Big matchups of ranked men's basketball teams abound this week in Big 10, SEC
By AARON BEARD
AP Basketball Writer
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — It’s going to be a big week for the top teams in both the Southeastern and Big Ten conferences.
Eight of the nine ranked teams in the SEC and Big Ten have at least one matchup against a ranked league mate in the week ahead. The list includes top-ranked Tennessee’s trip to fifth-ranked Kentucky on Saturday, which is the headlining game on this week’s AP Top 25schedule filled with measuring-stick matchups for those conferences’ top teams.
“The next two, you have games that are Elite Eight games, Final Four games,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose surging Wildcats face against No. 19 LSU on Tuesday before hosting the Volunteers. “That is where we are playing now. Let’s see where we are.”
Tennessee (22-1, 10-0 SEC) has spent four straight weeks at No. 1 and hasn’t lost since Nov. 23, rolling to a school-record 18 straight wins in a streak that also stands as the longest of Rick Barnes’ head coaching career. The Vols host South Carolina (12-11, 7-3) on Wednesday before Saturday’s trip to Rupp Arena.
Kentucky (20-3, 9-1) has won 10 straight games entering the matchup with LSU, while the Tigers (19-4, 9-1) have won 12 of 13.
As for the Big Ten, the league has three ranked matchups this week.
On Tuesday, No. 11 Michigan State (19-5, 10-3) visits No. 20 Wisconsin (17-7, 9-4) while No. 12 Purdue (17-6, 10-2) travels to No. 24 Maryland (18-6, 9-4). Then the Terrapins get another challenge when they visit sixth-ranked and league-leading Michigan (22-2, 11-2) on Saturday.
By Sunday, those leagues could have some significant movement atop the standings.