Big Ten basketball is ready to go on the night the before Thanksgiving with five teams in the conference ready for action. The conference as a whole hasn’t started off fast the way many predicted to start the season, but the main players at the top of the food chain in the conference are still rolling along. Four schools in the Big Ten are currently ranked in the AP Poll’s top 16.
Let's take a look at Wednesday's action
Game Of The Night: Michigan Wolverines vs Connecticut Huskies (9:30 PM ET|ASX)
The Wolverines are looking to rebound from their first loss of the season against the Xavier Musketeers 86-70 and now they have the opportunity to redeem themselves against the 18th ranked Huskies which is a team that many consider to be flying somewhat under the radar.
Wolverines guard Caris LeVert is Mr. Everything for Michigan and is averaging 19.3 points a game, five rebounds, five assists, and 2.7 steals per game. As he goes, the Wolverines go. But LeVert can only do so much and the 86-70 loss against the Musketeers proves that.
Michigan’s physicality is going to have to get better. Critics have been skeptical of the team’s effort and want to and that ultimately will point towards Wolverines head coach John Beilein. One thing is for sure, the Wolverines defense is going to have to come to play as the Huskies average 89.3 points per game.
The second ranked Terps are 4-0 to start the season and the constant theme for this team so far is pulling out late runs in the second half to seal victories. In Maryland’s last three games, they have needed runs in the final eight minutes to pull off wins against unranked teams. The style in which Maryland has won has been criticized as there are quite a few people who do not believe that they should be ranked in the top five. But this team is proving that they are clutch.
The Terps will be taking on a 3-1 Rams team in the Cancun Challenge championship game at a time where the Rams are still trying to recover from the loss of their best player in E.C. Matthews. He had a torn ACL in practice last week as he averaged 16.9 points a game last season.
-Indiana Hoosiers vs UNLV Rebels (5:00 PM ET|ESPN 2)
The 13th ranked Hoosiers suffered a disappointing 82-78 loss to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Monday but bounced back a little bit against the St. John's Red Storm 83-73. The Hoosiers have high expectations this year with intentions of contending for the Big Ten title,
Going forward, it will be interesting to see how they handle adversity as they face off against a 4-1 Rebels team in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. The Rebels took UCLA to the brink on Monday in a 77-75 loss. The Hoosiers can’t suffer another loss early on or head coach Tom Crean may be put on seat that was a little bit hot to begin with.
-Wisconsin Badgers vs Prairie View A&M Panthers (8:00 PM ET| Big Ten Network)
The Badgers have had a bit of a rough start to begin the year which was to be expected with the roster turnover from their championship finalist team from last year. They opened up the season with a bad loss to Western Illinois Leathernecks at home and lost to a respectable and somewhat underrated Georgetown Hoyas team on a neutral court.
It’s safe to say that early on the Badgers can’t afford to have any more bad losses if they intend on going to the NCAA tournament. Especially to the 0-4 Panthers at home in the 2k Classic.
The Scarlet Knights and the Tigers square off in a preview of the Big Ten/ACC in the Men Who Speak Up Main Event. The Scarlet Knights are 3-2 on the season and the Tigers are 3-1 on season. Both teams need quality wins early on with zero power five school wins on their resume and whichever team comes out on top will have a nice little confidence boost as conference play is slowly approaching.