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Week 5: BTPowerhouse Big Ten Game of the Week: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Villanova Wildcats

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

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten is coming off a rather inconsistent week.  The conference was able to pull out a victory in the Big Ten - ACC Challenge, but had an underwhelming weekend featuring inconsistent play and several major upsets  Now, the conference looks to show more consistency in a week filled with some major matchups.  There are several major neutral site games early in the week and some marquee matchups over the weekend.  Let's take a look at which games made the cut and at the Game of the Week:

Game Of The Week:

Illinois vs. Villanova: The Illini will have their third major game of the season this week with a matchup at Madison Square Garden against the Villanova Wildcats.  Illinois is coming off a recent loss to Miami (Fl), but have started the season at 7-1 overall and with a major victory against the Baylor Bears.  Villanova is also coming into the game with a great deal of momentum.  The Wildcats are undefeated at 8-0 with wins over La Salle, Michigan, and VCU.  Villanova is a talented team that plays a suffocating style of defense.  Illinois, on the other hand, has seen an offensive resurgence and will look to put it to the test against Villanova's talented defense.  A key factor in this game will be whether playmakers like Aaron Cosby, Kendrick Nunn, and Malcolm Hill can get the offense going.  If Illinois can secure a win over the Wildcats, it would be a huge win for the conference.

Honorable Mention:

Indiana vs. Louisville: This matchup clearly favors the Cardinals on paper, but should still be a nationally marketed game that fans flock to watch.  Louisville currently sits at 7-0 and have already recorded wins over Big Ten teams Minnesota and Ohio State.  They will be looking to add Indiana to that list, but the Hoosiers bring their own hopes to this matchup.  With James Blackmon, Jr. and Yogi Ferrell in the team's lineup, the backcourt could be an area where Indiana makes a difference.  Louisville prides itself on its pressure defense and Indiana's guards might be able to prevent some of this pressure.  Indiana will certainly be an underdog in this game, but when a game features two programs with a combined 8 national championships, people are going to watch.

Iowa State at Iowa: The Big Ten will get one of its early season rivalry games on Friday night in one of the conference's bigger matchups of the non-conference season.  Both Iowa and Iowa State are coming off NCAA Tournament appearances and this series has been very competitive in recent years with 4 of the last 5 matchups being decided by 10 points or less.  Both teams look like they have the potential to have big seasons this year and a win should be a valuable one for seeding purposes.  Plus, bragging rights are on the line.  Expect this one to be a hard fought and competitive game.

Season Stats

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