B1G Basketball Weekend: 1/24/14

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Previewing the upcoming weekend of Big Ten basketball.

The weekend slate includes five Big Ten games with the highlight undoubtedly being Saturday's matchup between #3 Michigan State and #21 Michigan. Other storylines include Iowa hoping to bounce back on the road against a Northwestern team that has won two straight conference games, Wisconsin attempting to break their three game losing streak at Purdue, Minnesota looking for their 5th conference victory at Nebraska and Illinois and Indiana playing a game that (hopefully) resembles basketball.

Overall Standings:

Big Ten

W

L

CONF

HOME

ROAD

Michigan State

18

1

7-0

9-1

5-0

Michigan

14

4

6-0

8-1

3-2

Iowa

15

4

4-2

11-0

1-3

Minnesota

15

5

4-3

12-1

2-2

Wisconsin

16

3

3-3

10-1

3-2

Purdue

13

6

3-3

10-1

2-2

Ohio State

16

4

3-4

13-1

2-3

Northwestern

10

10

3-4

8-4

2-4

Indiana

12

7

2-4

10-2

1-3

Illinois

13

7

2-5

9-2

1-4

Nebraska

9

9

1-5

8-1

0-6

Penn State

10

10

1-6

7-5

2-4

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

#10 Iowa (15-4) @ Northwestern (10-10)

Where: Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston, Illinois
When: 11:00AM CT
TV: BTN
Breakdown: Fresh off a road loss to Michigan, the Hawkeyes get no rest as they head to Evanston and kick off the B1G weekend with a morning game against the Wildcats. Iowa is hoping Devyn Marble and Aaron White get things going a little earlier and don't have to sweat this one out. Meanwhile, Northwestern has won a surprising three conference games (don't even act like you aren't surprised) and is led by senior Drew Crawford who is one of the Big Ten's hardest working players.
Bottom Line: Iowa will be favored but they're only 1-3 on the road, albeit all of those losses have been to top 25 teams. Northwestern will look to pounce on the Hawkeyes but Iowa should prevail in the end.

#9 Wisconsin (16-3) @ Purdue (13-6)

Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Indiana
When: 4:00PM CT
TV: BTN
Breakdown: Remember when Wisconsin was 16-0? That was impressive. Now they're 16-3 with losses to Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota. The loss to Michigan isn't bad, the loss to Minnesota gets better by the day but the loss to Indiana? Bucky NO. Now the Badgers are sitting at 5th place in the conference standings. Purdue is also sitting in 5th place in the conference standings and is coming off a double overtime loss to Northwestern. Interestingly enough, the home team has been favored the past two meetings and both times they were upset by the visitor. Also interesting, the winner has gone back and forth in the past six games, with Purdue winning the latest matchup.
Bottom Line: The trend(s) say Wisconsin.

#21 Michigan (14-4) @ #3 Michigan State (18-1)

Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan
When: 6:00PM CT
TV: ESPN
Breakdown: A dark cloud hangs over Michigan State heading into Saturday's game. News broke (no pun) that one of their top rebounders, Branden Dawson, broke his hand (by slamming it down in a film session...WHY?!) and will miss four to five weeks. Add to the fact that Adreian Payne may not be ready to play due to a foot issue and you've got a Spartan team that is looking for answers in a few positions. Michigan, on the other hand, is flying high. Led by Aaron Craft Jr. Nik Stauskas, the sophomore guard who seemingly cannot miss (I SEEN IT), the Wolverines are off to a liquid magma 6-0 start in conference with wins over top 10 teams Wisconsin and Iowa. Of note: the home team has won the past five meetings.
Bottom Line: With Dawson out, Payne hobbled and Michigan on a hot-streak, all signs point to Michigan pulling the upset (if they're even favored).

Sunday, January 24th, 2014

Illinois (13-7) @ Indiana (12-7)

Where: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
When: 2:00PM CT
TV: BTN
Breakdown: Both teams enter Sunday with losing streaks. Indiana suffered a home loss against Northwestern and then notched another L in East Lansing. Illinois, on the other hand, is on a five game losing streak and only has conference wins against Penn State and...Indiana. The Hoosiers have one of the better home records in the Big Ten and Illinois is 1-4 on the road. Furthermore, the home team has won the previous seven meetings.
Bottom Line: Hoosiers?

Minnesota (15-5) @ Nebraska (9-9)

Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska
When: 5:00PM CT
TV: BTN
Breakdown: Wait, so you're telling me that Minnesota is sitting at 4-3 in conference with their only losses coming from Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa and they beat Wisconsin? BIG TEN = BONKERS. Really though, you've gotta be impressed with the job Pitino has done in his first year and the play of Dre Hollins. Nebraska is also riding high after their monumental win over Ohio State at Pinnacle Bank. Wait...what? The Cornhuskers followed that up by promptly losing to the worst team in the Big Ten? Oh... but I should point out that the home team has won the past three meetings.
Bottom Line: Minnesota is feeling great right now. Go with Goldy and Baby Pitino.

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