MBB: Game On

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Tonight tips off the 105th season of Big Ten basketball. All 11 teams will be in action opening week, beginning with two games tonight. Defending Big Ten Tournament champion and undefeated Purdue will open conference action on the road for the first time since 2006-07 when it takes the floor against Iowa while Minnesota prepares to host a clash of two high-powered offenses in its Big Ten opener versus Penn State. On Wednesday, Illinois welcomes a red-hot Northwestern squad to Champaign for an in-state Big Ten showdown, beginning at 8 p.m. from Assembly Hall. Four more programs tip off Big Ten play on Thursday as Indiana and Wisconsin play host to Michigan and Ohio State, respectively, with New Year's Eve festivities beginning at Noon ET on ESPN2 from Bloomington, Ind.  Michigan State will begin defense of its 2009 Big Ten title on Saturday as it travels to Welsh- Ryan Arena to face the 'Cats.
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The LINEUP

TUESDAY, DEC. 29

#4/4 PURDUE at IOWA | 7 p.m. | Big Ten Network | PUR Game Notes    IOWA Game Notes

Purdue will open Big Ten play on the road for the first time since 2006-07 on Tuesday when it takes the floor against Iowa. The Boilers are 1-3 in conference openers under head coach Matt Painter. The Boilermakers have won 16 of their last 17 games, dating back to last season. A win over the Hawkeyes would give Purdue 12-straight wins to open the season, marking the second-best start in school history and the longest winning streak in the Matt Painter Era. Purdue has outrebounded nine of 11 opponents this season, including each of their last seven to establish the longest streak during Painter's tenure as head coach.

Iowa, who owns the 36th toughest schedule in the nation and the hardest in the Big Ten, will be put to the ultimate test by hosting the number four team in the nation, Purdue, on Tuesday with a 6:05 p.m. start inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. According to coach Todd Lickliter, this game will be a perfect opportunity for Iowa to wipe the slate clean as both Iowa (5-7) and Purdue (11-0) open up Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes enter the game on their first win streak of the season, winning their last two games against Drake (71-67) and South Carolina State (82-69).

Put Backs: Iowa and Purdue are both streaking, with the Hawkeyes winning their last two contests and the Boilermakers their last 11. Purdue is averaging 79.4 points per game compared to Iowa's 64.7. The Boilers are holding opponents to 59.9 per outing. The Hawkeyes are 5-3 at Carver-Hawkeye arena, averaging 67.2 points at home. The Boilermakers are making their second true road game of the season and are 1-0 entering tonight's contest. On the boards, Purdue is averaging 37.6 caroms per contest while Iowa pulls down 32.6.

Series History: Purdue leads, 80-70


PENN STATE at MINNESOTA | 9 p.m. | ESPN2 | PSU Game Notes      MINN Game Notes

The Nittany Lions, who have had eight days off for the Holiday break, are coming off back-to-back hot shooting outings in victories over Gardner-Webb and American in which they shot better than 53 percent in each game. The consecutive 50 percent shooting games marked a first since the 2007-08 season for the Lions who are led by All-Big Ten point-guard Talor Battle. Battle enters Big Ten play as the number two leading scorer in the conference averaging 18.8 ppg. He will look to get help from sophomore Chris Babb and freshman Bill Edwards who have each posted back-to-back double-digit outings.

The Golden Gophers have posted a 9-3 record against non-conference teams to start the season. Big Ten openers have not been kind to Gophers the last 10 seasons. Minnesota will head in to the tilt against Penn State with a 3-7 record in those games, including a 72-75 loss to PSU in the 2003-04 opener. The Gophers have opened with Michigan State the last two seasons.Minnesota is playing it's sixth-straight game at the friendly confines of Williams Arena and has established a five-game win streak. The Gophers extended the streak to five games with a win over South Dakota State on Dec. 23.

Put Backs: Minnesota is averaging 80.8 points per game compared to Penn State's 69.8. The Gophers are ranked 26th in field goal percentage, shooting 48.8% while attempting 60.2 shots per contest. The Nittany Lions are ranked 192nd, shooting 43.4% while attempting 55.2 shots per game. Minnesota is shooting 39.6% from behind the arc while Penn State is 33.9%. Minnesota is 8-0 at Williams Arena this season and is averaging 88.5 points at home while holding opponents to 55.8 points. The Nittany Lions are 1-1 on the road and average 55.5 points away from home. The two teams are even on the boards with Minnesota averaging 37.6 and Penn State 37.2.

Series History: Minnesota leads, 16-4
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Up Next: WEDNESDAY, DEC. 30
Texas-Arlington at #11/11 MICHIGAN STATE | 7 p.m. | Big Ten Network

#25/- NORTHWESTERN at ILLINOIS | 9 p.m. | Big Ten Network




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