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Big Ten Basketball Viewers Guide: Jan. 14, 2015

Last night ended with a barn burner in “The Barn” (pun intended), as Iowa beat Minnesota by literally 0.1 of a second. It sent Minnesota back to the winless category and Iowa remained in the Big Ten title hunt early on this season.

Tonight we’ve got the “Super Wednesday” slate on BTN and while it isn’t quite as juicy as two big time rivalry games, there are some intriguing storylines at play. We’ve got the newcomers tangling for the first time as Big Ten members and we’ve also got a battle for the Land of Lincoln….oh wait, we aren’t talking football.

Anyway, we’ve also got the two Illinois-based schools tangling in Evanston, IL and that means Wednesday is a good night for tuning in to some Big Ten basketball.


Rutgers (10-7, 2-2 B1G) at No. 14 Maryland (15-2, 3-1 B1G)

Time: 7pm ET


Why You Should Watch: Rutgers is coming off one of the biggest upsets in Big Ten history, taking down No. 4-ranked Wisconsin at the RAC. Can it shock the college basketball world in back-to-back games? It will get a chance while facing the widely held second-best team in the Big Ten, Maryland.

Plus, if you haven’t seen Melo Trimble, Dez Wells and Jake Layman play for the Terps you need to get up to speed fast. While everyone wants to talk about the trio of great players the Badgers have, Maryland has the same set up, only spread around the floor.

Look for Maryland to be in a good mood after finally coming home following a road trip to Illinois and Purdue this past week.

While this could be a blowout, anytime you get to see Trimble, Wells and Layman play is a good day in my book.


Illinois (11-6, 1-3 B1G) at Northwestern (10-6, 1-2 B1G)

Time: 9pm ET


Why You Should Watch: Much like last night, we have a rivalry game (that may be a stretch here) or at least an in-state battle taking place. Both teams really need this game in the worst possible way.

After a shocking win against Maryland on the day they found out about star guard RayVonte Rice’s injury, the Illini went out and laid a massive egg at Nebraska — losing 53-43. The loss highlighted the fact that this team can’t win many defensive battles and that if it is off on the jump shooting it could be in severe trouble.

Northwestern happens to love playing that exact type of game, and while they are young, the Wildcats have plenty of talent to compete if they can slow the game down. This one will be all about tempo, and if we see a game in the 50’s or 60’s that plays right in to the hosts hands.

The winner could used this game as a springboard up the standings, the loser runs the risk of sinking further towards the bottom of the Big Ten. It’s an important game, but it may not be the prettiest to take in on your TV screens.


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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