Mar 31, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft (4) lays the ball up between Kansas Jayhawks forward Thomas Robinson (0) and Elijah Johnson (15) during the first half in the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA men

Big Ten Basketball What to Watch: Weekend of December 21st

This weekend the Big Ten has eight games in total scheduled and here’s what to watch. These are my six things to look at over the weekend.

Mar 31, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft (4) is defended by Kansas Jayhawks center Jeff Withey (5) during the first half in the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA men

1) 10 Illinois, 20 Michigan State, and 7 Ohio State will have very tough “home” games this Saturday (Illinois is listed as home, but at a neutral site). Both the Illini and the Buckeyes will be facing ranked opponents. Illinois will play 12 Missouri (in St. Louis), Ohio State will play 9 Kansas (Final Four rematch), and Michigan State will play Texas.

2) On top of playing tough match-ups, 10 Illinois, 7 Ohio State, 13 Minnesota, and 20 Michigan State are the only ranked Big Ten teams playing this weekend.

3) The best two scorers in the Big Ten are Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State) and Brandon Paul (Illinois). Thomas leads the Big Ten with 20.4 points per game and Paul is second with 18.8 points per game.

4) The Ohio State Buckeyes will play a tough Big 12 foe in the 9 Kansas Jayhawks. Jeff Withey is currently leading the nation to blocks with 5.4 blocks per game. The Jayhawks are averaging 8.7 blocks per game as a team (2nd in the nation).

5) The Missouri Tigers are nearly the best rebounding team in the nation. Illinois will have their hands full at the boards. Mizzou is ranked 2nd in the nations with 46.1 rebounds per game (0.01 behind 1st place Cincinnati).

6) The two top blockers in the Big Ten are Jared Berggren (Wisconsin) and Andre Almeida (Nebraska). Berggren and Almeida both lead the conference with 1.8 blocks per game.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

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Tags: Basketball Big Ten Brandon Paul Deshaun Thomas Illinois Fighting Illini

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