As the road to the NCAA Tournament becomes clearer for many, the grind of the regular season has begun to chew some squads up. The Badgers are among many teams that are amidst key stretches in their schedules across the country.
B5Q gives you a breakdown of the top games to watch from February 13 to February 19.
**Please note that team records are reflective as of Thursday 2/13/20 in the morning**
Both teams are currently looking up at Houston in the American standings, but Cincinnati is within striking distance. A big home match up with Memphis gives them a chance to not only bolster their resume, but also climb in the conference pecking order.
Indiana has been a bit of a headcase this year. A four game skid has left them in the proverbial doghouse of the Big Ten, and in scramble mode. A big game against Iowa at home could be the perfect recipe to get back on track.
Is Colorado a basketball school now? The Buffaloes are in first place in the Pac-12, and have their biggest test of the year against Oregon. The Ducks are only a game behind in the conference standings, so this is a marquee game Thursday night out west.
The college basketball slate is extremely weak Friday night. Go enjoy your Friday night, or Valentines Day, doing something more fun.
Purdue is .500 in Big Ten play, with most of their wins occurring at home. The Boilermakers have won two straight road games of late, can they make it three against an Ohio State that is looking to rebound after a loss to Wisconsin?
Kansas is firmly in the mix for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas handled the Sooners in Norman earlier this year. There is very little reason for thinking anything will change during the second go-round.
Oklahoma State has not done great all year long, but they have a chance to play the role of spoiler against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders had a magical run last season, and have some key pieces back.
Wisconsin is a heavy favorite in this game, but Nebraska recently held their own against a very good Maryland team. The Badgers have a chance to get a big road win before coming home for two straight games. This is essentially a must win for Bucky.
Illinois is coming off of a devastating close loss at home to Michigan State. The crux of the issue for the Illini though is the apparent injury to top player Ayo Dosunmu as time expired. His health will be important to monitor in anticipation of this game.
Other afternoon games of note:
This game could be very good. Michigan State hit a rough stretch the past two weeks, but got a nice win over Illinois on the road. Maryland, on the flip-side, has been on an absolute tear, winning seven straight. Michigan State is only a game and a half behind Maryland in the conference, so this game has some major implications.
North Carolina has had down year in 2019-2020, but the return of Cole Anthony has given the team a lift. While the Tar Heels continue to struggle in the ACC, they nearly knocked off Duke last weekend. Virginia could be in for a tough game.
No. 21 Iowa Hawkeyes (17-7) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-11) at 12 p.m. CST on FS1
Iowa has their second tough road game of the week against Minnesota. Both teams have one of the best big men in the conference in Luka Garza and Daniel Oturu. Whichever forward can win that duel should help shape the outcome of the game.
Indiana Hoosiers (15-8) at Michigan Wolverines (14-9) at 12 p.m. CST on CBS
Another good Big Ten game on Sunday. Michigan secured a huge victory over Michigan State recently, but they have been far from consistent this season. Indiana has tumbled down the conference standings thanks to four straight losses. This is a big game for both team’s tournament chances.
Other Sunday games of note:
Xavier Musketeers (16-9) at St. John’s Red Storm (13-11) at 5:30 p.m. CST on FS1
Saint John’s is likely out of contention for the NCAA Tournament, but they could hurt Xavier’s resume if they can knock off the Musketeers. Madison Square Garden will have a good game on it’s hands Monday night.
Iowa State Cyclones (10-13) at No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (21-3) at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN
This match up has routinely been one of the best games in the Big-12 over the past five years. Iowa State’s rough season, and the key loss of top player Tyrese Haliburton takes some of the shine off of this game however.
No. 22 Illinois Fighting Illini (16-8) at No. 13 Penn State Nittany Lions (19-5) at 5:30 p.m. CST on FS1
Two of the better teams in the Big Ten square off early Tuesday. Penn State’s reemergence has been impressive to watch, while Illinois is in the middle of a tough stretch of games. The Nittany Lions are winners of seven straight games, can they keep that rolling?
Purdue Boilermakers (14-11) at Wisconsin Badgers (14-10) at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN
Wisconsin got smacked by Purdue when they visited Mackey Arena earlier this season. The Badgers will look to return the favor Tuesday night on national TV. Wisconsin will need to do a much better of rebounding against Purdue this time though if they want to win.
Fiserv Forum should be bumping for this ranked contest between Creighton and Marquette. As it currently stands, this game could help determine who gets the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, but Creighton’s big win over Seton Hall gives them a chance for the No. 1 spot as well.
Both teams are 9-2 in conference, and are tied atop the SEC leaderboard. This game marks the only time that these two teams are destined to meet in the regular season, so it will have significant impact on the conference race.
Other Tuesday night games to watch:
Your No. 13 Nittany Lions capture 7th-straight win, 4th-straight road 88-76 at Purdue. Five in double figures for Penn State, Watkins with double-double, Harrar & Lundy with career bests in scoring. Recap & stats: https://t.co/xY76wtQAyb ⚪ #ClimbWithUs
— Penn State Men’s Basketball (@PennStateMBB) February 12, 2020
No. 19 Butler Bulldogs (18-6) at No. 10 Seton Hall Pirates (18-6) at 5:30 p.m. CST on FS1
Despite their near .500 record in the Big East, Butler is one of the better teams in the country. A likely top six seed in the NCAA Tournament, they should give a really tough Seton Hall team all they can handle. The Pirates have a firm grasp of the top spot in the conference currently, can they keep it?
Michigan Wolverines (14-9) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (17-7) at 6 p.m. CST on BTN
Another good match in the Big Ten, Rutgers is having one of their best seasons in memory. This represents the third game for Michigan in a span of seven days, will fatigue play a part in this one?
No. 7 Duke Blue Devils (21-3) at NC State Wolfpack (16-8) at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN
NC State has flown under the radar this season for the most part nationally, but they took down the Badgers early in the season in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Duke has perennially been the cream of the crop in the ACC, can their secondary rival take them out?
Other Wednesday night games to watch:
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