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Week 12: BTP Game of the Week: Purdue at Maryland

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

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the Big Ten, the last few weeks have been a buzzsaw for NCAA Tournament hopes. The schedule has slotted plenty of the league’s hopefuls against one another and it’s done some major damage to some resume.

And to no surprise, that drama will continue this week. Here’s a look at the top games in the coming week.

Game Of The Week:

-Purdue Boilermakers at Maryland Terrapins

Outside of Purdue’s matchup with Wisconsin earlier this season, this game could very well be the Big Ten’s most excited matchup on paper so far. Not only are both of these teams ranked in the top 25, but they also have gone a combined 6-1 since mid-January.

For Maryland, this is a chance to legitimize itself even further as a Big Ten contender and score the team’s first marquee win of the season. The Terrrapins have a plethora of quality wins, but no win against a top-end opponent. As such, a win here could drastically help Maryland’s seeding potential.

On the other side, this is a massive opportunity for Purdue. Not only would this put the Boilermakers in position to grab the two seed in the Big Ten Tournament, but it would also give the team a huge road win to add to its resume. That would go a long way toward seeding in March.

The matchup to watch will be upfront where Purdue’s Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan will face Maryland’s Damonte Dodd and Justin Jackson. All four have been great so far this season and this should be a great clash of styles.

Honorable Mention:

-Indiana Hoosiers at Wisconsin Badgers

Although Indiana’s recent skid has been shocking for many, the Hoosiers are now drifting from a comfortable NCAA Tournament team to the wrong side of the bracket picture. And with James Blackmon being sidelined with injury last week, things aren’t looking rosy in Bloomington lately.

In light of these circumstances, Indiana will have a ton of pressure heading into its road game against Wisconsin this Sunday. Nobody has beaten Wisconsin in Madison in over a year, but the Hoosiers desperately need to find a way to get the job done. This is especially true given that Indiana has a particularly difficult closing slate.

For Wisconsin, this is another opportunity to add a solid win at home and continue in the team’s pursuit of a Big Ten title. Additionally, considering that the Badgers have looked vulnerable in the last few games, the team could use a convincing win to get things back on track.

-Northwestern Wildcats at Purdue Boilermakers

I’m going to avoid reiterating Northwestern’s past NCAA Tournament woes here, but there’s no debating that the team’s road trip to West Lafayette this week offers a unique opportunity for the program. If Northwestern is able to grab the win, then the Wildcats are essentially an NCAA Tournament lock.

Yeah, that seems to be significant.

But, of course, there’s certainly more on the line in this game than Northwestern’s NCAA Tournament hopes. This game also looks like an elimination game in the Big Ten title race. Both teams are still in the picture, but a loss on Wednesday would realistically end those hopes. As such, both desperately want this win.

Additionally, Purdue will be looking to rebound from its poor finish against Nebraska on Sunday. The Boilermakers have plenty of talent, but will need to show more consistency to get the job done against the Wildcats.

Worst Game of the Week:

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Penn State Nittany Lions

I feel a bit bad about continuing to put Rutgers in this slot, but there isn’t any debate that this is the worst game of the week. Neither of these teams have a realistic shot at the postseason and this game won’t have much significance at season’s end.

The only intriguing aspects of this game will be to see whether Penn State can continue playing well at home and whether Rutgers can get its third Big Ten win since January of 2015. In short, not all that interesting.

Season Stats:

-Game of the Week Appearances:

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

-Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances:

  • Michigan State - 5
  • Wisconsin - 5
  • Indiana - 4
  • Maryland - 4
  • Michigan - 4
  • Northwestern - 3
  • Ohio State - 3
  • Minnesota - 2
  • Purdue - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Iowa - 1

-Total Appearances:

  • Michigan State - 8
  • Wisconsin - 7
  • Indiana - 6
  • Maryland - 5
  • Purdue - 5
  • Michigan - 4
  • Minnesota - 4
  • Northwestern - 4
  • Ohio State - 3
  • Iowa - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Rutgers - 1

-Worst Game Appearances:

  • Rutgers - 8
  • Penn State - 3
  • Nebraska - 2
  • Illinois - 1
  • Indiana - 1
  • Maryland - 1
  • Michigan State - 1