The Final Big Ten Men's Basketball Power Rankings of the Year: Can IU make a run?

#3 Purdue has separated themselves from the rest of the conference. This year's Big Ten Tournament could be chalked full of upsets and unpredictability, which would be fantastic.

Mar 6, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Trey Galloway (32) works around
Mar 6, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Trey Galloway (32) works around / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the last weekend of the basketball season.

This season has demonstrated that anything can happen. While the Big Ten is one of the toughest conferences in country to find road victories, it will be interesting to see what happens on the neutral court of the Target Center in Minneapolis. While the Boilermakers are the prohibitive favorite to win the tournament, don't count out Illinois, or even Nebraska.

One thing is for sure, this tournament is sure to be fun. Here are the final Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings heading into the last weekend of the regular season:

14. Michigan (8-22, 3-16)

Disaster doesn't seem like a strong enough word to describe what happened in Ann Arbor this winter. There could be an entire house cleaning of the basketball program after this season, including replacing the former Fab Five member.

13. Maryland (15-15, 7-12)

So, this season did not go as planned for the Terrapins. Many pundits had them finishing third in the Big Ten during the preseason. To say that Maryland did not live up to expectations is an understatement.

12. Rutgers (15-14, 7-11)

The Scarlet Knights showed some signs of life toward the end of the season. Sure, they lost five of their last six games. However, they were competitive and played hard. If they can find some perimeter offense, or any offense next season, Rutgers could improve.

11. Penn State (14-16, 8-11)

The Nittany Lions was arguably the most inconsistent team in the Big Ten this season. There was a three game winning streak, followed by a three game losing streak. Then they won two in a row and lost two in a row. Leading scorer Kanye Clary got dismissed from the team, and it was messy.

10. Minnesota (18-12, 9-10)

Head coach Ben Johnson has the Gophers moving in the right direction. Johnson led the Gophers to a winning record. It's hard to say how far they can go in the tournament, but a good showing could lead to an at-large bid.

9. Ohio State (18-12, 8-11)

The Buckeyes fired their head coach and starting winning. They are 4-1 with Jake Diebler at the helm and are one of the more dangerous teams in the tournament. They'll need to find some consistent perimeter shooting if they are going to make a deep run in the tournament.

8. Indiana (17-13, 9-10)

Speaking of teams that might make a run in the Big Ten Tournament, Indiana did not pack it in after a difficult season. Kel'el Ware and Mackenzie Mgbako are playing some of their best basketball this season. If they are at their peak along with Malik Reneau, they could pull an upset or two.

7. Michigan State (18-12, 10-9)

These are the Spartans teams that make runs in the Big Ten Tournament. No one is talking about them and they are sneaking around the chicken coop as Lee Corso would say. Tyson Walker is playing fantastic basketball. Not saying they will, but keep an eye on the Spartans.

6. Iowa (18-12, 10-9)

The math on the Hawkeyes is simple. If they can outscore their opponent, they can win. If not, they are home early.

5. Wisconsin (18-11, 10-8)

The Badgers might be the most dangerous team in the tournament. Their juniors and seniors are playing great basketball. Most important, they defend. Tournament basketball is about doing the little things right. Wisconsin doesn't foul, turn the basketball over, or play sloppy.

4. Northwestern (20-10, 11-8)

Speaking of teams that do the little things well, the Wildcats are another team that does the fundamentals well. The one thing that might keep Northwestern from going far in the tournament is scoring points. They don't have a prolific scorer outside of Boo Buie.

3. Nebraska (21-9, 11-8)

The Cornhuskers are one of the surprise teams in the Big Ten this season. Much like Northwestern and Wisconsin, they don't have any stars but they play the game the right way. They might not have the firepower or the homecourt to win, but they can pull an upset.

2. #12 Illinois (22-8, 13-6)

Can Illinois beat Purdue after losing to them twice in the regular season? They are healthy and playing well together. They haven't been stellar defensively but they can score. How do they neutralize Zach Edey?

1. #3 Purdue (27-3, 16-3)

While winning another Big Ten Tournament title would be fantastic, Purdue wants to erase the memory of their early exit from the NCAA Tournament in 2023-24. Look out for the Boilermakers to play like a team on a mission in Minnesota.