Big Ten Power Rankings: Can the Hoosiers make a run in the stretch run of the season?

Indiana showed grit, toughness, and resilience in their comeback win against Ohio State. Is that enough to propel the Hoosiers to significant wins down the stretch?

Indiana v Ohio State
Indiana v Ohio State / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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Big Ten Power Rankings
Feb 6, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo reacts during / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8-5

8. Michigan State Spartans 14-9 (6-6)

Congrats to Tom Izzo for picking up win number 700. The Spartans are playing better basketball, but it could be a little too late. Their three-point loss to Minnesota hurt, especially since their next opponent is a fully loaded Illinois squad. However, the schedule is favorable with Iowa, Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State after the Illini.

7. Indiana Hoosiers 14-9 (6-6)

It's hard not to love and be frustrated with the Hoosiers this year. Such is the way of relying on young and new players to carry the offensive and defensive load. It was predicted the Hoosiers have an up and down season, and they are doing precisely what they were expected to do. That said, Indiana can still make a run late in the year and in the Big Ten tourney to get an NCAA bid. If they can make a run, that is.

6. Nebraska Cornhuskers 16-8 (6-7)

Nebraska is a serious basketball school for the first time since, well, ever. They've had spurts where they were decent, but now it seems that head coach Fred Hoiberg has the program moving in the right direction and is headed toward sustainability. The 'Huskers have dropped a couple in a row but have some winnable games over the next few weeks.

5. Northwestern Wildcats 16-7 (7-5)

If Chris Collins' isn't on the short list for open jobs next season, there are some ADs who might need to get fired. What he's done in Evanston cannot be understated. This is all you need to know about what he's done. He has Northwestern's only two NCAA tournament appearances and three of its five 20-win seasons. They are poised for another run at March Madness this season.

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No. 4-1

4. Minnesota Golden Gophers 15-7 (6-5)

The Golden Gophers are one of the most improved -- if not the most improved -- team in the Big Ten. Its 15 wins are the most since 2019-20 and they are on the fringe of making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018-19. The Gophers are packed in a group of teams with six conference wins. Minnesota has an opportunity to make a move late in the year. They need to get their wins back against Indiana, Ohio State, and Iowa. Also, they need to take care of business against Ohio State and Rutgers.

3. #10 Illinois Fighting Illini 17-5 (8-3)

The Illini are at full strength with Terrance Shannon in the lineup and everyone healthy. They might be the team no one wants to play come conference tournament. Illinois has three of its next four on the road, but none of those offenses put a scare in anyone. However, Brad Underwood's squad needs to close games better than it did against Nebraska.

2. #11 Wisconsin Badgers 16-7 (8-4)

The Badgers have had a tough stretch the last week. In addition to falling short against #2 Purdue, Wisconsin squandered a 19-point lead against Nebraska and let Purdue beat them twice when they were flatter than week-old soda against Michigan. One issue is they've become infatuated with the three-pointer. They've averaged 23 three-point attempts over this three-game losing streak. The issue is they are only making 26 percent of them.

1. #2 Purdue Boilermakers 21-2 (10-2)

It's not hyperbole to ask, "Can anyone stop Purdue?" Center Zach Edey looks more dominant than he did last year. He's doing an even better job passing out of the double team than last season. This is a team on a mission, and they are playing like it.