A look at the upcoming week around the Big Ten:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Purdue at Wisconsin. This matchup Friday night features arguably the best guard (Purdue’s Carsen Edwards) and best frontcourt player (Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ) in the league. The Badgers (11-4, 3-1) may be the team with the best chance to challenge No. 2 Michigan (15-0, 4-0) and No. 6 Michigan State (14-2, 5-0) at the top of the conference, but that path will become a lot harder if Wisconsin can’t defend home court against teams like Purdue. The Badgers already dropped a Big Ten home game to Minnesota .
LOOKING AHEAD: Aside from Wisconsin, two other teams have one loss in conference play: Maryland (13-3, 4-1) and No. 22 Indiana (12-3, 3-1). Those teams meet Friday night at Maryland, and they’ll be tested again soon after that. The Terrapins have a home game against Wisconsin on Monday night, followed by trips to No. 16 Ohio State and Michigan State. The Hoosiers host Nebraska on Monday, then play at Purdue. We should know in the next couple weeks if Maryland and Indiana are serious contenders.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Even after losing Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson to the NBA, Michigan State is rolling . The Spartans are led by point guard Cassius Winston, who leads the Big Ten with 7.4 assists per game. Winston has scored at least 23 points in four of Michigan State’s past five games, and the one time he didn’t reach that total, he had 12 assists.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Michigan is one of two unbeaten teams left in Division I, but Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency rankings don’t have the Wolverines projected to win the conference. Michigan State is projected to go 16-4 in the Big Ten, with Michigan at 15-5. Nebraska is ranked 16th in the country by Pomeroy, but the Cornhuskers already have three conference losses and are projected to finish five games behind Michigan State.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Indiana improved to 3-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2008-09 when the Hoosiers knocked off Michigan State on Sunday. At No. 25, Indiana is ranked in the AP poll for just the fifth week in school history. Next up for the Hoosiers is a pair of road games – at Ohio State on Thursday night and at Wisconsin on Sunday. Indiana and Rutgers are the only remaining teams that are unbeaten in Big Ten play.
More AP college basketball: http://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25
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