Big Ten basketball power rankings Jan. 31

Welcome to Big Ten basketball power rankings! We’ll be posting new weekly rankings until the end of conference play. This week, our rankings are made up of seven WIUX Sports personalities: Adam Cohen (@adamcohenIU), Bobby Norell (@RENorell_III), Quinn Saturday (@QTipsforSports), Levi Snow (snowman2469), David Sugarman (Dshug24), Andrew Vailliencourt (@AndrewVcourt) and Tori Ziege (@ToriZiege).

Team Name, First Place Votes, Record, Average, High/Low

1. Wisconsin Badgers (7), (18-2, 6-1), Average: 1 High/Low: 1/1

What They’re Saying: “Unless Wisconsin completely falls apart, I don’t see it letting go of this No. 1 spot for the rest of the season. The Badgers aren’t just one of the better teams in the Big Ten, they are one of the better teams in the country. Wisconsin managed to come up with a good road win this past week by winning in Ann Arbor. But the Badgers have a pretty tough week ahead of them, as they will have to go on the road to face an Iowa team that they just destroyed. I would imagine that the Hawkeyes would be for revenge with their home crowd behind them. Wisconsin will also have to take on a very talented Indiana team at home, but the Badgers play very well at the Kohl Center, and the Hoosiers have shown to be a different team away from Assembly Hall.” — Bobby Norell

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (17-5, 6-3), Average: 2.16, High/Low: 2/3

What They’re Saying: “Since losing to Iowa for the second time this season, Ohio State has won three straight including back-to-back convincing wins against top 25 teams in Indiana and Maryland. Star freshman D’Angelo Russell has gone for 20 or more in four out of the last five games including a 33-point performance at Northwestern.  It’s not a one man show either.  Jae’Sean Tate, Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson and Marc Loving have all been making major contributions. It seems Thad Matta’s club may be hitting its stride.” — David Sugarman

3. Maryland Terrapins (18-4, 6-3) Average: 3.33, High/Low: 2/5 

What They’re Saying: “Well after two blowouts and a one-point win against Northwestern, Maryland doesn’t look quite as formidable as it once did. However, this team certainly isn’t done and will still be a contender for the conference championship come March. But it better get things straightened out.” — Andrew Vailliencourt

4. Indiana Hoosiers (15-6, 5-3)Average: 4.16, High/Low: 3/6

What They’re Saying: “After a great week of thumping Maryland and beating Illinois on the road, the Hoosiers took a few steps back this week with two double-digit losses to Ohio State and Purdue. Both games were on the road, but I expected the Hoosiers to take a step forward this week by picking up at least one road win. At Ohio State, IU turned the ball over 15 times, and at Purdue, it shot only 37 percent. The Hoosiers have a chance to move up in the rankings next week if they can get a win at home against Rutgers and pull off an upset at Wisconsin. That’s a big if.” — Bobby Norell

T-5. Michigan State Spartans (14-7, 5-3), Average: 5.33, High/Low: 3/7

What They’re Saying: “It’s weird to say this, but Tom Izzo’s squad is a bubble team. The reliably excellent Spartans just haven’t clicked much this year and will have to fight down the stretch to make the field of 68. They can take a huge step in the right direction by beating the visiting Wolverines this weekend. The bracket wouldn’t be the same without Michigan State, so here’s to hoping it can hang on to an at-large bid.” — Quinn Saturday

T-5. Michigan 13-8, 6-3), Average:  5.33, High/Low: 4/7

What They’re Saying: “You have to give credit when it is due. John Beilein has done a great job with a team starting guys nobody has heard of, while his two best players, Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton, sit on the bench with injuries. The Wolverines took Wisconsin to overtime  and handily beat Nebraska this past week. Who knows how long this can last, but if you can, watch the Wolverines battle the Spartans this weekend.” — Andrew Vailliencourt

7. Purdue Boilermakers (13-8, 5-3), Average: 6.83, High/Low: 6/8

What They’re Saying:

“With that out of the way, you have to give Purdue credit where credit is due. Matt Painter out-strategized Tom Crean, which is to say the Boilermakers played to their strengths (height, inside presence), and the Hoosiers forgot theirs (making the three). That makes back-to-back games in West Lafayette in which the Boilermakers have embarrassed their in-state rival. Make that two impressive wins for Purdue this week against Iowa and Indiana. But I expect a different outcome when the rivalry renews in Bloomington.” — Tori Ziege

8. Iowa Hawkeyes (13-7, 4-3), Average: 8, High/Low: 7/9

What They’re Saying: “Iowa has been a tough team to figure out. The Hawkeyes swept the season series against Ohio State, but perhaps they got a Buckeye team who’s playing well right now at the right time. Iowa didn’t give Wisconsin a fight and then in its loss to Purdue, its best player, Aaron White, got injured. If White is not 100 percent, then the Hawkeyes will have some difficulties.” — Adam Cohen

9.  Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-8, 4-4), Average: 9, High/Low: 8/10

What They’re Saying: “Nebraska seems to have regained its home court advantage that helped them so much last year. The Cornhuskers have won four in a row at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Still, they played really poorly at Michigan and need to prove they can compete on the road.” — Adam Cohen

10. Illinois Fighting Illini (13-8, 3-5), Average: 10, High/Low: 9/11 

What They’re Saying: “Bruno Mars must love Illinois Coach John Groce, because his orange suit is straight uptown-funky. If only the Illini could get out of their funk of being unable to win back-to-back games as of late. Then they’d be getting somewhere.” — Tori Ziege

11. Penn State Nittany Lions (14-7, 2-6), Average: 10.83, High/Low: 10/11

What They’re Saying: “The Nittany Lions finally won their first conference game and wasted no time winning their second as well. The team that almost beat IU again in Bloomington is very well-coached and will be a very dangerous matchup for any bubble team who is unlucky enough to face them in February. DJ Newbill won’t win Big Ten Player of the Year because he is on a team that won’t be making the tournament, but he may very well be one of the top three players in this conference and deserves more recognition.” — Quinn Saturday

12. Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-9, 2-7), Average: 12.16, High/Low: 12/13

What They’re Saying: “Poor Minnesota. Of the Golden Gophers’ seven Big Ten losses, six of them have come by five points of less. Who knows what happened to the 13-2 team in non-conference play, but the B1G has not favored Minnesota well with the worst of the schedule still to come. The best these not-so-Golden boys can hope to do now is to play bubble-buster. That is, if they can manage to win a close game.” — Tori Ziege

13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-12, 2-7), Average: 13.16, High/Low: 12/14

What They’re Saying: “This team is unwatchable. How on earth did this team beat Wisconsin? Expect IU to beat the Scarlet Knights handily at Assembly Hall on Saturday.” — Andrew Vailliencourt

14. Northwestern Wildcats (10-10, 1-6), Average: 13.66, High/Low: 13/14

What They’re Saying: “Fact: Northwestern is 1-6 in the Big Ten. Fact: They could just as easily be 6-1. Outside of getting thrashed by Wisconsin, the Wildcats have lost by an average of 3.4 points per game during their last five contests. That includes an overtime loss at Michigan State. The last three times out, Northwestern has lost by a combined five points, and it had Maryland on the ropes, leading for about 47 and a half minutes before blowing it in a way only Northwestern could. I’m not making excuses, because at the end of the day losses are losses whether they come by one or 100 points. Know this though: When your team plays Northwestern, it’ll be anything but easy” — David Sugarman