Week 13: B1G Game of the Week - Hawkeyes Fight To Keep Homecourt

Matthew Holst

Another week and another set of great games.

This was an exciting last few days for the conference.  We finally got a Big Ten leader (Michigan) and got some of the most exciting games of the year in games like Michigan vs. Michigan State and Wisconsin vs. Minnesota.  There were also some nice upsets in games like Minnesota vs. Nebraska.  The conference race may have firmly taken shape this last week, but there are still a lot of important games this week:

Game Of The Week:

Michigan State at Iowa: The game of the week is set to take place on Tuesday when two Top 15 KenPom teams will battle in Iowa City.  MSU is currently in 2nd place in the Big Ten race and Iowa is in 3rd place.  Both teams really need to keep pace with the Wolverines and a loss for either would be a major hit to their conference hopes.  The Spartans will still be down Branden Dawson, but could also still be down Adreian Payne.  However, it's going to be great to see Gary Harris and Roy Devyn Marble tangle.  Both are potential Big Ten Player of the Year candidates.  Considering MSU's injuries and MSU's loss last weekend to Michigan, it could mean two important back-to-back losses.  For the Hawkeyes, they need to hold strong on their homecourt in order to stay in contention for the title.  They still get Michigan at home as well, so it's not too crazy to consider them closing in if they beat MSU on Tuesday.  A loss could be devastating as it would put Iowa 3 games back from Michigan.  There's still plenty of season left, but gaining 3 games is tough on anybody, especially on the top teams.  This is also the second week in a row where MSU was featured in the Big Ten Game of the Week.

Honorable Mention:

Ohio State at Wisconsin: This game has lost a lot of its luster from how it looked during the early portion of the season, but do not be fooled, this game is very important.  OSU may be hanging onto freak chance to remain in Big Ten title consideration, but the Badgers are definitely still in it.  Their odds certainly are not great, but they still have games with Michigan, MSU, and Iowa.  Win those and they aren't too far out.  Even if this game does not have great Big Ten title implications, neither team has beaten anybody great in weeks and both will be looking desperately to score some important wins.

Michigan at Indiana: During last season, this was arguably the game of the year with #1 Michigan traveling to face #3 Indiana on the road.  The stakes are a little less this year with only Michigan ranked, but the Wolverines are still undefeated in conference play and the Hoosiers have a lot riding on this one.  A loss would not be unexpected, but they are fighting for a tourney bid.  Winning games like this could go a long way.

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