By Chris Emma-
(CBS) Perhaps Northwestern coach Chris Collins described Wisconsin perfectly.READ MORE: Two Chicago Police Officers Shot Near Gas Station In West Suburban Lyons
“They’re a bunch of old guys that have a chance to win a national championship,” Collins said after the Wildcats’ dropped their ninth straight game on Saturday, to the Badgers.
Wisconsin is in its own world, rolling through the Big Ten slate with relative ease. Its one slip came at Rutgers, with Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Frank Kaminsky injured on the bench. The Badgers are the conference’s best, and there’s no disputing it.
Meanwhile, Northwestern is buried in the basement, mired in a miserable stretch of this rebuild. If the Wildcats are given 10 games with the Badgers, maybe they win one. But the same can be said for most teams in the Big Ten, simply no match for Bo Ryan’s club. From Kaminsky to Sam Dekker to Bronson Koenig and a lineup loaded for another Final Four run, the Badgers are too much for the Big Ten field.
Let’s take a look at this week’s power rankings.
1.) Wisconsin (21-2, 9-1) — It’s hard to see the Badgers getting tripped up the rest of the way. And they’ll get a boost once Traevon Jackson returns.
2.) Ohio State (18-6, 7-4) — A triple-double from D’Angelo Russell gave the Buckeyes a big win at Rutgers, but nothing from the freshman guard should surprise.
3.) Iowa(15-8, 6-4) — Two blowout wins for the Hawkeyes have them rising up in the standings. The drubbing of Maryland was especially impressive.
4.) Maryland (19-5, 7-4) — The Terrapins continue to struggle on the road, which could be a byproduct of discomfort in traveling long distances to unfamiliar territories.
5.) Purdue (15-9, 7-4) — An impressive win over Ohio State gave the Boilermakers some more confidence, but falling to Minnesota was a step back.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Cool Changes
6.) Indiana (17-7, 7-4) — While the Hoosiers haven’t been overly impressive, they still sit in a second-place tie in the Big Ten standings. Let that speak to a down year for the conference.
7.) Illinois (16-8, 6-5) — Even without Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby, the Fighting Illini have a winning streak going. Suddenly, this is looking like a tournament team. Getting Rice back will make it even better.
8.) Michigan State (15-8, 6-4) — With a week to prepare, Tom Izzo’s team laid an egg at home against Illinois, shooting under 40 percent and dropping a tough one. Red flags follow the green and white.
9.) Michigan (13-11, 6-6) — No Caris LeVert or Derrick Walton Jr. has led to little offense for the Wolverines. John Beilein is a great coach, but there’s not much he can do with this team.
10.) Minnesota (15-9, 4-7) — Slowly but surely, the Golden Gophers are climbing out of the large hole they fell into. But road games at Iowa and Indiana this week will be brutal.
11.) Nebraska (13-10, 5-6) — At this pace, the Cornhuskers may not even make the NIT. Without Terran Petteway, where would they be?
12.) Penn State (15-9, 3-8) — Suddenly, the Nittany Lions are winning with defense, as evidenced by holding Nebraska to just 15 field goals on Saturday.
13.) Rutgers (10-15, 2-10) — Year one in the Big Ten just hasn’t brought much success for the Scarlet Knights.
14.) Northwestern (10-13, 1-9) — Chris Collins knows what he was getting into with Northwestern, but that doesn’t make the losses any easier to take.MORE NEWS: North Side Condo Building Residents Alarmed By Mail Thefts Apparently Committed Using A Master Key
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.