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Big Ten Power Rankings 2022-2023: Edition 3

Boo Buie, Northwestern
 * Records updated as of 2/16/2023

1. Purdue Boilermakers (23-4 overall, 12-4 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 1

Purdue has been out in front of the Big Ten race the entire way, but the last week has displayed some kinks in the Boilermaker armor. They've lost three of four, which has dropped them to 23-4 overall and 12-4 in the league. It's clear there's still things Purdue has to figure out before they hit the postseason, but it's not time to worry just yet in West Lafayette. The defeats to Indiana and Northwestern weren't exactly overwhelming; both were close losses to quality opponents on the road. The Maryland loss felt a little bit different, even though it was also on the road. Purdue had their worst offensive showing of the year and couldn't contain Jahmir Young, two results that aren't particularly encouraging as we head into the home stretch of the regular season. There's plenty of time to right the ship, with a favorable schedule remaining, but dropping off the No. 1 seed line seems like a real possibility at this point.

2. Northwestern Wildcats (19-7 overall, 10-5 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 7

Just as everybody expected, Northwestern is in sole possession of second place in the Big Ten with five games left to play on the regular season. The victories over Purdue this past weekend and Indiana earlier in the week essentially locked in the Wildcats for just their second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, assuming they're able to stick the landing. That win over the Boilermakers was a reminder of what makes this Northwestern team so dangerous; guards Boo Buie and Chase Audige were overwhelming offensively and they did a great job containing Purdue's freshmen backcourt the other way. They are likely to have the edge in backcourt play in every game they play the rest of the regular season, which should put them in great position to finish off strong.

3. Indiana Hoosiers (18-8 overall, 9-6 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 10

It's been a wild second season of the Mike Woodson era in Bloomington. The Hoosiers opened the season with legitimate Big Ten Title aspirations, but a three-game losing skid in early conference play quickly dashed those hopes. Instead of accepting a disappointing campaign, Indiana has responded in the face of adversity, winning eight of ten. Trayce Jackson-Davis in particular has been unstoppable, with double-doubles in six of his last seven contests. He should be a serious threat to unseat Zach Edey as not only the Big Ten Player of the Year frontrunner, but National Player of the Year. The supporting cast has also stepped up, with Jalen Hood-Schifino, Trey Galloway, and Miller Kopp playing some of their basketball of the season. Plus, there's still hope Xavier Johnson could return before March, as he's missed the last two months following foot surgery. 

4. Maryland Terrapins (18-8 overall, 9-6 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 11

Heading into the week, it appeared as though there was separation between the top three teams in these rankings and the rest. Then, Maryland went out and ran past Purdue, winning in front of their home crowd by 14 points. It was a statement victory for the Terrapins, and likely helped secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament. Kevin Willard has done a superb job in Year One in College Park, and I wouldn't count out the Terps down the stretch. This team is so much more than Jahmir Young, even if he is the focal point of the offense. Donta Scott and Julian Reese may be the most underrated forward duo in the country, and played a major role in this team overcoming Purdue on Thursday night.

5. Michigan State Spartans (16-9 overall, 8-6 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 5

This doesn't feel like a year where Tom Izzo's team is going to be creating magic in March, but the Spartans have proven to be a formidable foe who could play their way into the second weekend. The offense remains mediocre at best, led by Tyson Walker and Joey Hauser, but this is a tough defensive team with plenty of depth. It's huge that Malik Hall has returned and should be working his way back to 100 percent, as the senior forward is probably the team's best player when fully healthy.

6. Illinois Fighting Illini (17-8 overall, 8-6 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 3

You could essentially pick-and-choose with just about any team from spots 5 through 11 in these rankings, but I remain a believer in the Fighting Illini. Their two losses early on in Big Ten play, to Northwestern and Penn State, looked concerning at the time, but both of those teams have proven to be quality opponents. Since, Illinois has been playing much better basketball, although they do enter a difficult stretch of games with losses in two of their last three. The Illini may have the toughest remaining road schedule in the conference, as they go to Indiana, Ohio State, and Purdue.

7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (16-10 overall, 8-7 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 2

Oh, how quickly things can change in the Big Ten. At the time of my last power rankings, Rutgers was 5-2 in the league and were the only team to have beaten Purdue. Fast forward a month, and Rutgers has lost three straight and finds themselves reeling heading into a matchup with Wisconsin. The offense has struggled as of late, particularly the guards. Paul Mulcahy has always been streaky, but it feels like a complete mystery which version of him is going to come out every night, and Cam Spencer has cooled down. To make matters worse, the Scarlet Knights are going to be without glue guy Mawot Mag, as a knee injury will cost him the year. Fortunately, there's still time to figure it out, and the schedule the rest of the way isn't as treacherous as it has been lately.

8. Iowa Hawkeyes (17-9 overall, 9-6 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 8

If not for the sheer dominance of Zach Edey and Trayce Jackson-Davis, Kris Murray would be the Big Ten Player of the Year frontrunner and Iowa would have the third winner in four years (Luka Garza took home the award twice). Kris has been particularly lethal as of late, going for 28 against Minnesota and 24 against Purdue, likely to cement himself as First Team All-Big Ten. However, the rest of the Hawkeye supporting cast remains inconsistent, which is a concern as we hit the most important portion of the season. Filip Rebraca has been a revelation and Tony Perkins went off for 32 against Illinois, but it still feels like the Hawkeyes need one or two additional pieces to step up if they want to make a March run.

9. Wisconsin Badgers (15-10 overall, 7-8 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 4

There's been absolutely nothing pretty about Wisconsin basketball over the past month, but the win over Michigan earlier in the week kept them on track to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. The Badgers are hopeful it concludes a skid that saw them lose five of their past seven games. To be fair, there have been a lot of road tilts in that stretch, but the offense has been a truly atrocious watch. Even in the win over the Wolverines, the Badgers suffered through terrible shooting woes. In fact, they didn't score a single field goal over the last 10:45 of the game, but somehow managed to come out on top. This team needs to figure it out if they have any shot at making noise in March, but there's no reinforcements on the way.

10. Michigan Wolverines (14-12 overall, 8-7 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 6

A three-game win streak that appeared as though it could move Michigan on to the right side of the bubble has been erased by consecutive losses to Indiana and Wisconsin. The Wolverines aren't completely dead just yet, but they'll have to impress over their next five regular season games and likely have to do some damage in the Big Ten Tournament. Those two straight close defeats felt particularly painful, two more reminders that this team just hasn't been able to close out games this winter.

11. Penn State Nittany Lions (15-11 overall, 6-9 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 9

Four straight defeats put a damper on an otherwise super successful second season for Micah Shrewsberry in State College. The Nittany Lions have shown real growth this year and the offense was out in full force in the win over Illinois, with Jalen Pickett dropping 41 points. That four-game skid also has to be given some context; three of the four games were on the road, including games against Purdue and Maryland. The NCAA Tournament is pretty much out of the question at this point, but Penn State still has a viable shot at the NIT, which would make their first postseason trip since winning that tournament in 2018.

12. Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-14 overall, 6-10 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 12

The turnarounds at Northwestern and Penn State have been given ample attention in the league, and for good reason, but not enough is being said about the job Fred Hoiberg has done in Lincoln this winter. The 'Huskers have been more than just a pesky opponent; they've beaten some very good basketball teams and are poised for their most conference victories since 2017-2018, when they went 13-5 in the Big Ten. Lincoln native Sam Griesel has been a game-changing addition for the 'Huskers, but it's been Keisei Tominaga that has fueled the Nebraska offense as of late. In fact, he's been one of the best players in the country in the month of February, dropping 22 or more in four straight games. Coincidentally, Nebraska has done 3-1 in that stretch, including a win at Rutgers earlier this week.

13. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-15 overall, 3-12 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 13

Fortunately for Ohio State, spring football season is right around the corner! It's been a brutal season on the court for the Buckeyes, who have won one single game since beating Northwestern on New Year's Day. It's hard to take too many positives away from this lost season, but at the very least, the freshman backcourt duo of Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle Jr. has been impressive for their age, and Felix Okpara has shown flashes. Expect Chris Holtmann to be extremely active in the transfer portal over the offseason, as this most recent batch certainly did not pan out.

14. Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-16 overall, 1-12 Big Ten)

Previous Rank: 14

Purdue has been a constant at the top of the standings in the Big Ten, and Minnesota has been a constant at the bottom. It's been a truly brutal campaign in Minneapolis, but the hope is that the young talent continues to progress and the hyped recruiting class next year delivers. There's still a chance the Gophers could add a win or two with seven conference games remaining, all against unranked foes, but they desperately need Dawson Garcia back in action. Garcia has missed the past five games with an ankle injury, and there's some real worry that we may have seen the last of him in 2022-2023.

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