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Week 8: BTPowerhouse Big Ten Game of the Week: Maryland Terrapins vs. Michigan State Spartans

Check out the top games for the Big Ten this week.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Conference play officially gets underway later today and the week looks to be filled with great matchups across the Big Ten.  The conference really does a nice job of scheduling the opening few days of conference play and there always seems to be a handful of great matchups.  Whether it's good teams going on the road or marquee matchups, there is a lot to choose from this week.  As such, there were some difficult decisions, but here are the games that made the cut this week.

Game Of The Week:

Maryland at Michigan State: This is the first week in quite some time that there wasn't a runaway pick for the Game of the Week, but this mainly due to a slate of great games.  Still, the matchup between Maryland and Michigan State looks to be packed with storylines and came in as the top game of this week.  The Terps will enter this game following a surprisingly hot start at 12-1 and the Spartans will enter with a good, but not great 9-4 record.  Both teams have looked great at times and have had their struggles.  Both teams are also currently in the KenPom Top 25 and are are performing well both on offense and on defense.  In simple terms, these are two good teams set to face one another.  However, this game also has a few interesting storylines to add to what should already be a quality game.  First, this will be Maryland's first conference game as a member of the Big Ten, which is obviously a noteworthy occurrence for the Terps.  When you add in that they will be going on the road to one of the more historically successful Big Ten teams, that's a big storyline for Maryland.  On the other side, Michigan State will be getting star forward Branden Dawson back on the court.  Many consider him a threat for All-Big Ten honors this season and he should be a big boost to the team's efforts.  Michigan State is also still looking for a marquee win this season and Maryland should offer the chance.  Expect a lot of action from this one in Day One of conference play.

Honorable Mention:

Iowa at Ohio State: There will likely be a lot of different angles to this game, but it still looks to be one of the best Big Ten games of the week.  The Iowa Hawkeyes have been inconsistent this season, but made it through the non-conference slate without a bad loss and a huge road win over North Carolina.  The Buckeyes have yet to record a marquee victory, but also have no bad losses and have won convincingly in just about every other game.  Considering that both teams are in the KenPom Top 50 and could be in NCAA Tournament contention, this game has a lot to offer.  A win for either team would be a big boost to their resume and be a big step toward validating the team for the season.

Minnesota at Maryland: This game could have easily been listed as the Game of the Week.  Both Maryland and Minnesota have already proven themselves this season and are looking to score another quality win.  For Minnesota, the Gophers have played nobody of significance since the end of November.  For Maryland, they will be coming off a tough road game against Michigan State.  It's a huge week for the Terps and regardless of whether they beat the Spartans earlier in the week, this could be a huge resume win.  The Gophers are a quality team that has only lost to really good Louisville and St. John's' teams this year.  Similar to the Iowa vs. Ohio State game, this could likely be a swing game that is a huge boost to the winner's resume.  Watch for how a talented Maryland backcourt responds to Pitino's aggressive defensive and the solid passing of Deandre Mathieu.

Season Stats

Game of the Week Appearances By Team:
  • Michigan State - 2
  • Wisconsin - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Indiana - 1
  • Maryland - 1
  • Minnesota - 1
  • Ohio State - 1
Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances By Team:
  • Ohio State - 4
  • Iowa - 3
  • Indiana - 2
  • Maryland - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Michigan - 1
  • Minnesota - 1
  • Michigan State - 1
  • Nebraska - 1
  • Rutgers - 1
  • Wisconsin - 1
Total Appearances By Team:
  • Ohio State - 5
  • Indiana - 3
  • Iowa - 3
  • Maryland - 3
  • Michigan State - 3
  • Wisconsin - 3
  • Illinois - 2
  • Minnesota - 2
  • Michigan - 1
  • Nebraska - 1
  • Rutgers - 1