Around the Big Ten
No Big Ten team hurt themselves more over the past seven days than the Minnesota Gophers. The losing streak extended to four after the Gophers were upset twice in four days by Northwestern (55-48) and Wisconsin (45-44).
In the week’s most important battle, Indiana prevailed over Michigan State 75-70 at home. The loss moves Sparty to a game back of the Hoosiers and Michigan for the top spot in the Big Ten and sets up a monumental clash in Bloomington Saturday night between the Wolverines and Hoosiers. ComRadio previews that match-up, as well as every other game on the Big Ten slate for the upcoming week.
Wisconsin at (14) Ohio State – Tuesday, January 29 7:00 PM
In a battle of two 5-2 squads, the Badgers travel to Columbus to take on the
Buckeyes, with the winner commanding control of the third spot in the Big Ten. Ohio State is coming off of a 65-51 victory this past Saturday over Penn State. The game marks the third straight match-up for Wisconsin against a ranked opponent. This past week, Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin team fell to 13th ranked Michigan State at home 49-47 and then rebounded to knock off 12th ranked Minnesota 45-44. Look for another low-scoring contest at the Value City Arena as two of the better defensive teams in the conference square off.
Nebraska at (12) Minnesota – Tuesday, January 29 9:00 PM.
The Cornhuskers look to continue their success after beating Northwestern over the weekend for their second conference victory. Senior guard Dylan Talley recorded a season-high 20 points in the victory. After beginning the season 15-1, the Gophers have plummeted losing four straight. Minnesota has failed to reach the 50 point mark in each of their past two contests and sees their postseason aspirations suddenly crumbling down. What used to be a team headed for a high seed in the tournament now is in danger of potentially being left out all together.
Northwestern at (1?) Michigan – Wednesday, January 30 6:30 P.M.
Following Duke’s throttling in Miami last week, the Wolverines regain their spot atop the college basketball rankings. Michigan has won three in a row since falling to arch-rival Ohio State and sophomore point guard Trey Burke continues to make his case for national Player of the Year. The two teams met on January 3 in Evanston and Michigan cruised to a 94-66 win. Since then, the Wildcats have upsets over Illinois and Minnesota and a hot shooting game could present the number one team in the land some issues.
(7) Indiana at Purdue – Wednesday, January 30 8:30 P.M.
Two contrasting styles meet when the Hoosiers travel to take on the Boilermakers in a classic Big Ten rivalry. Indiana is the highest scoring team in all of college basketball at 83.7 points per game whereas Purdue relies on defense to keep them in games. The Boilermakers are 0-4 so far against ranked opponents and Indiana comes in looking to remain in the hunt for the conference championship. Tom Crean will need to make sure his team is prepared and not looking ahead to the weekend’s showdown with Michigan.
Illinois at (13) Michigan State – Thursday, January 31 7:00 PM
The Illini have been the definition of inconsistent thus far in the season. They jumped out to 12-0 start and were ranked in the top ten before losing six of their past nine. They have double-digit wins over two ranked teams in Gonzaga and Ohio State, but then on the other hand they went out and got drummed by Wisconsin and Nebraska. Sparty is coming off a heartbreaking weekend loss at Indiana, but Tom Izzo teams rarely allow one loss to influence another and they haven’t lost at the Breslin Center since their opening game against UConn on Nov. 9.
Purdue at Northwestern – Saturday, February 2 12:00 PM
The Big Ten’s weekend slate tips off from Welsh-Ryan Arena when Purdue travels to take on the Wildcats. Both teams enter the week with three conference wins and except for a late-season tear it doesn’t look like either will have a shot at making the tournament. Northwestern hasn’t beaten Purdue since 2010.
(14) Ohio State at Nebraska – Saturday, February 2 7:00 PM
The Buckeyes ran Nebraska out of the Value City Arena in their earlier meeting on January 3. Ohio State coasted to a 70-44 win and now head to Lincoln for one last tune up before next week’s showdowns with Indiana and Michigan. The currently sit a game back of first in the conference and this Saturday’s match-up with the Cornhuskers is a must-win road game for the Buckeyes.
(1?) Michigan at (7) Indiana – Saturday, February 2 9:00 PM
The primetime clash in Bloomington is the biggest game on the college basketball schedule this week. The College Gameday crew will be packed in Alumni Hall as the top ranked Wolverines come to town. Two of the top young point guards in the country will be featured when Indiana star freshman Yogi Ferrell lines up against Burke. Michigan and Indiana have squared off in numerous close games in the past and have split the season series each of the past three seasons. They’ll meet again for the season finale on March 10 in Ann Arbor with the potential conference title at stake.
Iowa at (12) Minnesota – Sunday, February 3 1:00 PM
Minnesota welcomes the Hawkeyes to the unpleasant confines of the Williams Arena for a battle of two struggling Big Ten teams. Iowa is on track for yet another sub-.500 conference record and as previously mentioned, the Gophers are riding a five game losing streak. The game offers Minnesota a chance of turning their season around and spark a late-year run.
Wisconsin at Illinois – Sunday, February 3 3:30 PM
The other Big Ten match-up on Super Bowl Sunday features a critical game between two teams jockeying for seeding position. At 2-4 in the conference, the Illini currently sit at ninth in the Big Ten standings. The 15-5 overall record looks much better in the eyes of the committee, but John Groce’s squad will need to string together some nice conference victories to bolster their tournament resume. A win at home over a well-respected Badgers team would be a good start.
Matt Lawrence is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.