Big Ten Power Rankings: The Top Four Seeds are Still up for Grabs

This week in the Big Ten Power Rankings: #2 Ohio State, #6 Iowa and #14 Indiana are separated by two games in the standings with two weeks left in the regular season. Ohio State owns all the tie breakers. Can the Hawkeyes or the Hoosiers lock up the second seed?

Feb 22, 2024; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Sara Scalia (14) pushes past Iowa.
Feb 22, 2024; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Sara Scalia (14) pushes past Iowa. / Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

It's Not Lonely at the Top

As the regular season winds down and teams gear up for the Big Ten Tournament, there is a log jam at the top of the conference. There are five teams vying for the top four seeds in the tournament. Teams want those seeds for the double bye that come with them. While Ohio State has likely wrapped up the one seed, Iowa and Indiana are duking it out for the second seed.

A lot can happen this week. Here are the Big Ten Women's Basketball Power Rankings for the last week of February:

1. #2 Ohio State (24-3, 15-1)

The Buckeyes are running roughshod through the Big Ten, winning 12 straight games since losing to Michigan. Ironically enough, they can get that win back Wednesday night against the Wolverines. Ohio State has been an unexpected surprise. Can they win the regular season and conference tournament titles?

2. #14 Indiana (23-4, 14-3)

The Hoosiers got their win back against Iowa and put themselves in position for one of the top four seeds in the tournament. The question is just how far they can go. That is a question not just in the Big Ten Tournament but also in the NCAA Tournament.

3. #6 Iowa (24-4, 13-3)

Is there a formula for defeating the Hawkeyes? Yes, yes there is. However, executing the gameplan is easier said than done. When Caitlin Clark is inefficient shooting and dominating the basketball, Iowa is beatable. However, Iowa's ability to move the ball, and Clark's ability to move without the ball make that difficult to do.

4. Nebraska (19-9, 11-6)

The Cornhuskers have to stave off Michigan State to keep hold of the four seed and the coveted double bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The mitigating factor in all of this is Illinois. The Illini play both Nebraska and Michigan State. Nebraska ends the season in Champaign in what could be a pivotal matchup for the 'Huskers.

5. Michigan State (20-7, 10-6)

In addition to Illinois, the Spartans also have to travel to Madison and play the Badgers to close its season. Road games are never easy but if Michigan State wants an opportunity at the double bye, they need to close our their season winning both games.

6. Michigan (17-11, 8-8)

The Wolverines are in an interesting position. They are in the middle of the Big Ten standings and on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament. They have one signature win, against Ohio State. However, that wasn't the same Ohio State team that's playing now. If they want an at large berth, they likely have to make a run in the Big Ten Tournament.

7. Maryland (16-11, 8-8)

The Terrapins are in a similar situation as the Wolverines with one exception. They lack a signature win. It is hard to say if they can make a deep run in the conference tournament. However, Shyanne Sellars gives them a punchers chance against any team in the conference when she gets hot.

8. Illinois (13-13, 7-9)

Illinois is playing better basketball toward the end of the season. If they want any shot at the NCAA Tournament, they'll have to win the Big Ten Tournament for the auto-bid. That's unlikely, but they are dangerous enough to play spoiler. That might start with their last two games against MIchigan State and Nebraska to close the season.

9. Wisconsin (13-13, 6-10)

The Badgers, led by sensational sophomores Serah Williams and Ronnie Porter are showing signs of improvement. If Wisconsin can win one of their last two games, they'll match the most wins they've had in over a decade.

10. Penn State (16-11, 7-9)

The Lady Lions continue to plummet, losing their sixth consecutive game against #2 Ohio State. They've fallen and fallen hard. It's understandable to lose to Iowa and Ohio State, but Penn State suffered bad losses against Illinois and Wisconsin. They were ranked during the non-conference. Now they look like a one and done squad in the tournament.

11. Purdue (12-15, 5-11)

The Boilermakers have shown signs of life the last four games, going 2-2. They gave Michigan State fits in a losing effort and picked up wins against Northwestern and Wisconsin. They are likely an early exit in the Big Ten Tournament, but their freshmen are playing better basketball.

12. Minnesota (15-12, 5-11)

The Gophers suffered one of the bad beats of the season with the loss of leading scorer Mara Braun. They picked up a win against Northwestern but suffered back to back losses against Wisconsin and Nebraska. It's going to be hard to find a win with Iowa and Penn State to end the season

13. Northwestern (8-20, 3-14)

The Wildcats have shown heart and fight all season. They don't have the players to compete consistently against the Big Ten's best. Cailegh Walsh and Melannie Day have been tremendous, mostly in losing efforts, however.

14. Rutgers (8-22, 2-15)

Despite the woes of this season. Vivian Stringer proved you can win at Rutgers. The program has some rebuilding to do, and second-year head coach Coquese Washington knew that when she took the job. Washington does have some pieces to build around. Junior Destiny Adams and sophomore Kaylene Smikle are pieces you can build around.

NEXT. Indiana Basketbal. Five Best Big Ten Women's Players of the last Five Years. light