 in Big Ten)
Penn State was in dire need of a good week and it earned exactly. The Nittany Lions picked up a resume-boosting win over Illinois and followed with a road victory at Minnesota on Saturday. The Nittany Lions need to continue this strong play if they are to work their way back into the NCAA Tournament mix.
Record: 14-14 (7-10 in Big Ten)
Look out for the Cornhuskers! Nebraska has grown hot late in the year with a two more impressive wins this week: at Rutgers and home vs. Maryland. The Cornhuskers have won four of their last five games and could be a sleeper team to watch come Big Ten Tournament time.
Record: 17-10 (9-7 in Big Ten)
Iowa is the starting point for a grouping of teams that are essentially on the same level: Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers, Illinois, Iowa and Maryland. The Hawkeyes are the lowest at the moment due to a blowout loss at Northwestern on Sunday, but they very well could shoot to the top of this grouping by this time next week.
Record: 17-10 (9-7 in Big Ten)
The Scarlet Knights broke out of a recent funk with a nice road win at Wisconsin on Saturday. Earlier in the week, Rutgers lost at home to Nebraska — hence the drop in our rankings. Rutgers appears safely in the NCAA Tournament, but certainly wants to finish strongly to boost their seeding.
Record: 15-12 (9-7 in Big Ten)
Michigan finally came through in the final minutes of a game and, of course, it was against the Spartans. The Wolverines snapped a two-game skid with Saturday night’s victory over Michigan State, which gives them some hope of reaching the NCAA Tournament with a strong finish.
Record: 16-10 (8-7 in Big Ten)
Michigan State played 38 great minutes of ball against rival Michigan, but collapsed in the final two. That was the difference in their loss to the Wolverines on Saturday. Michigan State emotionally had a really tough week, and the situation will not get easier on the court this week with games against Indiana and at Iowa.
Record: 17-9 (8-7 in Big Ten)
It was a rough week for Illinois, which dropped both of its games. The Fighting Illini lost a pair of road games at Penn State and Indiana and look to rebound against Minnesota on Monday.
Record: 18-9 (9-7 in Big Ten)
The Terps’ past week was the definition of up-and-down. Earlier in the week, Maryland knocked off the Big Ten’s top team, Purdue, but followed that with a loss at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are trending in the right direction, so that loss doesn’t completely diminish the victory over Purdue — hence why I have moved Maryland up in our rankings.
Record: 19-8 (10-6 in Big Ten)
Indiana tripped up for only the second time in their last 11 games in a narrow loss at Northwestern during the week. The Hoosiers responded, though, with a win over Illinois on Saturday. Indiana continues to be one of the hottest teams in the league.
Record: 20-7 (11-5 in Big Ten)
Northwestern has gone from a fun bubble team story to a true contender for a Big Ten title and a run in March. The Wildcats picked up two more big-time wins this week over Indiana and Iowa, and they appear to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament. If they continue to play at this level, they could find themselves winning a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship as well.
Record: 24-4 (13-4 in Big Ten)
Purdue is starting to slip after being our top team all season. The Boilermakers dropped another game this week and have lost three of their last five games. This next week should be interesting for Purdue, with a rematch against Indiana looming on Saturday.
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