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Week 8: BTP Game of the Week: Wisconsin at Indiana

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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

With roughly a week of conference play in the books, things are as messy as ever across the conference. Teams like Indiana and Purdue have underwhelmed and darkhorses like Iowa and Nebraska have thrived, which has created madness across most of the conference standings.

However, there’s plenty more for fans to enjoy on the slate this week. As such, here’s a look at the top games in the coming week.

Game Of The Week:

-Wisconsin Badgers at Indiana Hoosiers

The Big Ten hasn’t had a (perceived) marquee matchup so far in conference play, but that will change on Tuesday night when Wisconsin goes on the road to face an Indiana squad desperate for a win. Both teams are ranked and this figures to be a game that factors heavily into the Big Ten title race at season’s end.

Most of the pressure will be on Indiana in this one, who is currently in the midst of a two-game skid after losing to Nebraska and Louisville last week. We’ve seen teams overcome rough starts to grab Big Ten titles in the past, but it’s hard to imagine Indiana overcoming an 0-2 start, especially with both losses at home.

In other words, it’s do or die time for the Hoosiers.

The matchup to watch in this game will be in the backcourt. Indiana’s group has struggled significantly in its last few games and this will be an opportunity to get back on track. In particular, Indiana’s Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk will have to try and slow down Bronson Koenig and a deep Badger rotational group.

Honorable Mention:

-Maryland Terrapins at Michigan Wolverines

This matchup might not have the allure that it did last week (both teams lost on Sunday), but it still figures to be an important one for both teams. Maryland still needs to show consistency against quality teams and Michigan needs another resume win after letting the Virginia Tech and Iowa games slip away.

Michigan’s biggest task will be trying to find a way to slow down Melo Trimble, who has scored double-digits in 12 of Maryland’s 14 games this season. On the other side, Maryland will be trying to slow down Michigan’s dynamic frontcourt pieces in Moritz Wagner and DJ Wilson. Expect a close one.

-Wisconsin Badgers at Purdue Boilermakers

This game narrowly missed the Game of the Week and for good reason. Both teams will enter this matchup ranked in the top 25 and in the hunt for the Big Ten title. Like Wisconsin’s game against Indiana earlier in the week, this should be a huge game for determining who has the Big Ten crown at season’s end.

Like any game involving Purdue, the matchup to watch in this one will be in the frontcourt where Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan will face off against Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes. All four figure to be in contention for All-Big Ten honors at season’s end and as such, this figures to be an epic battle on Sunday.

Worst Game of the Week:

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan State Spartans

While Rutgers has shown it has improved from its dreadful performances of the last few years, the team is still searching for answers after losing its last three games. Unfortunately, things won’t get much easier as Rutgers heads on the road to face Michigan State in East Lansing on Wednesday evening.

KenPom only has Michigan State as an 11-point favorite against Rutgers, but that’s probably underselling it since Spartan forward Miles Bridges is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday. Although Rutgers may be able to put up a fight, this matchup doesn’t look very appealing on paper.

Season Stats:

-Game of the Week Appearances By Team:

  • Indiana - 2
  • Iowa - 1
  • Michigan State - 1
  • Northwestern - 1
  • Purdue - 1
  • Rutgers - 1
  • Wisconsin - 1

-Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances By Team:

  • Wisconsin - 4
  • Michigan - 3
  • Maryland - 2
  • Michigan State - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Indiana - 1
  • Iowa - 1
  • Minnesota - 1
  • Northwestern - 1
  • Ohio State - 1
  • Purdue - 1

-Total Appearances By Team:

  • Wisconsin - 5
  • Indiana - 3
  • Michigan - 3
  • Michigan State - 3
  • Iowa - 2
  • Maryland - 2
  • Northwestern - 2
  • Purdue - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Minnesota - 1
  • Ohio State - 1
  • Rutgers - 1

-Worst Game Appearances By Team:

  • Rutgers - 4
  • Penn State - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Michigan State - 1
  • Nebraska - 1