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Week 16: BTPowerhouse Big Ten Game of the Week: Maryland Terrapins at Purdue Boilermakers

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

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

For many, this is the "money time" of the season. Conference finishes, postseason bids, and conference titles are on the line and with just a few games left for each team, the pressure is on. Any win or loss can drastically reshape how each team finishes and as such, things are setting up for a wild few weeks on the court.

With that, let's take a look at the top games of the week.

Game Of The Week:

- Maryland Terrapins at Purdue Boilermakers:

Things haven't went quite as planned for either Maryland or Purdue over the last few weeks, but both still remain two of the better teams in the conference and are fighting for double-byes in the Big Ten Tournament. Notably, this is also the Big Ten's only ranked matchup of the week.

For Purdue, the team's Big Ten performance has been pretty underwhelming. After a 13-1 start to the year, many were hoping that the Boilermakers could contend for a Big Ten title. However, with Purdue sitting at just 9-6 in conference play with three games left, those hopes are now gone. However, with a few big games left, the Boilermakers can get into contention for a top four seed in the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament, if things go right. A win over Maryland would certainly help those goals.

On the other side, Maryland has been underwhelming over the last few games, but is coming off an important home win over Michigan on Sunday and still has an outside chance at the conference title. If the Terps can beat Purdue, the team would have a great chance to get a double-bye in Indy and would have a chance to go into its season finale with Indiana with the Big Ten title on the line.

The matchup to watch in this game will be in the backcourt. Maryland's Rasheed Sulaimon and Melo Trimble are continuing to try and find their consistency and Purdue's Dakota Mathias and PJ Thompson are trying to get back on track after a few underwhelming outings.

Honorable Mention:

Michigan Wolverines at Wisconsin Badgers

Maybe this involves a bit of speculation, but this game could very well be called the "Bubble Bowl" for the rest of the week. Both Michigan and Wisconsin are sitting firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble and both need a quality win to move on the right side of that equation. As such, it's hard not to think that this matchup will have a major impact in determining which of these teams make the NCAA Tournament.

The matchup to watch in this game will be upfront between Michigan's Mark Donnal and Wisconsin's Ethan Happ. Both players were underwhelming to start the season, but have taken some big steps in recent weeks. If either Donnal or Happ can have a big outing on Sunday, it would be huge for their respective team.

Wisconsin Badgers at Iowa Hawkeyes:

This matchup not only puts two nationally relevant teams against each other early this week, but it also sets up an Iowa team looking to keep pace in the Big Ten title race and a Wisconsin team needing another marquee win against each other. Both teams need this game and it's hard not to think there will be a lot of pressure on Wednesday night.

The matchup to watch in this one should between Iowa's Peter Jok and Jarrod Uthoff and Wisconsin's Vitto Brown and Nigel Hayes. Both groups have a ton of talent and with the production that Iowa has been getting from Jok and Uthoff, the Badgers will have to get the lunch pails ready.

Worst Game of the Week:

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Minnesota Golden Gophers:

A week ago, this looked like a matchup for the ages. Both Minnesota and Rutgers were winless in conference play and it looked like this game would be an 0-14 team in conference play against another 0-14 team. Unfortunately, the Gophers had to go and ruin it by upsetting Maryland at home last week. Now, it's a 1-13 team against an 0-14 team.

These two teams will play again on March 5th to end the regular season, but notably, this would be the 30th loss in a row for Rutgers if the Scarlet Knights drop this game. It would also essentially guarantee that Rutgers would finish in last place in the conference for the second year in a row based on potential tiebreakers.

Season Stats:

- Game of the Week Appearances By Team:
  • Iowa - 3
  • Maryland - 4
  • Purdue - 4
  • Indiana - 2
  • Michigan State - 2
  • Michigan - 1
- Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances By Team:
  • Maryland - 5
  • Michigan - 5
  • Wisconsin - 5
  • Indiana - 4
  • Michigan State - 4
  • Ohio State - 3
  • Iowa - 2
  • Northwestern - 2
  • Purdue - 2
- Total Appearances By Team:
  • Maryland - 9
  • Indiana - 6
  • Michigan State - 6
  • Michigan - 6
  • Purdue - 6
  • Iowa - 5
  • Wisconsin - 5
  • Ohio State - 3
  • Northwestern - 2
- Worst Game Appearances By Team:
  • Rutgers - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Maryland - 1
  • Minnesota - 1