Five Must-See Days of Action During B1G Conference Play

Posted by Brendan Brody on December 27th, 2013

After a non-c0nference stretch that saw six B1G teams ranked at one point or another, and a combined record of 116-29 as of December 26 for the 12 teams in the league, conference play starts in earnest on December 31. Many storylines and potential subplots are sure to emerge during the conference season, so here is a quick guide giving you five key days when you have to be glued to your TV if you’re a follower of the league. Go ahead and clear your calendars now.

 Will Sheehey will play an important role when the Hoosiers take on Illinois on December 31st in Champaign (AP Photo/Michael Conroy).

Will Sheehey will play an important role when the Hoosiers take on Illinois on December 31 in Champaign (AP Photo/Michael Conroy).

December 31

  • Ohio State at Purdue (1:00 PM, ESPN2)
  • Indiana at Illinois (3:00 PM, ESPN2)
  • Michigan State at Penn State (5:00 PM, BTN)
  • Nebraska at Iowa (7:00 PM, BTN)

The first day of conference action is highlighted by a rematch of the classic Indiana-Illinois game from last season that made Tyler Griffey a household name. Purdue, Penn State, and Nebraska all get their first chances to notch a statement win if they can knock off their Top 25 opponents.

January 7

  • Ohio State at Michigan State (9:00 PM, ESPN)

This one should speak for itself. A Michigan State team gets a chance to redeem itself a little bit as Sparty will take on what very well could be an undefeated Ohio State squad on this date. This game is a chance for one of the two teams to make an early statement that it will be the team to beat in both the league and nationally.

January 22

  • Iowa at Michigan (7:00 PM, BTN)
  • Wisconsin at Minnesota (9:00 PM, BTN)

This is the best of the Wednesday night doubleheader games broadcast on the Big Ten Network, with Michigan-Iowa a clash of teams that have two of the most efficient offenses in the country butting heads to determine who belongs among the top four of the league. After that, Wisconsin travels to The Barn, where Minnesota will look to speed up the methodical, disciplined Wisconsin attack.

February 1

  • Ohio State at Wisconsin (12:00 PM, ESPN)
  • Northwestern at Minnesota (2:00 PM, BTN)
  • Michigan State at Georgetown (3:00 PM, Fox Sports 1)
  • Iowa at Illinois (7:30 PM, BTN)

The Ohio State-Wisconsin game could be a battle of the #1 and #2 teams in America if they are both still undefeated then. Michigan State gets a chance for what should be a resume booster with a true road game in DC against the Hoyas, while Minnesota cannot afford to lose a game like this at home to Northwestern if the Gophers want to make the Tournament. The last game of the day pits Iowa in Champaign, where Illinois is extremely hard to beat — the Illini will need this one and the crowd will be raucous.

February 4

  • Ohio State at Iowa (7:00 PM, ESPN)
  • Wisconsin at Illinois (9:00 PM, BTN)

All of these teams could be ranked at this point, and both games will be worth watching regardless. Ohio State might struggle if Iowa can limit its turnovers, while the Illini will challenge the Badgers by playing tough defense and exploiting them with their size by owning the boards.

There are plenty of other days when there are Big Ten games worth watching, but these are the five days on the conference calendar that fans should makre sure to not miss. Look for more content from our microsite in the days leading up to the beginning of conference play.

Brendan Brody (139 Posts)

Brendan Brody is in his second season covering the Big Ten for RTC. He has a strange accent that is the result of being born on the South Side of Chicago, combined with the regional dialect of Northern Virginia from living there for 20 years. His thoughts are sometimes just as jumbled as said dialect. Email him at brendan.brody@gmail.com, or follow him on twitter @berndon4.


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