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Week 6: BTP Game of the Week: Rutgers at Seton Hall

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

NCAA Basketball: Fairleigh Dickinson at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The week leading into Christmas is a notoriously bad one for college basketball and this year won’t be any different. Most of the Big Ten teams are only playing one game this week and the majority of the matchups come against underwhelming opponents.

However, there are a few games that should draw some national interest and let’s take a look at them below. Please note that only scheduled matchups as of Tuesday morning were included.

Game Of The Week:

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Seton Hall Pirates

For the first time in the history of this series, Rutgers will be a part of the BTPowerhouse Game of the Week. This is partially due to the Big Ten’s exceptionally weak slate of games this week, but it also has a lot to do with the improved play Rutgers has shown this season. After a horrible performance the last few seasons, Rutgers sits at 11-1 heading into its matchup with Seton Hall on Friday.

For Rutgers, this is a huge opportunity to prove itself on a national stage. The Scarlet Knights have only faced one top 150 opponent this season and it ended in defeat when on the road against Miami (FL) in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. This is a chance to score the team’s first quality win of the season and to build some momentum.

The major challenge for the Scarlet Knights will be slowing down Khadeen Carrington, who has scored double-digits in every game this season. Seton Hall has also surrounded him with some quality guards in Madison Jones and Myles Powell. Rutgers fans will finally get to see what how much Nigel Johnson and Corey Sanders have improved.

Honorable Mention:

-Illinois Fighting Illini vs Missouri Tigers

Illinois currently sits as one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten and has won its last five games, including a solid win over BYU last weekend. The Illini will be looking to extend that recent success on Wednesday against a struggling Missouri squad. Missouri is just 5-5 overall and has yet to beat a top 200 team.

The matchup to watch in this game will be Jalen Coleman-Lands and Frankie Hughes in the backcourt. Both are young players who will be looking to make a big splash in this game. Additionally, Illinois could have its hands full in trying to contain Kevin Puryear upfront. Expect Leron Black and Malcolm Hill both to get some time guarding Puryear.

-Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Michigan State Spartans

After losing at home to Northeastern last weekend, Michigan State will be looking to rebound on Wednesday at home against Oakland. However, Oakland will enter the matchup with a 9-1 record and will be looking to pull off a huge win over a Michigan State program that has beaten it pretty regularly in recent years.

By any stretch of the imagination, this is a must win game for Michigan State and the key will be slowing down forward Martez Walker. So far this season, Walker has been a major contributor for the Grizzlies and has scored double-digits in nine of Oakland’s 10 games. The pressure will be on Kyle Ahrens and Josh Langford to slow him down.

Worst Game of the Week:

-Morgan State at Penn State

For the first time this season, Penn State has earned a spot in the Big Ten’s Worst Game of the Week for its matchup against Morgan State this Wednesday. It’s been an underwhelming start for the Nittany Lions and an uninspiring matchup on Wednesday won’t do much to change that.

Even if Penn State fans pretend to have some faint excitement about this matchup, there won’t be anything interesting for general Big Ten fans. Morgan State is just 3-7 entering the game and will be a 19-point underdog. If you need a nap, buy BTN2Go so you can watch this game.

Season Stats:

-Game of the Week Appearances By Team:

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

-Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances By Team:

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

-Total Appearances By Team:

  • Wisconsin - 3
  • Michigan State - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Indiana - 1
  • Iowa - 1
  • Maryland - 1
  • Michigan - 1
  • Minnesota - 1
  • Northwestern - 1
  • Ohio State - 1
  • Purdue - 1
  • Rutgers - 1

-Worst Game Appearances By Team:

  • Rutgers - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Nebraska - 1
  • Penn State - 1