By Chris Emma-
(CBS) Three weeks, three straight Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for D’Angelo Russell. Let’s just start handing the Ohio State guard awards — it’s not too early.READ MORE: Chicago Police Officer Released From Hospital After Being Shot In Shopping Center Parking Lot At North And Sheffield Avenues
Russell is averaging 19.4 points per game on 47.7 percent shooting, but you have to see it to appreciate it. He has quick feet and great instincts that have left many defenders fooled this season. With his help, the Buckeyes are rising up in the Big Ten.
Let’s take a look at this week’s power rankings.
1.) Wisconsin (19-2, 7-1) — It’s amazing to think this Badgers team lost to Rutgers. Frank Kaminsky continues his pace as Big Ten Player of the Year while leading Wisconsin to another stellar season.
2.) Ohio State (17-5, 6-3) — An impressive victory over Maryland puts the Buckeyes in the second spot in these power rankings. It was quite a statement for this improving team.
3.) Maryland (18-4, 6-3) — With Melo Trimble enduring a funk, the Terps haven’t been quite the same team.
4.) Michigan State (15-7, 6-3) — Oddly enough, the Spartans are behind on the annual Tom Izzo track to the tournament.
5.) Purdue (14-8, 6-3) — How exactly did the Boilermakers lose to North Florida and Gardner-Webb? If they reach the tournament, that will be something to laugh about. For now, it’s an uphill battle.
6.) Indiana (16-6, 6-3) — Right as it seemed like Tom Crean’s team was on the rise, it was throttled by Purdue, then struggled with Rutgers in Bloomington.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Pleasant Parade Weather Tuesday
7.) Michigan (13-9, 6-4) — Even without Caris LeVert, the Wolverines are playing good basketball. John Beilein has done terrific work in getting growth from his team.
8.) Iowa (13-8, 4-4) — The Hawkeyes are trending down after a brutal week. Up next? Games with Michigan and Maryland.
9.) Illinois (14-8, 4-5) — Quietly, the Fighting Illini are creeping up to tournament contention. But suspensions to Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby have things uncertain in Champaign.
10.) Nebraska (12-9, 4-5) — The Cornhuskers look nothing like the tournament team of last year. It will take a fantastic February to get back in the hunt.
11.) Minnesota (14-9, 3-7) — There’s so much talent for Richard Pitino’s squad, but the early hole dug in Big Ten play will be difficult to climb out of.
12.) Northwestern (10-11, 1-7) — A week off didn’t lead the Wildcats to a win over Purdue, but this is still a tough team to face. The close calls haven’t been a fluke; NU can compete.
13.) Penn State (14-8, 2-7) — The Nittany Lions fight like crazy for coach Pat Chambers, while D.J. Newbill, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, is so tough to contain.
14.) Rutgers (10-13, 2-8) — A win over Indiana in Bloomington would have been one to remember, but it turned into another loss for the Scarlet Knights.MORE NEWS: More Than A Third Of CPD Staff Missed Vaccine Reporting Deadline; City Could Begin Placing Employees On 'No Pay' Status Today
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.