Streaking Spartans face struggling Hoosiers on Saturday
A look at the upcoming week around the Big Ten Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 5 Michigan State at Indiana, Saturday. The third-place Spartans (21-3, 9-2) have won five straight and six of seven after their 76-68 victory over Penn State on Wednesday night. Other than a home game against third-ranked Purdue next week, Michigan State’s schedule is not overly challenging the rest of the way. Indiana (10-4, 5-6) is looking for some mojo after losing three straight and four of five during a seven games-in-18 days stretch that continues until Feb. 5.
LOOKING AHEAD: Nebraska (17-8, 8-4) has won 10 of 13 games and is tied for fourth place. Still, the Cornhuskers’ margin of error is slim in their quest for an NCAA Tournament bid. No. 58 in the RPI on Wednesday, they own a victory over Michigan but otherwise are short on quality wins. None of their final six regular-season games are against opponents with winning Big Ten records. Lose one or two of those games, and they probably will find themselves needing to win at least a couple games in the conference tournament.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Purdue senior forward Vincent Edwards averaged 24.5 points, 6 rebounds and 3.5 assists in wins over Michigan and Indiana. He shot 61.5 from the field (16 of 26) and 82.4 percent (14 of 17) from the free-throw line in the two games. He had a career-high 30 points with five rebounds and five assists against Michigan, going 9 of 11 from the field, 3 of 3 on 3-pointers and 9 of 10 from the line. In league play, he’s averaging 17.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 46.5 percent on 3s.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson was 7 for 7 from the field against Indiana on Tuesday and has made 11 in a row after going 4 for 4 against Penn State. Wesson is the second OSU player to make 10 consecutive field goals after Jae’Sean Tate hit 14 straight against Texas Southern and Northeastern. … Michigan, ranked sixth in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (9.9), committed a season-low five while forcing 16 against Northwestern on Monday. … Iowa had two players get double-doubles against Minnesota on Tuesday. Jordan Bohannon had 20 points and 10 assists and Tyler Cook had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Michigan State (14-8, 4-5) has lost three straight and sits on the NCAA bubble going into its home game against Iowa on Thursday night. The injury-plagued Spartans slide started when 11th-place Indiana outscored them 33-14 in the first quarter of a 69-65 loss. They never were in a 74-48 loss to then-No. 16 Michigan. They led then-No. 12 Ohio State briefly in the third quarter of their last game only to be outscored 28-15 in the fourth and losing 78-62. The Spartans, looking for a third straight NCAA appearance, play the top three teams in the Big Ten among their final seven games.
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