Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Who needs it more tonight?

Tonight, both the Gophers and Boilermakers play vital games on their Big Ten schedule. Both teams have slid a bit lately and both surely need a win tonight as they enter the home stretch of the regular season. Which team needs a win more tonight?  Neither team is very good, and at this point, the only thing I can think that separates the two teams is that Purdue beat Minnesota. But which team needs to win more tonight? I argue that it's Purdue.
Despite the fact that ESPN's Bracketology has Purdue in and Minnesota out currently, I would say that the truly "must win" game belongs to Purdue. It has more to do with the opponent each team is facing, rather than the situation for the team. Surely, Minnesota needs to win a couple of more games, but it would be hard to say that a loss to the #6 team in the country, Michigan State, would make things much worse for them.
On the other hand, Purdue is playing Nebraska. If the Boilermakers start losing to teams like Nebraska or Penn State down the stretch, they are in a much less enviable situation. The Gophers likely need to beat Michigan State, Indiana or Wisconsin (as well as their season finale against Nebraska) to remain in contention, but losing in any of those three games specifically doesn't make things worse for them. Purdue, on the other hand, would play themselves out of the tournament, perhaps, if they lose to Nebraska today.
I would say that would mean Purdue needs a win more this evening, right? Of course, I would prefer both teams win this evening. Let's hope both squads can make it happen.

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