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Week 3: BTP Game of the Week: Northwestern vs Notre Dame

BTPowerhouse looks at the best games of the upcoming week in the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball: Legends Classic-Texas vs Northwestern Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The action has been heating up across the Big Ten over the last week and it’s set to take another step forward in the coming days thanks to a plethora of great holiday tournament games. Those tournaments should bring a variety of intriguing matchups and valuable wins for Selection Sunday. Fans should have more than enough to keep them entertained on Turkey Day and beyond.

And with that, let's take a look at the top games of the week. Please note that only scheduled matchups as of Tuesday morning were included.

Game Of The Week:

-Northwestern Wildcats vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

This is a game that I didn’t expect to find included on the Big Ten Game of the Week list, but here we are. After a dominating performance on Monday night against a ranked Texas team, Northwestern has earned a matchup with Notre Dame and the BTPowerhouse Game of the Week.

Even if Texas does end up being overrated, this is a huge game for Northwestern. For a program that’s absolutely desperate to make the postseason, it needs to grab marquee wins and this is a huge opportunity to do just that. And if the Wildcats can pull off the upset, it would give the Big Ten another quality unit to what’s already looking like a remarkably deep conference this season.

While Notre Dame’s backcourt is a major strength for the Fighting Irish, the matchup to watch in this game will be on the wing. Returning forward VJ Beachem has been outstanding through Notre Dame’s first four games and will pose matchup issues for Northwestern. The pressure will be on Vic Law and Sanjay Lumpkin to find an answer on the defensive end of the floor.

Honorable Mention:

-Minnesota Golden Gophers at Florida State Seminoles

The national media might be a little slow to catch on to Minnesota this season, but I have a bit of a hot take for you: Minnesota might actually be good. I’m not convinced on the team making the NCAA Tournament just yet, but the Gophers have been great so far and already have a few nice wins in the rear view mirror.

However, albeit that encouraging start, this is the game where Minnesota can truly prove itself. If Minnesota can come away with a win at Florida State, it would be well on its way to a postseason appearance. The key will be slowing down a great Seminole wing group featuring Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac.

-Wisconsin Badgers vs Georgetown Hoyas

For the third year in a row, Wisconsin will face Georgetown in a non-conference tournament. While that’s an extraordinarily odd occurrence, Tuesday’s matchup should serve as the rubber matchup for the two teams, as Georgetown and Wisconsin split the previous two meetings.

With a 2-2 record, nobody can be confident that Georgetown is a great team at this point, but considering that the Hoyas just knocked off a ranked Oregon team on Monday night, this still looks like a quality opponent on paper for Wisconsin. If the Badgers can find an answer to LG Peak, look for the team to grab a key win.

Worst Game of the Week:

-Hartford Hawks at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Well, that didn’t take long. After just two weeks into the season, Rutgers has already earned its spot in the Worst Game of the Week category. It did so thanks to a matchup at home against a horrible Hartford team.

Hartford may have recorded a win over Niagara last week (another Rutgers opponent), it’s ranked at just No. 332 by KenPom and got blown out in matchups against Central Connecticut, Rider, and Drexel. Expect Rutgers to put this one away early on Black Friday.

Season Stats:

-Game of the Week Appearances By Team:

  • Michigan State - 1
  • Northwestern - 1

-Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances By Team:

  • Wisconsin - 2
  • Maryland - 1
  • Minnesota - 1

-Total Appearances By Team:

  • Wisconsin - 2
  • Maryland - 1
  • Michigan State - 1
  • Minnesota - 1
  • Northwestern - 1

-Worst Game Appearances By Team:

  • Illinois - 1
  • Rutgers - 1