GAME OF THE WEEKEND
No. 21 Illinois at Michigan, Saturday. The Illini (14-5, 6-2) are tied for first place in the league following No. 11 Michigan State’s loss at Indiana on Thursday night. That’s a big deal for Illinois, that hasn’t finished above .500 in conference play since 2010. Coach Brad Underwood’s team has won five straight games, and the Illini currently faces. The Wolverines (11-7, 2-5), who have been injured forward Isaiah Livers, have dropped three in a row and four of the last five. Illinois shield Alan Griffin has been suspended two games Tuesday, for stepping on Purdue’s Sasha Stefanovic at a match. Illinois beat Michigan 71-62 if the teams met in December.
No. 19 Iowa (14-5, 5-3) has won four straight and will host Wisconsin (12-7, 5-3) on Monday night. A win there could establish a tiny showdown between the Hawkeyes and No. 17 Maryland (15-4, 5-3) later next week. Michigan State’s loss Thursday left seven groups at the top of the league within a game of each other.
PLAYER TO WATCH
After scoring only 10 points united against Ohio State and Rutgers, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis rebounded with 18 against Nebraska last weekend and 12 in the win over Michigan State. The 6-foot-9 freshman leads the Hoosiers in rebounding and scoring.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Rutgers is back in the AP Top 25 for the first time in 40 years. The Scarlet Knights were No. 24 this week. It was the first time Rutgers was ranked since the AP poll of the 1978-79 season. The Scarlet Knights lost at Iowa on Wednesday. … Big Ten home teams are now 44-11 in league play, but four of those losses came in the past 3 days. Northwestern and Purdue lost on Tuesday, Wednesday, Michigan fell, Thursday and Ohio State went down. … Purdue and Wisconsin are a couple of the slowest-paced teams in the country, standing 347th and 350th (out of 353 teams) in the adjusted rate by kenpom.com.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE
No. 22 Northwestern (17-2, 7-1) extended its winning streak to five with an 85-59 rout of Penn State along with a 76-48 win at Michigan State. The Wildcats are tied together with No. 19 Iowa for first place. The Hawkeyes (16-3, 7-1) have won seven in a row after beating Ohio State 77-68. Next up for Northwestern is a match at No. 20 Maryland on Sunday. The Terrapins (15-4, 6-2) have won four in a row, such as a 76-62 victory over No. 17 Indiana on Monday.