Big Ten Basketball Matchups: Screw the “Oaken Bucket” Purdue Must Put Up or Shut Up
The Surprising Northwestern Wildcats Continue Push Towards March Madness
Michigan State is Back in East Lansing for First Time Since On-Campus Shooting
The biggest question in the Big Ten is how many teams will earn spots in the NCAA tournament. The Big Ten basketball matchups this week could go a long way in deciding that.
Illinois got things started with a nine-point win over Minnesota and now Michigan State is a 2.5-point favorite against visiting Indiana on Tuesday night. It will be the first home game for the Spartans since the on-campus shooting.
Michigan State is just 39th in the NCAA NET rankings so a win over a ranked Indiana team would do wonders for the Spartans’ chances of earning a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Purdue dropped two spots to No. 5 in both national polls. Indiana is 17th in both the Associated Press and coaches’ polls.
Northwestern broke into the national rankings this week, coming in at No. 21 in the AP poll and is 22nd in the coaches’ poll.
The Big Ten is behind only the Big 12 in the Sagarin college basketball rankings.
Keep on reading for more on the upcoming games in the Big Ten.
Game of the Week
This could be the last obstacle between Purdue and the regular-season title in the Big Ten as the Boilermakers currently lead by 1.5 games. When it comes to the Big Ten basketball matchups, it doesn’t get bigger than this.
Indiana upset the Boilermakers earlier this month as Purdue’s Zach Edey and Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis combined for 58 points, 25 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
This game could help Purdue (24-4, 13-4 in the Big Ten) in its quest to earn a No. 1 seed in the March Madness bracket while Indiana (19-8, 10-6) is hoping to be among the top 16 seeds in the NCAA tournament.
Purdue has won 10 of the last 12 meetings. However, Indiana has taken two of the last three. Both teams shot over 50% from the field in the first meeting of the season.
Other Games to Watch
Before Indiana faces Purdue, the Hoosiers have another road game worth of mention in the Big Ten basketball matchups.
It will be an emotional return to campus for the Spartans as they play at the Breslin Center for the first time since the on-campus shooting.
Michigan State (16-10, 8-7) looks to avoid dropping to .500 in conference play while Indiana is hoping to catch Northwestern for second in the Big Ten standings.
Indiana goes after the season sweep after an 82-69 win at home as a 4.5-point favorite on Jan. 22. Trayce Jackson-Davis had 31 points and 15 rebounds in that win.
While Sunday’s game at Northwestern might be on the mind of the Terrapins, they need to take care of business against a Minnesota team that has lost 10 straight games and has as many Big Ten victories as road wins this season.
After rolling past Purdue, Maryland (18-9, 9-7) came down to earth with an overtime loss to Nebraska despite 16 points and 16 rebounds from Julian Reese.
Jamison Battle had 31 points as Minnesota (7-18, 1-14) threw a scare into Illinois on Monday.
The Maryland Terrapins are eyeing its ninth straight win against Minnesota. The Terrapins are 7-0-1 against the spread in the last eight matchups.
Iowa is the top-scoring team in the Big Ten and the Iowa Hawkeyes have been to the foul line more than any other conference team.
There could be plenty of points in this matchup with the teams at the bottom of the Big Ten in field-goal percentage defense.
Three of the top 10 rebounders in the Big Ten will take part in this matchup with Iowa’s Kris Murray and Filip Rebraca combining for 16 rebounds per game and Wisconsin’s Steven Crowl pulling down 7.4 boards per contest.
Wisconsin (15-11, 7-9) is looking for its third win in a row against Iowa (17-10, 9-7), something that hasn’t happened in seven years.
Three of the last four games in the series finished over the total.
No team in the Big Ten loves the 3-point shot more than the Nittany Lions (16-11, 7-9) as they lead the Big Ten in 3-pointers made (293), attempted (754) and have the best 3-point percentage as well.
Ohio State (11-16, 3-13) looks to bounce back after being run off the court by Purdue the last time out.
These teams are as different as their top offensive players. Penn State’s Jalen Pickett is a fifth-year player who began his career at Siena while Ohio State is led by Brice Sensabaugh, one of the top-scoring freshman in the country.
Penn State snapped a four-game losing streak to Ohio State when a three-point win in the 2022 Big Ten tournament.
Seven of the last eight games between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes have gone over the total.
Ohio State has covered in just eight games this season, the lowest mark in the Big Ten.
This is a huge game for both teams as they look to improve their situation for the NCAA selection committee.
Michigan is coming off a win over rival Michigan State as freshman Dug McDaniel had 18 points and now looks to take down Rutgers.
The teams are currently in a five-way tie for fourth place in the Big Ten. Rutgers is tied for the Big Ten lead with 14 home wins while Michigan is only 2-5 on the road.
Rutgers (17-10, 9-7) has one of the best defensive teams in the country and the Scarlet Knights could have their hands full with Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson as he is in the top five in the Big Ten in scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage.
Michigan (15-12, 9-7) has won 11 of the last 12 games against Rutgers and that includes a 71-62 home win on Feb. 23 as a five-point favorite.
Four of the last five meetings have finished under the total.
Northwestern goes after its sixth win in a row and the Wildcats should be well rested since they last played on Sunday when Boo Buie’s 23 points led the Wildcats to a 20-point win over Iowa.
Illinois is second in the Big Ten in rebounding margin while Northwestern (20-7, 11-5) leads in turnover margin.
Illinois (18-9, 9-7) had won eight in a row in the series before Northwestern’s 13-point home win on Jan. 4. It was the fifth straight game between the Fighting Illini and Wildcats to go under the total.
Northwestern leads the Big Ten with a 17-10 record against the spread. Illinois isn’t far behind at 16-10-1.Follow us on Twitter
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