It's now March and that means we're rapidly approaching the finish line of the regular season as the Big Ten Tournament starts two weeks from today. While teams are jockeying for postion in the Big Ten standings looking to get that first round bye -- can you believe that Michigan would have to play on the first Friday right now? -- they're also moving around in our Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings. Though there are no first round byes available here.
Team (Points, Last Week) -- This Week's Games
1. INDIANA (134, 1) -- 3/2 vs. Iowa, 3/5 vs Ohio State
2. MICHIGAN STATE (117, 3) -- 3/3 at Michigan, 3/7 vs Wisconsin
3. MICHIGAN (116, 2) -- 3/3 vs Michigan State, 3/6 at Purdue
4. OHIO STATE (105, 4) -- 3/5 at Indiana
5. WISCONSIN (104, 5) -- 3/3 vs Purdue, 3/7 at Michigan State
6. IOWA (90, 7) -- 3/2 at Indiana, 3/5 vs Illinois
7. MINNESOTA (86, 8) -- 3/2 vs Penn State, 3/6 at Nebraska
8. ILLINOIS (83, 6) -- 3/2 vs Nebraska, 3/5 at Iowa
9. NORTHWESTERN (53, 9) -- 3/7 vs Penn State
9. PURDUE (53, 10) -- 3/3 at Wisconsin, 3/6 vs Michigan
11. NEBRASKA (47, 10) -- 3/2 at Illinois, 3/6 vs Minnesota
12. PENN STATE (39, 12) -- 3/2 at Minnesota, 3/7 at Northwestern
The only true shakeup in the rankings this week is Michigan State leaping Michigan to take over the second spot and Illinois dropping a few spots. I think the Michigan State move speaks for itself as Michigan just lost to Penn Fucking State this week.
As for Illinois, it doesn't seem right for the Illini to fall this week, but there are reasons for it. The biggest reason being that by only playing one game last week and losing that game the Illini didn't really have a chance to gain new points. So even though Iowa began its week with a terrible loss to Nebraska the chance to rebound with a win over Purdue helped it pick up that slack.
As I've said before, Iowa beats Illinois in just about every statistical category, so when they have similar records the Hawkeyes will get that edge because of that statistical edge. With Minnesota it's just a byproduct of the Gophers having only one game this week as well but using that game to beat Indiana and get a boost from that.
When Iowa hits the road to face Indiana on Saturday and the Illini host Nebraska odds are they'll even out in the rankings, but the winner of next week's game in Iowa City will likely determine who is on top next Friday.
What is shocking to me and actually caused me to go through and double-check my math was the fact Iowa gained so many points this week despite that loss to Nebraska, but it checked out.
Team (Points Gained/Lost)
1. WISCONSIN (9)
2. MINNESOTA (5)
3. IOWA (4)
3. PURDUE (4)
5. PENN STATE (2)
6. INDIANA (1)
7. MICHIGAN STATE (0)
7. OHIO STATE (0)
9. NEBRASKA (-2)
10. ILLINOIS (-4)
11. MICHIGAN (-7)
12. NORTHWESTERN (-10)
Last week's rankings can be found here.
Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.