Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings: Get Thee Behind Me, Northwestern

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Because what the hell is the point of playing a sport if you aren't going to rank the teams involved in order of their POWER?

The formula is funny sometimes. Last week the Illini found themselves falling from sixth to ninth following two losses to Wisconsin and Northwestern, but the loss that truly hurt was the Northwestern one. As a result the Wildcats moved ahead of the Illini and into eighth place.

Well, this week the Illini played only one game, a nice win over a bad Nebraska team. Northwestern played two games, including a loss against Indiana, but also an impressive win over Minnesota. Well, that win against Minnesota wasn't enough to keep the Wildcats ahead of the Illini this week.

However, that's the only change in the rankings this week from a position standpoint.

Team (Points, Last Week) -- This Week's Games

1. MICHIGAN 18-1, 5-1 (134, 1) -- 1/27 at Illinois, 1/30 vs Northwestern

2. INDIANA 17-2, 5-1 (127, 2) -- 1/27 vs Michigan State, 1/30 at Purdue

3. MICHIGAN STATE 17-3, 6-1 (113, 3) -- 1/27 at Indiana, 1/31 vs Illinois

4. OHIO STATE 14-4, 4-2 (104, 4) -- 1/26 at Penn State, 1/29 vs Wisconsin

5. MINNESOTA 15-4, 3-3 (100, 5) -- 1/26 at Wisconsin, 1/29 vs Nebraska

6. WISCONSIN 13-6, 4-2 (84, 6) -- 1/26 vs Minnesota, 1/29 at Ohio State

7. IOWA 13-6, 2-4 (78, 7) -- 1/27 at Purdue, 1/31 vs Penn State

8. ILLINOIS 14-5, 2-4 (73, 9) -- 1/27 vs Michigan, 1/31 at Michigan State

9. NORTHWESTERN 12-8, 3-4 (71, 8) -- 1/26 at Nebraska, 1/30 at Michigan

10. PURDUE 10-9, 3-3 (59, 10) -- 1/27 vs Iowa, 1/30 vs Indiana

11. NEBRASKA 10-10, 1-6 (48, 11) -- 1/26 vs Northwestern, 1/29 at Minnesota

12. PENN STATE 8-11, 0-7 (37, 12) -- 1/26 vs Ohio State, 1/31 at Iowa

Now, while the Illini and Northwestern are the only two schools to actually swap positions, there are a few noticeable changes when it comes to the total points.

Last week the top five teams all had at least 100 points. That doesn't change this week, however, the gap between Indiana and Michigan State last week was 18 points (124 to 106). This week that gap is down to 14 points, and while it's not a huge change between them, the difference is between Michigan State and Ohio State. That gap went from 1 point to 9.

Then there's the gap between the top five and everybody else. When Wisconsin was 4-0 in the Big Ten last week the Badgers were only 7 points behind Minnesota and the top five. After two losses to Iowa and Michigan State that gap has increased to 16 points, putting Wisconsin a lot closer to Iowa and Illinois than Minnesota. With games against Minnesota and Ohio State this week the Badgers can climb back up or fall further down.


Well this one is pretty obvious, isn't it? Start your Sunday morning with Indiana and Michigan State playing on CBS -- LOOK AT ME PLUGGIN -- with first place in the Big Ten on the line. I say that because we all know Illinois will beat Michigan later that day. What? Don't look at me like that. I'm serious. Okay, fine. Indiana's just playing for a first place tie.

Last week's power rankings can be found here.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

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