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Bracketology 2024: Akron, Drake, and Gonzaga highlight first-place battles this weekend

Akron Zips head coach John Groce has a moment with forward Enrique Freeman during the second half of
Akron Zips head coach John Groce has a moment with forward Enrique Freeman during the second half of / Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Purdue Boilermakers (20-2, 9-2 in Big Ten) at Wisconsin Badgers (16-5, 8-2 in Big Ten) Sunday, February 4th, 1:00 PM ET, CBS

The top two teams in the Big Ten race off on Sunday afternoon in one of the toughest places to play in the conference when No. 2 Purdue takes on No. 6 Wisconsin in the Kohl Center. From a bracketology point of view, this is a big game for both teams. Not only is the top spot in the Big Ten on the line, but this game will surely impact the top two seed lines.

Since losing to Nebraska, the Boilermakers have reeled off seven straight wins and the closest result was an eight-point win over Rutgers. After losing to that Nebraska team on Thursday, the Badgers will sit in second place in the league standings at 8-2 a half-game behind Purdue.

When we look towards March, this is a big opportunity on the road for Purdue because not only will it add to their already top-notch resume with a quad 1 road win, but should keep the other No. 1 seeds in the bracket away from the overall No. 1 seed. Greg Gard and company have quietly been going about their business in Madison, having now gone 15-3 since beginning the year 1-2 after back-to-back losses to Tennessee and Providence.

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For the Badgers, holding serve at home would mean creating a little bit of separation between themselves and Purdue in the standings. It would also mean, at least for the time being solidifying themselves on a very competitive No. 2 seed line.