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Big Ten Basketball Weekend Primer: Vol. 1

(Each weekend we’ll give you all the information on all the games, give you a look at the most important games and potential upsets to watch here in our B1G Weekend Primer) 

While the Big Ten football season is in full swing, and a lot of attention will be placed there, the best basketball conference in the country will take to the court for the first time in the 2014-15 season. The weekend will feature every one of the now 14 teams opening their seasons, and 18 games in total.

However, with this being the opening weekend it also means some rather insignificant matchups and very little challenge for most teams in the conference. So, let’s take a look at the schedule and what you should be watching for as Big Ten basketball begins another season — its 110th season of basketball as a conference.

Weekend Schedule:

Friday, Nov. 14
Mississippi Valley State at Indiana, 7 p.m……………… BTN
UMass-Lowell at No. 20 Ohio State, 7 p.m…………..BTN Plus
Morgan State at Penn State, 7 p.m…………………BTN Plus
Samford at Purdue, 7 p.m. ……………………………BTN Plus
Wagner at Maryland, 7:30 p.m. ………………………..ESPN3
Minnesota vs. No. 8 Louisville, 7:30 p.m…………….ESPN
Houston Baptist at Northwestern, 8 p.m. ………..BTN Plus
Georgia Southern at Illinois, 9 p.m…………………….ESPN3
No. 18 Michigan State at Navy, 9 p.m……..CBS Sports Network
Northern Kentucky at No. 3 Wisconsin, 9 p.m. ………..BTN
Hampton at  Iowa, 9:30 p.m……………………..ESPN3

Saturday, Nov. 15
Hillsdale College at No. 24 Michigan, 2 p.m. ………ESPN3

Sunday, Nov. 16
UT-Chattanooga at No. 3 Wisconsin, 1 p.m……. ESPNEWS
Northern Kentucky at No. 21 Nebraska, 2 p.m……..BTN Plus
IUPUI at Purdue, 3 p.m………………………………………. BTN
Fordham at Penn State, 5 p.m…………………………….. BTN
Coppin State at Illinois, 6 p.m………………………..BTN Plus
George Washington at Rutgers, 7 p.m………………….. BTN

—–

Best TV Viewing: Minnesota vs. No. 8 Louisville

29913742001_3886990162001_Pitino-Son-vsAs the season opens, this is easily the best game of the weekend. It also happens to be the only game of the weekend that features two teams from “Power 5” conferences. Oh, and if you haven’t heard it will also be father against son, as the Gophers Richard Pitino takes on his famous father Rick Pitino and one of the preseason favorites nationally, Louisville.

On the court this could also be one of the better non-conference games played by the Big Ten, as Minnesota is a team heading in an upward direction quickly. DeAndre Mathieu, Dre Hollins and an intriguing front court will get a test right out of the gate. Let’s see if they can handle the style and the length the Cardinals can put on the perimeter.

It will also be the best game of the weekend because these two teams will be playing in front of U.S. Military members in an airplane hangar on the island of Puerto Rico.

Lock of the Week: Hillsdale College at No. 24 Michigan

The only D2 vs. Big Ten matchup of the week promises to be the easiest of matchups. The only question is if the Wolverines will lay off enough to not score 90-plus points after raising the 2013-14 Big Ten regular season championship banner.

Hillsdale wasn’t bad last season, going 18-9 overall and 14-9 in GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) play. The GLIAC is one of the better D2 conferences in the country, but still its hard to see them really challenging the Wolverines in any real aspect. The Chargers will get the payday and head back to campus happy to have had the experience.

Sleper Game: George Washington at Rutgers

If ever there was a strictly football move for the Big Ten, it was adding Rutgers to the fold. In basketball terms this team isn’t very good, and come Sunday we could find out just how low this program is on the totem pole. That’s because George Washington finished last season third in the Atlantic 10, finished the year 24-9 overall and were a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Oh, and did we mention this is a Colonials team that won over both Big Ten newcomers last season? GW also happened to beat Creighton in the non-conference slate last year as well. So, don’t expect them to be scared by the B1G patch on the jersey of the Scarlet Knights.

If one wants to find a game where the Big Ten takes a loss in the opening weekend, then I’d look directly at this one.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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