Here's what you need to know for Friday, Jan. 19:
Game of the night
Indiana at Michigan State, 7 p.m., ET, FS1
The Hoosiers are 4-2 in the Big Ten, tied with the Spartans. No one, come on, no one could have predicted that a month ago. But give the Hoosiers a ton of credit -- they blitzed Northwestern by 20 Sunday, have moved on without De’Ron Davis, who is done for the season and they are catching Michigan State at its worst stretch of the season. The Spartans have sputtered lately, losing at home to Michigan and badly at Ohio State with a tight game sandwiched in between against Rutgers. Michigan State has been looking at how Nick Ward can be more effective out of double teams. That means finding cutters and shooters more effectively. Indiana isn’t a tournament team —for now. But what if Indiana were to win Friday night? If that happens, everything changes.
East Lansing, MI pic.twitter.com/oovDiRjHJb— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) January 18, 2018
St. Bonaventure at Davidson, 7 p.m., ET, ESPN2
The Bonnies lost a chance to gain ground on URI by losing by 14 in Kingston last Saturday. URI is going to win the A-10, barring a complete collapse. If the Bonnies want a chance at an NCAA berth, they must go on a crazy run. Beating Davidson on the road would help the cause and at the very least get them to .500 in the league. Davidson is 4-1 in the A-10 and has three scorers who can go off on a given night in Peyton Aldridge, Kellen Grady and Jon Axel Gudmundsson.
Say hello to Buffalo’s CJ Massinburg
The junior guard is averaging 18 points a game for the Bulls. Buffalo is the only undefeated team remaining in the MAC. Western Michigan is 3-2 and has the potential to be in the chase for the MAC tournament title. Thomas Wilder, like Massinburg, has been putting up quality numbers, averaging 17.6 points a game. Expect a typical MAC affair, a high-quality game that flies under the radar.
Welcome back to the top of the MAAC: Iona
The Gaels struggled in the non-conference at 7-7 and then split the opening weekend for conference play, beating Niagara in overtime before losing to Canisius. Since then, Iona has won four in a row. Monmouth is struggling at 1-4. If Iona is going to win the regular season, the Gaels have to win games against the bottom of the conference.
Searching for a win
Illinois at Wisconsin, 9 p.m., ET, FS1
The Illini are the best winless team in any conference, period. Illinois lost late-possession games to Iowa and Nebraska, but this team is close. Brad Underwood said they have to stop turning the ball over to have a chance. Wisconsin probably won’t put them in that position, but Illinois could disrupt the Badgers and force the issue. Wisconsin is sub .500 overall in mid-January. That just doesn’t happen.