MBB: Saturday's Slate

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PENN STATE at IOWA | 1 p.m. ET | Big Ten Network
PSU Game Notes | IOWA Game Notes

The Iowa Hawkeyes (6-11, 0-4) will wrap up a stretch of playing seven of eight at home Saturday when Penn State (8-8, 0-4) visits Iowa City. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. ET inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Saturday will be the only regular season meeting between Iowa and Penn State as both teams look to notch their first win in conference action this season.

Iowa recently snapped a four-game losing skid with a victory over Tennessee State on Tuesday evening. The Hawkeyes were led by sophomore Aaron Fuller, who notched his first career double-double posting game and career highs with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow sophomore Matt Gatens leads the team in overall scoring with 12.8 points per game - a common trait of the Hawkeye squad as underclassmen have combined to generate eighty-one percent of Iowa's offense (870 of 1,068 points) this season.

The Nittany Lions will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak of their own when they travel to Iowa City after suffering a heartbreaking one-point loss at Illinois earlier in the week. Sophomore Chris Babb led the team against the Illini with a career-best 15 points and 10 rebounds. Also powering the PSU offense is junior Talor Battle, who ranks second in the conference in scoring with 17.6 tallies per contest.

Penn State brings the Big Ten's second-best defense into the game giving up just 61.2 ppg and having held seven opponents to 60 points or less on the season. Penn State also ranks second in rebounding margin in the Big Ten having out-rebounded all four of its Big Ten opponents and 13 of 16 opponents on the season while posting a 5.5 rebound advantage.  Iowa has also earned a spot on the Big Ten leaderboards, ranking second in the conference with an average of 8.4 threes per game. The Hawekeys have certainly not been shy about shooting the long ball, having more than 48.9% of its field goal attempts coming from downtown.

The Big Ten Network will televise Saturday afternoon's game to a national cable audience. Craig Coshun and former Hawkeye Kenyon Murray will call the action.

Series History: Iowa leads 21-11.

 

ILLINOIS at #7/8 MICHIGAN STATE | 3:30 p.m. ET | CBS Sports
ILL Game Notes | MSU Game Notes

Saturday marks a showdown of the only undefeated teams in Big Ten play, as Illinois faces Michigan State in a battle for first place in the conference standings. The Illini (12-5) are off to a 4-0 start in Big Ten play for the first time since 2005, and just the fifth time in the last 40 seasons. The Spartans (14-3) are also off to a perfect 4-0 start in the Big Ten and own a 33-18 advantage against Illinois when playing in East Lansing. As if a matchup showcasing the Big Ten's two lone unbeatens is not enough, the stage grows even bigger as the all-time series stands knotted at 53 wins apiece. 

After giving up more than 80 points in three consecutive games against Missouri, Northwestern and Gonzaga, the Illini have allowed an average of just 51.7 points over the last three games - all against conference opponents. The Illini have four players averaging double-digits in scoring, including juniors Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis, who lead the Big Ten in assists (5.9 apg.) and rebounds (9.7 rpg.), respectively.

Michigan State will be looking to extend its perfect 10-0 slate from inside the Breslin Center on Saturday. Through 16 games, Michigan State has proven it has several different offensive weapons as five Spartans currently average in double figures. Junior point guard Kalin Lucas paces the Spartan offense at 15.5 points per game. 

CBS will provide live coverage of the Big Ten matchup with Gus Johnson and Greg Anthony calling the action.

Series History: Tied, 53-53


#6/6 PURDUE at NORTHWETERN | 5:30 p.m. ET | Big Ten Network
PUR Game Notes | NU Game Notes

Purdue and Northwestern will look to return to their winning ways as the two teams collide for a Big Ten showdown in Evanston, Ill., at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Both teams enter Saturday's contest after dropping their previous games at home against Big Ten rivals, Ohio State and Wisconsin, respectively.

Purdue (14-2, 2-2) recently lost its second consecutive game after starting the season 14-0. The sixth-ranked Boilers have not surrendered more than two-straight games since dropping five in a row from Feb. 18-March 9, 2006 - during head coach Matt Painter's first season at the helm. Despite the losses, Purdue remains of just four Division I teams with two wins over teams ranked in the top 10.

The Boilers are led in scoring by juniors E'Twaun Moore (17.1 ppg.) and Robbie Hummel (16.4 ppg.). During Tuesday's game against Ohio State, Hummel tied Purdue single-game record with eight treys en route to career-high 35 points. In the last three games, the 6-8 sharpshooter has posted two double-doubles and connected on 17-straight free throws. 

Currently leading the Big Ten with an average of 9.44 three-pointer field goals made per contest, Northwestern will meet its match when it goes up against a Purdue defense that is limiting opponents to just 28.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc on the road this season. The Wildcats are led in scoring by sophomore John Shurna (17.4 ppg.) and NU floor general Michael Thompson (14.0 ppg.) who also leads the conference in minutes played, averaging 38.12 minutes of action per outing this season.

Purdue owns a 118-42 lead in the all-time series after splitting a pair of meetings a year ago. The Boilermakers have won the last three meetings at Welsh-Ryan Arena, and own a 52-29 all-time record in Evanston.

Series History: Purdue leads, 118-42.

 

#13/16 WISCONSIN at OHIO STATE | 8 p.m. ET | Big Ten Network
WIS Game Notes | OSU Game Notes

On New Year's Eve, then-ranked No. 15 Ohio State left the friendly confines of Columbus, Ohio, to open the conference season at No. 23 Wisconsin. The game resulted in a 65-43 decision in favor of the Badgers in what would be the first of three-straight Big Ten losses on the road for OSU. On Saturday night, the Buckeyes will have a second chance when they complete the season series against UW from inside Value City Arena.

The two teams are red-hot after each handing Purdue its first pair of losses on the year. Ohio State is 3-3 versus ranked teams in the AP-Top 25 this season and 3-1 with a full roster, including leading scorer Evan Turner. The Buckeye junior missed six games this season with a back injury, but has since returned and is averaging 26.5 points and 11.8 rebounds against ranked opponents - most recently posting 32 points and 10 rebounds at sixth-ranked Purdue. The Buckeyes will look to Turner for a spark against the Badgers as they seek to protect their perfect 10-0 home slate.

OSU is shooting 53 percent as a team at home this season and 43 percent from long range. But Wisconsin will look to turn OSU's hot-hand from scarlet to gray as the Badgers come armed with a conference-leading scoring defense. In 17 games, Wisconsin has limited opponents to a mere 56.6 points per game while also leading the Big Ten in rebounding defense (29.9 rpg.). Bo Ryan's squad is the only team with four wins over the AP-Top25 so far this season. The Badgers are led in scoring by senior Trévon Hughes, who sank four of five treys in the final seven minutes of Wednesday's contest at Northwestern in leading the Badgers to a 60-50 victory over the Wildcats.

Series History: Ohio State leads, 80-64.
 

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