Editor's note: Each week, Yahoo! Sports college basketball writer Jason King will rank teams in each of the Big Six conferences plus the best of the rest. Wednesday's entry – The Big Ten Conference.
(Through games of Feb. 10)
Purdue's Robbie Hummel and Michigan State's Raymar Morgan aren't feeling too good these days. And as a result, neither are their teams.
A hairline fracture in his L5 vertebrae has forced Hummel to sit out Purdue's last two games – both of which ended in losses. Morgan has also missed back-to-back contests for the Big Ten-leading Spartans, who still managed to win but didn't look the same.
While Michigan State should be fine, Hummel's injury could greatly alter the course of Purdue's season. Primed to contend for a conference title just two weeks ago, the Boilermakers could easily slip without Hummel – the league's preseason player of the year – and lose to teams such as Penn State, Iowa and Northwestern.
If that occurs – and let's hope it doesn't – who knows where Purdue could end up in March?
Now on to the rankings. Last week's rank in parenthesis.
|1.||Michigan State |
|Touted freshman Delvon Roe is starting break out at just the right time for the Spartans, who got 14 points and 10 rebounds from Roe in Tuesday win over Michigan. Roe has battled back after having surgery on both knees. (1)|
|2.||Ohio State |
|Just when it seemed the Buckeyes were destined for the NIT, Thad Matta's squad has reeled off four straight wins thanks, in part, to the play of Evan Turner, who averages team-highs in points (17), rebounds (7.5) and assists (3.3). (5)|
|Not to take anything away from the Gophers' accomplishments, but their offense has looked lacking the last few weeks Minnesota is playing good defense, which leads to points. But it needs to improve on the other end. (2)|
|Sophomore Mike Davis has had it rough the last few weeks, as a bout of tonsillitis brought on an accompanying case of Bell's Palsy that caused him to temporarily lose feeling on the left side of his face. Davis, who scored 14 points in his last two games, says he's back to normal. (6)|
|The Boilermakers haven't been the same team without top player Robbie Hummel, who has missed the last two games because of lingering back problems. Purdue lost both of those games but could get back on track this week against Penn State and Iowa. (4)|
|It seemed easy to write off the Badgers after six straight losses. Five of those defeats, however, came by four points or less. Bo Ryan's team is back on the winning track after defeating Penn State and Illinois. A home victory over Ohio State on Saturday could revive the Badgers' NCAA tournament hopes. (9)|
|Even though they've lost four of their last five, the Wolverines took a major step in the right direction in Saturday's 69-61 loss at No. 1 Connecticut. Michigan was hardly intimidated by the physicality of the Huskies, which should please their fans as John Beilein rebuilds the program. (8)|
|8.||Penn State |
|Inspiring as the Nittany Lions have been, their fortunes are about to take a turn for the worse. Three of their next four games are against ranked teams – and they're all on the road. A victory at Purdue on Wednesday would be huge for the NCAA tournament resume. (3)|
|Saturday's loss at Iowa stung, but don't for a minute think the Wildcats can't win either of their next two home games (against Illinois and Michigan). Craig Moore is averaging a team-high 15.3 points per game. Northwestern's victory over Michigan State keeps them ahead of Iowa in the rankings. (7)|
|The Hawkeyes might have lost to Indiana, but they'd probably be favored in a rematch – especially if the Hoosiers were without Devan Dumes. The Indiana loss could've been a confidence-killer, but Iowa rebounded nicely with a win over Northwestern. (10)|
|Tom Crean did the right thing by suspending Dumes for throwing three elbows against Michigan State last week, but the move might have cost the Hoosiers a victory at Minnesota on Tuesday. Only four Indiana players scored field goals in the 62-54 loss, and the Hoosiers committed 26 turnovers. (11)|