Michigan State looks to clinch outright Big Ten crown

A look at the upcoming weekend around the Big Ten:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Michigan State at Wisconsin. The Spartans clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title after defeating Illinois 81-61 on Tuesday night, and they can grab the outright title with a win over the Badgers. Michigan State is 15-2 in conference play with one game remaining, while every other Big Ten team has at least three conference losses.

LOOKING AHEAD: The league wraps up conference play on Sunday, a week earlier than usual, with the Big Ten tournament in New York this year. Michigan plays at Maryland in the only game on Saturday. Illinois plays at Rutgers, Northwestern plays at Iowa and Minnesota is at Purdue. Penn State travels to Nebraska on Sunday in what could prove to be an NCAA Tournament elimination game for the loser.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Tony Carr, Penn State. Carr entered Wednesday’s game against Michigan with a league-leading 19.6 points per game, with Keita Bates-Diop at 19 points a game. Carr has scored at least 30 points on four different occasions in 2017-18, including last week against the Buckeyes.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Iowa entered Wednesday night’s game at Minnesota ranked third in the league in scoring offense but last in scoring defense. …Michigan State’s scoring differential in plus-17.9. …Gophers big man Jordan Murphy is a near-certain lock to win the league rebounding title, with 332 of them through 29 games. …Carr is second in the league in 3-point percentage behind Cassius Winston, who at 54.2 percent is the only Big Ten play over 50 percent from beyond the arc. Winston is also on pace to league the league with seven assists a game.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: The Big Ten couldn’t get a team into the Top 10 this week. Maryland was ranked 13th and Ohio State was 14th. … Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder moved into sole possession of second place on the Big Ten career coaching wins list on Sunday with her 177th regular-season conference victory, 88-61 win over Wisconsin. Bluder, now in her 18th season with the Hawkeyes, is 177-119 in Big Ten games. …Minnesota beaten three Top 25 opponents in the same season for the first time since 2004-05.

Compiled by AP Sports Writer Luke Meredith.

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