Huge Ten grind highlights marquee matchups of ranked groups

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The Huge Ten Convention had an astonishing 9 of its groups ranked within the Prime 25 within the newest ballot Monday.

Naturally, the very best ranked of them would instantly lose to an unranked opponent.

Maryland’s victory over sixth-ranked Wisconsin on Monday evening — together with No. 21 Minnesota’s rout of No. 17 Michigan State — units the stage for what could possibly be an epic begin to the brand new yr within the improbably deep Huge Ten.

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Tenth-ranked Iowa, recent off its time beyond regulation loss to the Golden Gophers, takes on No. 19 Northwestern on Tuesday evening whereas No. 14 Purdue hosts Rutgers. Nebraska heads to No. 25 Ohio State on Wednesday, and Minnesota faces the Badgers and No. 16 Michigan tries to stay unbeaten in opposition to the Terps on New Yr’s Eve.

All earlier than the weekend even begins.

The Hawkeyes proceed their brutal schedule at Rutgers on Saturday, when Purdue heads to No. 15 Illinois and Michigan State visits the Cornhuskers. The weekend wraps up Sunday with Wisconsin visiting Penn State, Northwestern heading to Michigan and Ohio State touring to Minnesota in a pair of matchups involving ranked groups.

Prepare for a wild begin to 2021 within the Huge Ten.

GONZAGA GETS A BREATHER

After blowing out then-No. 16 Virginia, giving the Bulldogs a file 4 wins in opposition to Prime 25 groups within the first seven video games of a season, coach Mark Few’s workforce lastly will get a breather this week. Gonzaga ran roughshod over Northern Arizona on Monday evening within the make-up of a recreation canceled earlier in December attributable to COVID-19, then turns round to face Dixie State on Tuesday evening. The Bulldogs’ breezy week concludes Saturday in opposition to San Francisco.

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“They’re the very best we’ve performed thus far,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett stated, “and seem like well-deserving of that rating.”

OTHER TOP 25 TUSSLES

Two groups which have navigated their first six video games with no loss meet Wednesday evening when seventh-ranked Tennessee visits No. 12 Missouri within the Southeastern Convention opener for each groups.

On Saturday, the Atlantic Coast Convention takes heart stage. No. 18 Florida State performs No. 20 Duke in solely the third recreation for the Blue Devils since Dec. 4, and No. 23 Virginia performs No. 24 Virginia Tech in a showdown of colleges separated by about 150 miles of Interstate 81. The Hokies have already got wins over groups that had been ranked in Villanova and Clemson.

BIG 12 BATTLES

The Huge Ten has probably the most groups within the Prime 25 however the Huge 12 could have the very best — the league has 5 groups ranked within the high 13. And two of the very best meet at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday when No. 8 Texas visits third-ranked Kansas.

Second-ranked Baylor added a late tune-up in opposition to Central Arkansas on Tuesday evening earlier than touring to Iowa State on Saturday. No. 9 West Virginia heads to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State visits No. 13 Texas Tech the identical afternoon.

OUTSIDE THE POWER 5

Fifth-ranked Houston has navigated a schedule marked by a showdown with the Pink Raiders and three postponements attributable to COVID-19 with no loss. The Cougars must be heavy favorites in opposition to Tulsa on Tuesday evening earlier than a marque recreation within the American Athletic Convention in opposition to unbeaten SMU on Sunday.

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No. 11 Creighton performs its first recreation since beating then-No. 22 Xavier on Dec. 3 when it visits Windfall on Saturday.

In the meantime, Villanova needs it may play anyone proper now. The fourth-ranked Wildcats paused their season Sunday when coach Jay Wright examined optimistic for COVID-19. Their recreation in opposition to the Musketeers on Saturday has been postponed however no choice has been made for the subsequent three Huge East video games in opposition to DePaul, Marquette and Connecticut.

“Our gamers have been very diligent and disciplined with all the COVID protocols,” Wright stated in an announcement issued by the varsity. “Sadly, we’ve had two workers members check optimistic. I’m considered one of them. My signs are delicate, and we stay related as a workforce and workers by cellphone and Zoom.”

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