Each week World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the men's basketball Big Ten. Find out which team is in the top spot this week. National rankings from realtimerpi.com
1. Ohio State (20-3, 8-2, fourth)
This week: Purdue, Michigan State. Coach Thad Matta has his 12th straight 20-win season, eight as OSU's head coach. Only Gonzaga's Mark Few among active coaches has that many to start a career.
2. Michigan State (18-5, 7-3, sixth)
This week: Penn State, at Ohio State. Tom Izzo hit his own coaching milestone last week, earning his 400th victory at MSU. Only Bob Knight at Indiana, Gene Keady at Purdue and Lou Henson at Illinois hit that mark before.
3. Wisconsin (18-6, 7-4, 30th)
This week: at Minnesota. The Badgers love to fire the 3-point shot, but sometimes the 3-pointer doesn't love them back. They missed 14 in a row and 22 of 27 overall in a six-point loss to Ohio State.
4. Michigan (17-7, 7-4, 15th)
This week: at Nebraska, Illinois. The Wolverines come to Lincoln ranked in the Top 25 for the 14th straight week, at No. 22. But UM has just a 1-6 record in true road games.
5. Indiana (18-6, 6-6, 18th)
This week: Illinois. The Hoosiers outrebounded Purdue 53-35 in a 78-61 victory. That was their most rebounds in a league game in 11 years. Five players had at least six rebounds.
6. Illinois (16-7, 5-5, 46th)
This week: at Indiana, at Michigan. Nobody leaves Illinois games early. The Illini have played eight games in a row decided by five points or less, and 12 such games in all this season, tying the most in the nation.
7. Minnesota (17-7, 5-6, 48th)
This week: Wisconsin. The Gophers are hanging around on the NCAA tourney bubble despite having seven players who began the season with zero UM games played (five freshmen, two transfers).
8. Purdue (15-8, 5-5, 63rd)
This week: at Ohio State, Northwestern. For a guy who has undergone major knee surgery each of the past two years, Robbie Hummel is producing. He is sixth in the league both in scoring (15.2) and rebounding (6.2).
9. Northwestern (14-8, 4-6, 37th)
This week: Iowa, at Purdue. The Wildcats aren't giving up hope of a first NCAA trip yet. The RPI projections love them, and some slot them into the field of 68 even at 8-10 in Big Ten play.
10. Iowa (13-11, 5-6), 123rd)
This week: at Northwestern. Roy Devyn Marble, since moving to point guard earlier this season, has averaged a team-high 13.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
11. Nebraska (11-11, 3-8, 109th)
This week: Michigan, at Penn State. Out of the 17 major statistical categories the Big Ten tracks, the Huskers are in the top half of the conference in only two: first in free-throw shooting and fifth in 3-point defense.
12. Penn State (10-14, 2-9, 144th)
This week: at Michigan State, Nebraska. Junior guard Tim Frazier, despite heavy defensive attention from opponents, keeps scoring. Last week, he posted his league-best 11th and 12th 20-point games of the season.