The Associated Press
A look at things to watch this week in the Big Ten:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Indiana at Northwestern on Sunday night. This is the first of two matchups between the Big Ten’s No. 1 offensive team and No. 2 defensive team. They meet against Feb. 25. The Hoosiers (14-6, 4-3), who play at Michigan on Thursday night, are scoring 85 points a game and have won four of their last five to get back into the conference race. Northwestern (16-4, 5-2) enters Thursday’s home game against Nebraska off four straight wins and is playing like a team determined to break through with the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid.
LOOKING AHEAD: No. 15 Wisconsin (17-3, 6-1) and No. 22 Maryland (18-2, 6-1) are tied for first place and don’t square off until Feb. 19. The Badgers have three games left against kenpom.com top-40 teams and five on the road. The Terrapins have five games left against top-40 teams and six on the road, including three of their next four.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Caleb Swanigan, Isaac Haas and Vincent Edwards have shot 111 of Purdue’s 143 free throws in Big Ten play. Swanigan leads the nation in both rebounding (12.7) and double-doubles (17). … Northwestern, at 5-2, has its best Big Ten record since 1967-68. … Iowa freshman Cordell Pemsl leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage, at 62.6 percent. A freshman has led the Big Ten in field-goal percentage in each of the past two years (Indiana’s Thomas Bryant in 2015-16 and Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate in 2014-15).
PLAYER TO WATCH: Nebraska needs Tai Webster (18.1 ppg) to bounce back in a hurry. The senior guard had a tough shooting day and dribbled the ball off his foot to set up Rutgers’ game-winning possession last Saturday. The Cornhuskers (9-10, 3-4) take a four-game losing streak into their game at Northwestern, and No. 20 Purdue comes to Lincoln on Sunday.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Second-place Ohio State (17-5, 7-1) continues to rank among the nation’s top offensive teams. After scoring a school-record 86 points a game in 2015-16, the 15th-ranked Buckeyes are averaging 86.4 this season. Kelsey Mitchell leads the Big Ten and is sixth in the country at 22.7 points game. … Big Ten-leading and third-ranked Maryland (19-1, 7-0) takes a seven-game win streak into its Thursday game at Illinois (8-12, 3-4).
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Eric Olson in Omaha, Nebraska.
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