Dec 31, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Oto Osenieks (10) celebrates a basket during the first half against the Michigan State Spartans at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Basketball What to Watch: Week of January 7th

This week, the Big Ten has six conference games scheduled over four days that features eleven Big Ten teams. Here are my six things to look at over this week in the Big Ten.

December 4, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Trey Burke (3) shoots the ball over Western Michigan Broncos forward Darius Paul (24) in the first half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

1) Six out of the eleven Big Ten teams are ranked coming into this week of play. These teams are the #2 Michigan Wolverines, the #5 Indiana Hoosiers, the #8 Minnesota Golden Gophers, the #12 Illinois Fighting Illini, the # 15 Ohio State Buckeyes, and the #22 Michigan State Spartans.

2) The #2 Michigan Wolverines come into this week with a perfect 15-0 record. They will look to stay perfect against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Wednesday night.

3) This Wednesday also features a match-up between two ranked Big Ten teams. #8 Minnesota will travel to Champaign, Illinois to take on #12 Illinois. The Illini will be looking for their second straight win over a #8 ranked opponent. They defeated #8 Ohio State in Assembly Hall on Saturday.

4) #8 Minnesota is simply the best defensive team in the Big Ten. They are not just leading the conference with 6.7 blocks per game, but also lead the Big Ten with 9.9 steals per game.

5) Four Big Ten teams are still looking for their first conference win of the season. These teams are the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and the Northwestern Wildcats. Penn State and Nebraska will have tough opponents as they play Michigan and Indiana respectively. However, Thursday night’s game between Northwestern and Penn State could be between two teams with zero conference wins.

6) Each week, it looks like Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State) and Brandon Paul (Illinois) are the best scorers in the conference, but Trey Burke (Michigan) looks to be moving in. Thomas and Paul are still the top two in the Big Ten with 20.2 and 18.5 points per game respectively. However, Burke is third with 18.2 points per game this season.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

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Tags: Basketball Big Ten Illinois Fighting Illini Minnesota Golden Gophers Trey Burke

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