So much for my thinking that Michigan State would be the team most likely to knock off the Badgers at the Kohl Center. Led by Jason Bohanon's 19 points Wisconsin controlled the game from start to finish in their 67-49 win over the Spartans, and the visitors suffered a crucial loss in the second half when Kalin Lucas went down with a sprained ankle. It's unknown how long the point guard will be out and with games against Illinois and Purdue coming up Lucas' health is critical.
Michigan State takes on Madison and the Grateful Red on Tuesday night, and with a win the Spartans take another step towards their goal of winning the Big Ten title. Winners of ten straight, Tom Izzo's team has gotten the job done thanks to four players averaging in at least ten points per game. Point guard Kalin Lucas has played better basketball since being benched earlier in the season due to leadership issues, and forwards Raymar Morgan and Draymond Green have been essential pieces to the puzzle as has Durrell Summers.
Game of the Night: No. 16 Wisconsin at No. 10 Purdue
Wednesday night doesn't lack for appealing matchups on the hardwood, with one of the best rivalries in the Big East last decade sharing the stage with key games in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 ad Mountain West. Connecticut, who can use a "big" win this season, hosts a resurgent Pittsburgh squad that is one of two Big East teams still undefeated in conference play. Ashton Gibbs has stepped up in recent weeks and the return of Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon has given Jamie Dixon's team more depth on the perimeter.
Watching the Connecticut/Georgetown game should have been enough of a clue that some interesting things were likely to happen on Saturday. In what was essentially two games for the price of one the Hoyas came back to win 72-69 at the Verizon Center, their fourth consecutive win over the Huskies. The first twenty minutes went about as well as the Huskies could have hoped, shooting 50% from both the field and from three (4-8) on their way to a seemingly commanding 40-25 lead. Georgetown shot just 29.6% from the field and had eight turnovers to just four assists.
The Mountain West schedule makers hit the nail on the head with their opening week slate, scheduling games between the four teams expected to compete for the regular season title. On Tuesday San Diego State defended their home floor with a win over New Mexico but it remains to be seen how long Billy White (high ankle sprain) is out of the lineup. Wednesday's showdown will be in Provo, with UNLV visiting BYU in a game that should be an entertaining one. The Rebels have depth and will need to use their defense in order to beat one of the best scoring teams in the nation.
The final day of the decade also offers conference openers in both the Big Ten and Pac-10 with the best matchup being Ohio State visiting Madison to take on Wisconsin. Bo Ryan's club has been dominant during his tenure at the school in Big Ten home games, boasting a record of 61-5 in those games. Trevon Hughes is arguably playing the best basketball of any point guard in the conference and with the Buckeyes still without Evan Turner points could be even tougher to come by.