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Week 5: BTP Game of the Week: Purdue vs Notre Dame

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

NCAA Basketball: Crossroads Classic-Notre Dame vs Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Big Ten is starting the final phase of non-conference play, there’s still plenty on the plate left for fans to enjoy in the coming weeks. In particular, there are plethora of intriguing matchups this week, highlighted by three featuring marquee opponents with NCAA Tournament implications on the line.

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:

-Purdue Boilermakers vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

It was a tight battle for Game of the Week, but ultimately, I selected Purdue’s upcoming matchup with Notre Dame. Although it might not match the sheer talent or national intrigue of some of the Big Ten’s other matchups this week, it should be a great game with a rivalry feel and the result will be huge for Purdue’s resume.

The matchup is so important not only for Purdue’s presence within the state, but the Boilermakers still lack a marquee win. Even if Purdue has walloped most of its opponents this season, it needs that top-end win for its seeding in March and this is undeniably its best remaining opportunity to add one.

While Notre Dame’s backcourt is a major strength for the Fighting Irish, the matchup to watch will be on the wing. Returning forward VJ Beachem has been outstanding for the Irish and will pose matchup issues for Purdue. The pressure will be on Vincent Edwards to find an answer on the defensive end of the floor.

Honorable Mention:

-Indiana Hoosiers vs Butler Bulldogs

From a pure talent perspective, this is probably the Big Ten’s best game of the week. Both Indiana and Butler are ranked in the top 25 and figure to be in the hunt for great seeds in March. The only reason this matchup didn’t earn Game of the Week honors is because Indiana doesn’t need a marquee win as badly as Purdue right now.

However, even if Indiana doesn’t desperately need a win on Saturday, this is a great opportunity to add to its resume. A win would also virtually guarantee that Indiana enters its highly anticipated matchup with Louisville on New Year’s Eve with just one loss. Also, keep an eye on how Indiana tries to defend Kelan Martin. That could be telling for the Hoosier defense as the team prepares to enter Big Ten play.

-Ohio State Buckeyes vs UCLA Bruins

The Buckeyes will return once again to the CBSSports Classic on Saturday to face off against an undefeated UCLA squad. The Bruins couldn’t be much hotter and currently have one of the nation’s most prolific offenses, scoring 97 or more in each of the team’s last three games, including a win over Michigan.

Ohio State figures to be an underdog coming into the game (KenPom has UCLA winning by six), but a win could make up for a lot of the team’s early season struggles. The biggest challenge for Ohio State will be finding an answer to Lonzo Ball, who has arguably been the nation’s best freshman this season.

Worst Game of the Week:

-Gardner Webb at Nebraska

For the first time this season, Nebraska has earned a spot in the Big Ten’s Worst Game of the Week for its matchup against Gardner Webb. It’s been a frustrating start for the Huskers and an underwhelming game on Sunday won’t do much to change that.

There isn’t a ton to like here. Not only are both teams 5-5, but both are also coming off pretty rough losses. Nebraska lost to Creighton and Kansas last week and Gardner Webb suffered a frustrating loss at home to Furman. Get hype, people.

Season Stats:

-Game of the Week Appearances By Team:

  • Iowa - 1
  • Michigan State - 1
  • Northwestern - 1
  • Purdue - 1

-Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances By Team:

  • Wisconsin - 3
  • Indiana - 1
  • Maryland - 1
  • Michigan - 1
  • Minnesota - 1
  • Ohio State - 1

-Total Appearances By Team:

  • Wisconsin - 3
  • Indiana - 1
  • Iowa - 1
  • Maryland - 1
  • Michigan - 1
  • Michigan State - 1
  • Minnesota - 1
  • Northwestern - 1
  • Ohio State - 1
  • Purdue - 1

-Worst Game Appearances By Team:

  • Rutgers - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Nebraska - 1