clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Week Eight: BTP Game of the Week: Michigan at Iowa

New, 1 comment

New Year’s Resolution: Better Nonconference Scheduling

NCAA Basketball: Colorado at Iowa Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The week ahead offers by far the least exciting matchups of the season for the Big Ten. An atrocious non-conference slate is perhaps highlighted by Illinois’ home date with Grand Canyon University, which won’t even be televised.

The start of Big Ten play pits teams from the league’s bloated midsection against each other. Most all of these teams have suffered embarrassing non-conference defeats, a recurrent theme which will undoubtedly come back to bite the league on Selection Sunday (Jim Delaney – how soon can we expect a moratorium on Northwestern playing Big 12 teams?). Predictions of the Big Ten as a three bid league are, I believe, unjustified but not totally ridiculous. Games like those on January 2nd will do much to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Game of the Week

Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes, 1/2/2018 7:00 ET, ESPN2

Not a particularly exciting matchup, but an important one for Michigan. Other than a clunky second half performance in Columbus, the Wolverines have had a very strong last month. They are very much in the mix for a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament and I predict will be a lock for the Tournament come March.

Iowa, on the other hand, will be fortunate to avoid playing on Wednesday of the BTT. Beyond the sophomore trio of Tyler Cook, Jordan Bohannon and Isaiah Moss, the Hawkeyes have yet to find a consistent contributor. The future looks relatively bright in Iowa City, but for now not even defending home court can be an expectation.

Honorable Mention

Penn State Nittany Lions at Maryland Terrapins, 1/2/2018 7:00 ET, BTN

Neither team has challenged itself since Big Ten Part 1 in early December and one could argue that Penn State paid the price in their let-down loss to Rider last week. Both teams have a close win and a close loss to their names in conference play, and Penn State’s defense should be enough to keep this one close, especially if they can contain Anthony Cowan. Do they have the depth to handle the Terrapins frontcourt? That’s the big question in this one.

Indiana Hoosiers at Wisconsin Badgers, 1/2/2018 7:00 ET, ESPN

In a week without a compelling nonconference matchup, name value carries a lot of weight. Considering these teams currently have a .500 overall record, put this one firmly into the “legacy” selection category. Wisconsin has ostensibly been the victim of some bad luck, according to KenPom. They’ve also won a pair of one point games. Indiana fought hard to beat Notre Dame on a neutral court, then suffered another head-scratching defeat to Fort Wayne. The head-scratching comes not from the fact that traditionally solid IPFW beat the Hoosiers, but that they did so by running Indiana out of their own gym in the second half with a 56 point barrage.

This will likely be a forgettable game in a bleak year for these programs, but they fooled ESPN into a primetime billing so here we are…

Worst Game of the Week

Cleveland State Vikings at Michigan State Spartans, 12/29/2017 6:00 PM ET, BTN

It’s a testament to Tom Izzo’s scheduling that this is their only appearance here this year, though this game and their matchup with Savannah State two days later make for a particularly uninteresting week in East Lansing.

Season Stats

Game of the Week Appearances by Team:

  • Iowa – 1
  • Michigan – 2
  • Michigan State – 2
  • Northwestern – 1
  • Purdue – 2
  • Wisconsin – 1

Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances by Team:

  • Illinois – 1
  • Indiana – 2
  • Iowa – 1
  • Maryland – 2
  • Minnesota – 4
  • Nebraska – 1
  • Northwestern – 1
  • Ohio State – 1
  • Penn State – 2
  • Wisconsin – 3

Total Appearances by Team:

  • Illinois – 1
  • Indiana – 2
  • Iowa – 2
  • Maryland – 2
  • Michigan – 2
  • Michigan State – 2
  • Minnesota – 4
  • Nebraska – 1
  • Northwestern – 2
  • Ohio State – 1
  • Penn State – 2
  • Purdue – 2
  • Wisconsin – 4

Worst Game Appearances by Team:

  • Illinois – 1
  • Iowa – 1
  • Michigan – 1
  • Michigan State – 1
  • Nebraska – 1
  • Northwestern – 1
  • Ohio State – 1
  • Wisconsin – 1