Big Ten power rankings Feb. 20

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 six WIUX Sports personalities: 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 (5), (24-2, 12-1), Average: 1 High/Low: 1/1

What They’re Saying: “The Badgers kept on rolling this week as they took down the Illinois and the Penn State to extend their winning streak to nine. In fact, Wisconsin has not lost in more than a month. Frank Kaminsky is playing like an All American and Player of the Year candidate averaging 17.5 points per game and hauling in 8.4 boards per contest. Wisconsin has a tough week ahead of them with a rivalry game against Minnesota and a trip to College Park to take on the second place Maryland Terrapins.” – Bobby Norell

2. Maryland Terrapins (22-5, 10-4) Average: 2, High/Low: 2/2

What They’re Saying: “The Terrapins have had their weak points with blowout losses to IU, Ohio State and Iowa, but have hung around as a viable No. 2 in the conference. With an impending matchup with Wisconsin, what Maryland really needs is a victory to prove the Big Ten in more than the one-trick pony it has been all season,”  – Tori Ziege

3. Purdue Boilermakers (18-9, 10-4), Average: 3, High/Low: 3/3

What They’re Saying: “It’s hard to believe that a team tied for second place in the Big Ten is a bubble team, but Purdue is. The Boilermakers might have played themselves out of that bubble Thursday night as they  took down the Hoosiers here in Bloomington. They are led by forward A.J. Hammons, who is playing like a first team All-Big Ten candidate. During his last six games, Hammons is averaging 13 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game, not to mention the presence he brings to the defensive end. Purdue will take on Rutgers and Ohio State this coming week. With the way the Boilermakers are playing, they could be a scary team come Big Ten tournament time.” – Bobby Norell

4. Michigan State Spartans (18-8, 9-4), Average: 4.2, High/Low: 4/5

What They’re Saying: “Are we really surprised? Tom Izzo is doing what he does best, and the Spartans have found their stride just in time for tournament play. Though it was a funny coincidence that Denzel Valentine made the game-winning shot on Valentine’s Day against Ohio State, this team is no joke.”  – Tori Ziege

5. Ohio State Buckeyes (19-7, 8-5), Average: 4.8, High/Low: 4/5

What They’re Saying: “The loss at Michigan State means the Buckeyes still don’t have a quality road win the season. I guess you could count the overtime victory at Minnesota, but that was when the Golden Gophers were struggling, and it still took overtime. Luckily only two road games remain for Ohio State, including one this weekend at arch-rival Michigan. It wouldn’t be the signature road win the Buckeyes were looking for, but it would definitely be a great confidence booster.” – Quinn Saturday

6. Indiana Hoosiers (18-9, 8-6)Average: 6.4, High/Low: 6/7

What They’re Saying: “IU gave up 40 points in the paint and was out-rebounded by 17 in a four-point loss to Purdue. If you didn’t know the Hoosiers kryptonite before, then you sure do now.  IU’s lack of size is a killer on defense, and when the 3-pointer isn’t falling like it wasn’t against Purdue, (5 for 16), this young team struggles to win ball games.  Although the Hoosiers’ next two games are against Rutgers and Northwestern, who are both sitting at the bottom of the Big Ten, they are on the road,a place where IU has seemed like a completely different team at times.  With just four games left until the Big Ten Tournament, IU has the potential to go 4-0. But if it’s not careful, that record could be flipped the other way around.” – David Sugarman

7. Illinois Fighting Illini (17-9, 7-6), Average: 6.6, High/Low: 6/7 

What They’re Saying: “Illinois failed to build on the momentum of its comeback victory against Michigan, falling by 19 at Wisconsin. The Illini host a Michigan State team seeking revenge after Illinois beat them in East Lansing on Feb. 7. A season sweep of Michigan State would be a huge boost to a team very much on the bubble. Rayvonte Rice has yet to find his stroke since returning from injury, but he is too talented to struggle much longer. When he returns to form, Illinois will be tough to beat.” – Levi Snow

8. Iowa Hawkeyes (16-10, 7-6), Average: 8.4, High/Low: 8/9

What They’re Saying: “Coming into this week, Iowa was 6-4 in conference play with a favorable schedule ahead.  Fast forward through a loss at home to Minnesota and at Northwestern, who was in the midst of a 10 game losing streak, and the Hawkeyes find themselves having done little work in the conference standings.  The good news is after their 81-47 clobbering of Rutgers for a bounce back win, they’re still only one win behind Illinois and Indiana, both of whom they still have matchups with.” – David Sugarman

9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (16-11, 5-9), Average: 9, High/Low: 8/10

What They’re Saying: ” After its disappointing and unexpected 0-5 start to conference play, it looked like Minnesota had begun to turn things around.  A five-point win at Iowa had them on a three-game win streak and up to a respectable 5-7 in league play.  Unfortunately, the Gophers followed that performance up with a 19-point loss at Indiana and a loss to Northwestern at home.  The Gophers’ upcoming schedule is brutally unforgiving with games at Wisconsin and Michigan State and then home for Wisconsin again. If they go winless in that stretch, they can kiss their tourney hopes goodbye.”  – David Sugarman

10. Michigan (13-13, 6-8), Average:  10.2, High/Low: 8/12 

What They’re Saying: “At this point the Wolverines are playing for the NIT, but even that may be a reach, considering they might not finish above .500.” – Andrew Vailliencourt

11. Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-13, 5-9), Average: 10.6, High/Low: 10/11

What They’re Saying: “The Cornhuskers have now lost four in a row and six of seven, and it doesn’t get any easier from here on out. The schedule has not done Nebraska any favors, but this team is just overall a disappointment. Terran Petteway has struggled in his past few games, most recently a 2-of-14 performance in a four-point loss at Maryland. If this team was a little more consistent, it would have a few more wins.” – Levi Snow

T-12. Penn State Nittany Lions (15-12, 3-11), Average: 12.4, High/Low: 12/13

What They’re Saying: “While the Nittany Lions have lost five of their last six games, it’s worth noting that four of those losses have come against top 25 teams. If you look even closer, with the exception of a 20 point loss at Ohio State, the other four losses have been by single digits which include close defeats to Wisconsin and Maryland twice. Penn State should rebound with games at Northwestern and home against Iowa coming up.” – Quinn Saturday

T-12. Northwestern Wildcats (12-14, 3-10), Average: 12.4, High/Low: 11/13

What They’re Saying: “After losing 10 in a row, four by five or less points plus an overtime defeat, it was just a matter of time before Northwestern finally broke through.  A gritty overtime win against Iowa followed up by a gritty win on the road against Minnesota, the Wildcats might be building a little bit of confidence headed into the Big Ten tournament.” – David Sugarman

14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-17, 2-12), Average: 14, High/Low: 14/14

What They’re Saying: “Is there anything to say? They stink. Like garbage, but worse.” – Andrew Vailliencourt