BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS

 

Marcus Fuller’s rankings, with five teams to watch:

 

1. Purdue (21-5, 10-3)

Seed watch: The Boilermakers currently have the best shot at being one of the top 16 seeds in the NCAA tournament if they win the league title. They beat Notre Dame and played Villanova tough in nonconference play, but the selection committee has little respect for the Big Ten.

 

2. Maryland (22-4, 10-3)

3. Wisconsin (21-5, 10-3)

Key injury: The Badgers really couldn’t afford to lose senior guard Bronson Koenig, who is their best ballhandler and clutch performer. The result was a second consecutive loss Thursday against Michigan. Koenig’s return is critical for Saturday’s home game against Maryland.

 

4. Minnesota (19-7, 7-6)

5. Northwestern (19-7, 8-5)

Locking up: Some NCAA tournament projectors say the Wildcats have their first ever bid locked up after upsetting Wisconsin this week in Madison. But Chris Collins’ team still has work to do, getting at least to nine Big Ten wins.

 

6. Michigan (17-9, 7-6)

Be like Dirk: Wolverines 610 German forward Moritz Wagner met his idol, Dirk Nowitzki, when the Dallas Mavericks played Wednesday at Detroit. Then Wagner had a Dirk-like performance with 21 points in the upset Thursday over Wisconsin.

 

7. Michigan State (16-10, 8-5)

8. Iowa (14-12, 6-7)

9. Ohio State (15-12, 5-9)

10. Indiana (15-12, 5-9)

Hot-seat talk: Indiana coach Tom Crean won his second Big Ten regular-season title last season, but five losses in the past six games has fans angry. Rumors about Crean’s job being in jeopardy grow by the day.

 

11. Penn State (14-13, 6-8)

12. Nebraska (11-14, 5-8)

13. Illinois (14-12, 4-9)

14. Rutgers (13-14, 2-12)