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Week 14: BTP Game of the Week: Maryland Terrapins at Northwestern Wildcats

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

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Maryland Mitch Stringer-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:

-Maryland Terrapins at Northwestern Wildcats

Talk about a major matchup. Although these teams might not draw the national appeal of some others, this is a huge game with substantial implications for this postseason and the future of both programs. It might sound hyperbolic, but it’s true.

For Maryland, this is an opportunity to add another quality road win in Big Ten play. And more importantly, this will be a huge challenge for the Terps to keep pace with Purdue and Wisconsin in the Big Ten title race. Based upon the upcoming schedules, a loss here would likely keep Maryland out of a conference title this season.

On the other side, this could be a special day for the Wildcats. A win would effectively lock up an NCAA Tournament bid for Northwestern for the first time in program history and put the Wildcats in great position for seeding in March. It’s the kind of opportunity that, well, only comes around once.

Honorable Mention:

-Maryland Terrapins at Wisconsin Badgers

For the national market, this will be the game that attracts most of the attention for this week’s Big Ten. Both Maryland and Wisconsin were ranked on Monday and are set to meet in Madison on Saturday. As mentioned, these two are in the midst of an intense Big Ten title race and the loser of this game will likely be eliminated.

The matchup to watch here will be in the backcourt where Maryland’s Melo Trimble and Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig will likely meet. The two have been fantastic during their respective careers and this is a major opportunity to build on that legacy.

Notably, Maryland was also the last team to win in Madison before Northwestern snapped Wisconsin’s 19-game home winning streak on Sunday.

-Wisconsin Badgers at Michigan Wolverines

Thursday’s matchup between Michigan and Wisconsin could actually end up being the most exciting game the conference gets this week. Both teams have great offenses and have recorded some impressive wins over the last few weeks. And with NCAA Tournament implications for Michigan and Big Ten title implications for Wisconsin, there’s going to be a lot on the line in Ann Arbor on Thursday night.

The most interesting matchup will be upfront where Michigan’s Moritz Wagner and DJ Wilson will battle Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes. All four have been great this season and this will be a meeting between two of the more talented frontcourts in this year’s Big Ten.

Worst Game of the Week:

-Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio State Buckeyes

For the first time in quite some time, Rutgers didn’t land in the Big Ten’s Worst Game of the Week. Instead, this week’s matchup will feature Nebraska and Ohio State. The Cornhuskers have lost three of their last four games and the Buckeyes have lost their last two games.

Neither of these two teams is playing particularly well and both are well below .500 in Big Ten play this season. The only postseason implications from this matchup will be for Ohio State’s likely NIT hopes.

Season Stats:

-Game of the Week Appearances:

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

-Game of the Week Honorable Mention Appearances:

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

-Total Appearances:

  • Michigan State - 9
  • Wisconsin - 9
  • Maryland - 8
  • Indiana - 7
  • Purdue - 6
  • Michigan - 5
  • Northwestern - 5
  • Minnesota - 4
  • Ohio State - 4
  • Iowa - 3
  • Illinois - 1
  • Rutgers - 1

-Worst Game Appearances:

  • Rutgers - 8
  • Penn State - 4
  • Nebraska - 3
  • Illinois - 2
  • Indiana - 1
  • Maryland - 1
  • Michigan State - 1
  • Ohio State - 1