Men’s Basketball: Around the Big Ten
As Selection Sunday looms ever so closer, teams around the Big Ten are feeling the pressure of late season basketball. The elite do not need to prove their worth atop the conference, but avoid any missteps in their quest to the NCAA Tournament.
For each team, each week is crucial and every game is a must win. That can be said for the Purdue Boilermakers as they have two televised ESPN games this week against the Michigan teams.
The Michigan State game is at Purdue on Tuesday at 7 p.m., while the Boilermakers travel to Michigan for a 2 p.m. Sunday matchup. These games are important for Purdue in boosting their tournament resume and boosting its Big Ten record.
Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State all enter the week with 7-4 Big Ten record with Purdue being the team needing to win the most. Michigan and Michigan State have both beat an elite team in the Big Ten in Maryland.
Outside of Purdue and Michigan, Purdue has yet to beat a team that is in the top half of the conference standings. The Boilermakers need to win both games this week to validate their spot as one of the top teams in the Big Ten.
Purdue is not the only team in the state of Indiana that has something to prove, as the Hoosiers search for answers to help strengthen their chances of making the tournament. Indiana has more of a battle this week as the Hoosiers face two ranked teams this week in Iowa and Michigan State.
The Hoosiers currently sit third in the standing sat 9-2, but Indiana has yet to face an elite Big Ten team. More questions arise for the Hoosiers as they lost their last game to a Penn State team that has only three wins in Big Ten play.
The Thursday night matchup against Iowa will prove to the nation the ability of Indiana. The Hoosiers are a good matchup against the Hawkeyes as potential Big Ten Player of The Year squares off against the lanky and athletic Troy Williams.
The power forward matchup is not the only intriguing pairing as Thomas Bryant should challenge Adam Woodbury and Yogi Ferrell will battle Mike Gesell. Indiana’s only problem is how well they will play defensively as Brandon Taylor torched Williams and Indiana for 24 points in Penn State’s upset win.
While Michigan State and Iowa have stressful weeks with matchups, Maryland has a relatively light week as they play Bowie State, a Division II team, and Wisconsin. The Badgers did give Maryland as the Terrapins needed a last second three by Melo Trimble to win the game.
Wisconsin will enter the Maryland game with a ton of confidence, but Maryland are playing their best basketball right now and the Terrapins are excellent at defending the XFINITY Center. Maryland should handily win both games this week.
The Big Ten is starting to heat up at the right time as numerous ranked teams will face each other in a race to be the best team in the conference.
Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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