clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Week 7: BTP Game of the Week: Indiana vs Louisville

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

NCAA Basketball: Crossroads Classic-Butler at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Conference play opened up for the Big Ten on Tuesday night and it was certainly a sight to behold for fans. Not only did fans get to enjoy an overtime battle between Michigan State and Minnesota, but they also got to see some impressive performances from Maryland, Northwestern, and Wisconsin in blowout wins.

However, there’s plenty more to come and here’s a look at the top games in the coming week.

Game Of The Week:

-Indiana Hoosiers vs Louisville Cardinals

The Big Ten only has one non-conference game remaining this season, but it’s a huge one on Saturday afternoon between Indiana and Louisville. Both teams are currently ranked in the AP poll, landed in the top 15 of the latest KenPom ratings, and are looking for one more big win heading into the new year.

For Indiana, this is a major opportunity to add one more marquee win to a resume that already includes wins over Kansas and North Carolina. Any win over an opponent of this magnitude would be impressive, but this could potentially give Indiana three wins against No. 2 seeds (or better) in the final bracket before the Hoosiers enter the meat of conference play. That’s more than impressive.

The biggest matchup to watch in this game will be in the backcourt where Indiana will have to try and contain Donovan Mitchell and Quentin Snider. The Cardinal duo have been red hot this season and the two combined for an impressive 35 points in Louisville’s latest win over Kentucky. The pressure will be on Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk to get the job done.

Honorable Mention:

-Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes

This is a Sunday afternoon game that probably won’t draw a ton of national attention, but it’s an interesting one for the Big Ten and the conference’s postseason hopes. Both teams also enter with their fair share of momentum as Iowa has a five-game winning streak* and Michigan has won five of its last six.

However, the thing that makes this game so intriguing is its potential impact on each team’s NCAA Tournament and postseason hopes. Iowa is still trying to recover from a mixed non-conference performance and Michigan is looking for its first road win. A win for either side would be huge and considering that the oddsmakers project this as a coin flip, it’s easy to see why the outcome is so important.

The matchup to watch will be upfront as Iowa’s Cordell Pemsl and Ahmad Wagner battle with Michigan’s Moritz Wagner and DJ Wilson. Both groups have been inconsistent this season and whoever shows up on Sunday could determine who wins.

-Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan State Spartans

Both of these teams played on Tuesday night and each was able to come away with a win to open Big Ten play on the road. However, those wins came in much different fashion as Northwestern blew the doors off Penn State and Michigan State had to battle in overtime to take down Minnesota.

The pressure will now be on both squads to come away with a win on Friday night in a matchup that’s looking more interesting by the day. Northwestern will enter having won its last nine games and Michigan State will enter in desperation mode as most are viewing this as a “must win” for the Spartans.

Perhaps the most intriguing matchup will be Northwestern’s duo of Barret Benson and Gavin Skelly against Michigan State’s Nick Ward. All three have shown some quality play over the last few games and whether Benson and Skelly can slow down Ward will tell a lot about the game’s outcome.

Worst Game of the Week:

-Penn State Nittany Lions at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

If you want to get a sense of why this matchup was selected for “Worst Game of the Week,” just take a look at Tuesday night’s results. In each team’s opening conference game, the two combined to lose by 30 points and that probably doesn’t even put into context how badly both were beaten. Neither was even close to competitive.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this game will be to see whether Rutgers can improve to .500 in conference play for the first time since January of 2015 and for just the third time as a member of the Big Ten.

Season Stats:

-Game of the Week Appearances By Team:

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

-Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances By Team:

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

-Total Appearances By Team:

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

-Worst Game Appearances By Team:

  • Rutgers - 3
  • Penn State - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Nebraska - 1

* - Iowa plays Purdue earlier this week, so it’s five-game winning streak may be snapped before it faces Michigan on Sunday.