The other six finalists are Atlanta, Indianapolis, North Texas, San Antonio, Phoenix/Glendale and St. Louis.
• Virginia’s BPI (ESPN’s version of weighted rankings) hasn’t been anything special for most of the winter — falling to as low as No. 55. But after winning six of seven games against ACC teams in January, the Cavaliers had the best BPI for the month, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They’ve bumped all the way up to No. 20.
Big Ten power poll
1. Michigan: The last unbeaten team in Big Ten play isn’t who we expected it might be a month ago. The Wolverines have improved mighty quickly.
2. Michigan State: The victory over Iowa wasn’t pretty, but the Spartans possess a special ability to prevail amid all kinds of adversity.
3. Iowa: The Hawkeyes still struggle to challenge the very elite, but their fifth-ranked offense certainly makes them a threat.
4. Minnesota: The Gophers are only 4-4, but two wins over ranked teams look pretty good.
5. Northwestern: A team no one thought would do anything has sprung surprises — capped by a win at Wisconsin on Wednesday — by playing solid defense.
6. Wisconsin: Allowing 43 second-half points to the worst offensive team in the league (Northwestern) at one of the toughest places to play (Kohl Center) makes no sense. But then, nothing in the Big Ten makes sense this year.
7. Nebraska: We can officially say the Huskers are taking another step. It’s a small step, but they’re nothing close to a surefire basement dweller anymore.
8. Indiana: The Hoosiers, like so many young teams, don’t know how to handle success yet — falling at Nebraska after beating Illinois.
9. Purdue: The Boilermakers need A.J. Hammons to show up every night, not just from time to time.
10. Penn State: Count the Nittany Lions the latest to beat a ranked team after stunning Ohio State in Columbus.
11. Ohio State: Go ahead, argue with me. Right now, the Buckeyes don’t deserve to be any higher.
12. Illinois: Twelfth in the league is a bad place to be, but the league’s craziness means everything could change for the Illini in a week.