February 02, 2017

A look at things to watch this week in the Big Ten:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 23 Purdue at No. 17 Maryland on Saturday. Maryland (20-2, 8-1) is tied atop the league with No. 10 Wisconsin, and the Terrapins open the second half of their conference schedule with a tough matchup. In its nine conference games, Maryland has a defensive rebounding percentage of only 65, the worst mark in the Big Ten. Purdue (18-5, 7-3) may be able to exploit that weakness with center Isaac Haas and forward Caleb Swanigan.

LOOKING AHEAD: Michigan State topped rival Michigan at home last weekend, 70-62. The rematch at Michigan comes up quickly on Feb. 7. Both teams have a solid chance to win in the interim - Michigan State at Nebraska on Thursday night and Michigan at home against Ohio State on Saturday night.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Opponents have shot 48.9 percent from 3-point range against Michigan in league play. ... No. 25 Northwestern lost 80-59 to Purdue on Wednesday. The Wildcats' previous four losses this season were by a combined 19 points. ... Peter Jok of Iowa leads the league in scoring at 21.0 points per game. The last Big Ten league leader to finish the season that high was Kris Humphries of Minnesota, at 21.7 in 2004. ... Indiana beat Penn State 110-102 on Wednesday night in the first triple-overtime game at the Hoosiers' Assembly Hall.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Wisconsin's Ethan Happ is tied for eighth in the Big Ten in scoring at 14.5 ppg - but he's the only player in the top 10 without a single 3-point field goal. Also, he's only shooting 50 percent on free throws. All 224 of Happ's shots from the field this season have been from inside the arc, and the 6-foot-10 forward has made 61 percent of them.

ON THE WOMEN'S SIDE: No. 3 Maryland (21-1, 9-0) beat Illinois last Thursday and Iowa on Sunday, easily reaching 20 wins for the 13th consecutive season. ... Michigan (17-5, 6-2) is off to the best start in program history. The Wolverines have been 16-6 at this stage as recently as 2012-13.


Compiled by AP Sports Writer Noah Trister in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


More college basketball at www.collegebasketball.ap.org

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