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Big Ten Friday Preview & Open Thread: Iowa Hawkeyes Face Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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Check out the Big Ten's action on Friday night including several major matchups.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Big Ten has a loaded schedule. In fact, seven teams will be in action and of the Big Ten's seven opponents, six will be in the top 100 on KenPom and three will be in the top 50. As such, it's a huge chance for the conference to make some noise and pick up some marquee non-conference wins.

Let's take a look at the action.

Game of the Night: Iowa Hawkeyes vs Notre Dame (7:00PM ET - ESPN3)

The Hawkeyes and Notre Dame both had a rough start to their respective appearances in the Advocare Invitational, but will face off in a game that's looking more and more pivotal to each team's non-conference performance. Both teams sit at 3-1 and each is looking to add a valuable win to the resume against a quality team.

Iowa is coming off a tough loss to a good Dayton team on Thursday. In the game, Dayton did a great job of controlling the boards and scoring inside offensively. As such, the Hawkeyes will definitely have to improve the team's interior play and particularly, its play on the boards, if the team is going to come out with a win on Friday.

Of course, Notre Dame will present some additional challenges. The Irish are coming off a tough loss to Monmouth and actually don't have a great win so far this season. The two key players for Notre Dame are Zach Auguste and Demetrius Jackson. Last year, Auguste was a key piece in the offensive production and is pretty easily the team's primary interior threat. Slowing him down will be essential. Jackson is an efficient guard that can do damage as well.

This game might not have the brands or some of the top teams as some of Friday's other Big Ten games, but its implications are probably more important. These are two teams that should be in the NCAA Tournament picture by season's end and two teams that need a quality win. As such, this looks like an important game.

The Rest:

- Illinois Fighting Illini vs UAB (9:30PM ET - CBS Sports Network)

The Illini have had a nightmare of a start to the season. The team is 2-3 on the season with losses coming to Chattanooga and North Florida and a tight win over Chicago State. Sure, Illinois has been banged up and is a young team, but the performance has been far below the talent on the roster. On the other side, UAB actually has a solid team this year and Chris Cokley will pose a major challenge in the frontcourt. If Illinois can score the win, it would go a long way toward building a resume, but it will be another tough one on Friday.

- Michigan Wolverines vs Texas (7:00PM ET - AXS TV)

The Wolverines have seen mixed results so far this season. Michigan has three wins against mediocre opponents and two losses to teams that appear to be in the top 25 picture. Even after last night's dominating win over Charlotte, it's hard to put a finger exactly on where Michigan falls as a team. A matchup with Texas and two outstanding players in Cameron Ridley and Isaiah Taylor will offer another opportunity for Michigan to show its still improving.

- Michigan State Spartans vs Boise State (5:30PM ET - ESPN2)

The Spartans had a pretty easy win on Thursday over Boston College to earn head coach Tom Izzo his 500th win and a shot to move on and after Boise State. The Broncos are a solid team with Anthony Drmic doeing work in the backcourt and James Webb playing well upfront. On paper, this still looks like a solid win for Michigan State and could set a showdown with Arizona later in the Wooden Legacy.

- Nebraska Omaha at Minnesota Golden Gophers (3:00PM ET - ESPN3)

The Gophers are 3-2 on the season, but are still looking to turn the corner as a team. The two losses came to the two decent teams Minnesota faced and the three wins came against underwhelming opponents. Nebraska Omaha doesn't offer a shot at a great win, but this is a game that Minnesota needs to win at home. The key players to watch for on Nebraska Omaha should be Tra-Deon Hollins, Devin Patterson, and Tre-Shawn Thurman.

- Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Cincinnati (6:30PM ET - ESPN3)

The Cornhuskers are a massive question mark at this point. Nebraska is 4-1 on the year and has actually looked pretty good in its four wins, but lost handily to the only good team its faced in Villanova. Considering those results, nobody is quite sure of what to make of the Huskers as of now. A matchup with Cincinnati on a neutral court could provide some further insight. The Bearcats are unbeaten and look like a top 25 team. It's a deep team that relies on several different contributors, but a few of the key contributors are Troy Caupain and Gary Clark. It's an opportunity for Nebraska to show that it's turned the corner and is improved this season.

- Ohio State Buckeyes vs Memphis (7:30PM ET - ESPN2)

The Buckeyes are sitting at 2-2 and it is one of the ugliest 2-2 records anywhere in the Big Ten. The team has wins over mediocre at best teams in Grambling State and Mount St. Mary's and losses to Louisiana Tech and UT Arlington. Now, the team has a chance to score a quality win and at least override some of those first four games on Friday with a matchup against Memphis. The Tigers are 2-2 as well and also lost to UT Arlington, but at least Memphis should be a better team than Ohio State's previous four opponents. Some of the key players to watch will be Trahson Burrell and Dedric Lawson as the Buckeyes try to get the team's first quality win.