The Big Ten will have a total of 10 teams in action on Black Friday, highlighted by Wisconsin's battle against Oklahoma in the Battle of Atlantis. The Badgers are considered by most to be the Big Ten favorites and serious Final Four candidates. The Sooners have been playing very well this season and could pose a serious challenge.
With that, let's jump into the action for Friday.
Game of the Day
#2 Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma - 4:30 PM ET (ESPN/WatchESPN)
This is shaping out to be a huge showdown in Atlantis. Wisconsin faced a pesky Georgetown team on Thanksgiving and after being down for significant challenges were able to come back and snag the win. For Wisconsin, that was a win that showed the strength of this team. Their starting lineup really did not do all that much and star Frank Kaminsky did not have a great game himself. Still, even with these struggles they were able to get the win. This team is very good and are looking to beat another good team in Oklahoma.
The Sooners have put together a pretty good stretch themselves. They have recorded back-to-back wins over UCLA and Butler, which is never an easy task. To add in that both wins were by more than 10 points and on neutral courts shows the significance of those wins. Really, aside from a slim 2 point loss on the road against a good Creighton team, Oklahoma has performed like a very good team all season. Wisconsin should pose their toughest test this season, but Oklahoma has plenty of their own firepower. Watch for Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodward in this one.
Illinois vs. Baylor - 10:30PM ET (FS1)
The Illini are set to get their toughest game of the young season with a game against Baylor in Las Vegas. The Bears are currently 5-0 and are coming off wins over Memphis and Stephen F. Austin. In Fact, Baylor beat Memphis 71-47 in their last game in pretty dominating fashion. The big players for Baylor have been Kenny Chery, Royce O'Neale, and Taurean Prince. All three have been big this season and Illinois will have their hands full in stopping them. For Illinois, they will need big games out of Kendrick Nunn and Rayvonte Rice to get the offense going.
UNC Greensboro at Indiana - 9:00PM ET (BTN)
The Hoosiers are coming off one of their most disappointing losses in recent memory at home against Eastern Washington. Though it was largely just a game that got "out of hand," it was a bad loss from the fact that Indiana has historically played so well at home. In this one, they get a terrible UNC Greensboro game at home. UNC Greensboro is just 1-4 and has already lose to four teams that are rated #142 or lower on KenPom. If Indiana cannot run away with this game, it will be a big red flag.
Maryland vs. Monmouth - 7:00PM ET (BTN)
The Terps are coming off two big wins against Arizona State and Iowa State and are now coming back home to face a heavily overmatched Monmouth team. Maryland is a heavy favorite in this game, but as reported on Friday morning, star guard Dez Wells will be out for this game. The big thing to watch will be how Maryland looks to replace Dez Wells now that he is out. Look for Richard Pauk and Dion Wiley to see increased minutes and for Melo Trimble to get more minutes at the point. Otherwise, this should be a pretty easy win for the Terps.
Michigan State vs. Marquette - 9:00PM ET (ESPN2)
The Big Ten will get their second matchup with Marquette on Friday night with Michigan State facing the Golden Eagles. Ohio State recorded a win over Marquette earlier this year and the Spartans are looking to extend the streak. The Golden Eagles are 3-2 this year with losses coming to the Buckeyes and Nebraska Omaha. It is worth noting that although Omaha is statistically a pretty weak team, they have performed pretty well and are probably underrated. The Spartans should have a pretty good matchup in this game and definitely should have a size advantage. Look for the Spartan frontcourt to have a big game in this one.
Minnesota vs. Georgia - 4:30PM ET (ESPNU)
The Gophers will get their third big challenge of the season in Georgia and will look to secure their first quality win over the year. The Bulldogs are rated #65 overall on KenPom and are coming in in a relatively similar position. Georgia has already faced a solid Georgia Tech team and a good Gonzaga team, but has yet to score a win over a quality team. Essentially, both of these teams are in pretty similar situations. Still, Minnesota has played well for segments and should feel decent about scoring a win against Georgia. Watch for Georgia's Charles Mann and Marcus Thornton.
James Madison at Ohio State - 4:00 PM ET (BTN)
The Buckeyes will be facing James Madison on Friday afternoon in another snoozefest. This is OSU's fifth game of the season and as the KenPom ratings sit right now, the Buckeyes have yet to face a Top 100 team. In short, this should be an easy win for Ohio State. The notable players to watch should be D'Angelo Russell and Shannon Scott as they continue to put up huge numbers.
UT Martin at Nebraska - 8:00PM ET (ESPN3)
The Cornhuskers will get Tennessee Martin at home on Friday night in a follow-up game to their matchup with Nebraska Omaha earlier this week. Nebraska is looking to have a better showing in this game and put it away early against a pretty weak team. It will be important that the Cornhuskers do not look ahead to a matchup with Florida State early next week on the road. Watch to see if Walter Pitchford can have a rebound game in this one after a few shaky performances.
Penn State at Bucknell - 4:00PM ET
The Nittany Lions will be looking for revenge on Friday afternoon with a rematch against Bucknell. Last season, Penn State lost to Bucknell at home, but this year Penn State will be traveling to face the Bison. Bucknell is just 2-4 on the season and look like a weaker team than last year. The only Big Ten team to play Bucknell so far this season was Michigan, who ended up winning by 24 over the Bison. The key players to watch for Bucknell are Chris Hass and Dom Hoffman.
Vanderbilt vs. Rutgers - 7:00PM (NBCSN)
The Scarlet Knights are coming off one of their worst losses in recent memory and are looking to rebound against a pretty solid Vanderbilt game. If Rutgers is looking to salvage their non-conference season, this will be a big game for the team and a chance to prove that the first few games were just an aberration. The key players for Vanderbilt will be Wade Baldwin, Damian Jones, and Riley LaChance.