My Big Ten Power Rankings are fifty percent record, fifty percent momentum. Hence, power. In parentheses are the teams’ overall record, Big Ten record, and streak.
1. Purdue (15-3; 5-0; W8) - The Boilermakers have taken the Big Ten by storm thus far. They’ve achieved a 5-0 record without a star player, too; they’ve done it by allowing 52.6 points per game, first in the conference by four points. The question is, can the tenth-best scoring offense in the Big Ten keep up such a strong record?
2. Ohio State (17-1; 4-1; W2) - After sweeping a pretty difficult non-conference schedule, it seemed like the Buckeyes were the class of the Big Ten, but then they lost to unranked Michigan on the road. Still, they lead the Big Ten in scoring and have two of the conference’s four best scorers in Talyer Hill (21.4 PPG; 1st) and Samantha Prahalis (18.2; 4th).
3. Nebraska (15-2; 4-1; L1) - They were cruising until the Lady Lions crushed them on their home turf on Sunday. Like Ohio State, they’re a proficient scoring team with two of the Big Ten’s best six scorers. Their game on Thursday against Ohio State will be a good measuring stick.
4. Penn State (13-4; 3-2; W2) - The Lady Lions were struggling to tread water last week when they were 1-2 in the conference. That all changed when they beat Michigan and Nebraska last week.
5. Michigan (13-4; 3-2; W1) - The Wolverines get the edge over Michigan State because of their win against Ohio State, who was undefeated at the time. They also have the second-best defense in the Big Ten and have played a tougher schedule than the Spartans.
6. Michigan State (12-6; 4-1; L1) - They’ve lost to some pretty weak teams (Villanova and Pittsburgh, for instance), and have been maddeningly inconsistent all year. Don’t expect them to finish in the Big Ten’s top five; two of their four conference wins have come against lightweight Indiana.
7. Northwestern (12-6; 2-3; W1) - The Wildcats have come out of absolutely nowhere to an impressive 12-6 record and No. 47 ranking in RPI by being an excellent rebounding team.
8. Minnesota (10-9; 2-3; L2) - From this point on, the conference just isn’t very good. Minnesota hasn’t defeated a ranked team all season and has been stifled in their last two games by Michigan and Purdue.
9. Iowa (10-8; 2-3; L2) - Yikes, what a disappointing year for the Hawkeyes. They’ve lost to such welterweights as UNLV and Bradley, and star Jamie Printy (17.7 PPG) hasn’t been able to carry the weight.
10. Wisconsin (5-12; 1-4; L1) - To the credit of the Badgers, all four of their Big Ten losses have been against ranked teams. With their next three games against Iowa, Northwestern, and Minnesota, they have a chance to earn some respect.
11. Illinois (6-12; 0-5; L5) - Here’s quite the stat for you - the Fighting Illini have averaged 931 fans per home game this season.
12. Indiana (6-12; 0-5; L5) - They have not defeated a team in a major conference all season (0-8 in that category), and have lost their games by an average of 7.4 points.