Big Ten Weekend Look Ahead: Super Bowl Edition

Posted by Alex Moscoso on February 6th, 2016

It’s Super Bowl weekend and that means college basketball is pushed aside for nonstop professional football talk, party planning, and most importantly, the Puppy Bowl. Given the busy weekend, there’s a dearth of quality matchups around the conference this weekend. However, there are a couple of games worth carving out time for while you’re planning the big party. One is an intrastate rivalry that has grown in relevance now that both teams are consistent contenders for the Big Ten title. The other contest is the only Big Ten game this weekend that pits two ranked teams against each other. Here are your Big Ten games to watch.

The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry has been must watch TV since John Beilein has arrived in Ann Arbor . (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry has been must watch TV since John Beilein arrived in Ann Arbor. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

  • #10 Michigan State at Michigan (Saturday 2:00 PM ET, CBS). After getting run off the court at home by Indiana on Tuesday, this game is close to a must-win for the Wolverines in terms of Big Ten title contention. Michigan is not the most talented team in the conference – this was evident last Tuesday when the Hoosiers did whatever they wanted against the Wolverines’ defense – but their soft schedule in the final half of the conference play gave them a relatively easy trail to the title. This path is narrowing thanks to the debacle on Tuesday. On the other side of things, Michigan State is on a three-game winning streak that started with a momentum-launching victory over Maryland two weeks ago. Michigan presents the Spartans with their first test against formidable competition since that win over the Terrapins, and will serve as a barometer as to whether Michigan State has returned to its elite non-conference form, or if they are just riding an emotional win to two wins over bottom-tier opponents.

  • #18 Purdue at #4 Maryland (Saturday 4:00 PM ET, ESPN). This is the matchup of the weekend, as Big Ten fans finally get to see the two biggest and best frontcourts in the league do battle. A.J. Hammons versus Diamond Stone, Robert Carter against Caleb Swanigan, Vince Edwards battles Jake Layman – this should be a bruising game that’s won in the painted area. The problem for the Boilermakers – aside from having to play at the Xfinity Center – is they come up short when comparing talent in the backcourt. Purdue was once thought of as nationally elite in its defense of the perimeter, but the Boilers have been exposed in that area on occasion during conference play. Now they’ll face arguably the best point guard in the country in Melo Trimble, whose running mate Rasheed Sulaimon can also score in bunches. If the Boilermakers want to steal this game, they’ll need their perimeter defense, led by Raphael Davis, to return to that elite form and ensure this game is decided in the paint.
Alex Moscoso (170 Posts)

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