Can the flirtation continue? Purdue (13-8, 5-3) has sneakily put together a decent start in the Big Ten, and it is coming off big home victories over Iowa and Indiana. Can the Boilermakers continue the charge on the road at limping Northwestern (5 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU)?Without many opportunities for signature victories remaining, Matt Painter's bunch needs to take care of business if it wants to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012.
Banged up Iowa: A week ago, the Hawkeyes lost 6-9 senior Aaron White to a neck injury in a 67-63 loss to Purdue, and the Hawkeyes' leading scorer is questionable for Saturday's home game against Big Ten leader Wisconsin (11 a.m., ESPN). Iowa center Gabe Olaseni also tweaked an ankle in practice this week. No longer in the Top 25, the Hawkeyes are eager for a victory after a pair of road losses to the Badgers and Boilermakers.
In-state battle: Sunday's Michigan-Michigan State bout (noon, Ch. 4) isn't quite as exciting now as it looked at the beginning of the season. The Wolverines, even without Caris LaVert, are looking better than they did during their bizarre four-game nonconference losing streak, although they lack a meaningful conference victory. The Spartans, meanwhile, are still trying to prove they have grown from a sporadic start.