Big Ten battles highlight hoops slate

For football lovers like me, this weekend's NFL divisional playoff games can't come fast enough. But while we wait it out, counting down the hours, at least there are some good hoops games to help pass the time. In college ball, there are some good battles for both the men and women in the Big Ten, and in the NBA two teams that saw their streaks snapped last night try to get back in the win column.

Women's college basketball: The 10th-ranked Michigan State Spartans look to improve to 4-0 in Big Ten play when they host No. 20 Iowa. The Spartans are the only undefeated team in conference play; they ride an impressive 13-game win streak into tonight's contest. The Hawkeyes have won the teams' past two meetings and three of the past four, but they've been inconsistent in Big Ten play, dropping two straight conference games before bouncing back with wins against Minnesota and Ohio State.

Men's college basketball: It's a battle of Big Ten teams on the men's side as well, as No. 8 Purdue visits No. 25 Minnesota. The Boilermakers put a 10-game win streak on the line as they try to start conference play 5-0 for the first time since 1989-90. They're led by a pair of senior stars, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, both of whom are averaging over 18 points a game.

NBA: One night after the Clippers snapped their 13-game road win streak, the 30-10 Heat will try to rebound against the Nuggets in Denver. Carmelo Anthony looks to be headed out of town any day now, but he'll continue to suit up in Nuggets baby blue until a deal is done. His team owns an impressive eight-game home win streak against Miami, who may be without LeBron James, who is recovering from an ankle sprain suffered in Wednesday night's loss. The Magic's run for a franchise-best 10-game win streak fell short last night, as they lost to New Orleans. Dwight Howard and company start anew in Oklahoma City tonight against a Thunder team that's won three straight. Miami and Orlando mourned the end of their streaks, but Washington would love to put an end to its unenviable skid. The 10-26 Wizards haven't yet won a road game this year and would fall to 0-19 away from home with a loss to Minnesota tonight.

NHL: The Flyers look for a fifth straight win tonight when they visit the Northeast Division-leading Bruins. The Rangers will try to avoid losing to the Canucks for a fifth consecutive time, but they'll have their hands full, as Vancouver has scored at least a point in 17 straight games. Out in San Jose, the Sharks look to avoid their first six-game home losing streak in almost 14 years when they host the Oilers. Edmonton has lost five straight on the road.

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