Game of the Day: Michigan St. Vs. #14 Maryland; 4 PM ET; CBS; Spread: MD -3
Melo Trimble and the Maryland Terrapins left the Breslin Center on December 30th with one of its biggest wins of the season. The Spartans lost a disappointing double overtime 68-66 thriller to this Terrapin squad on just 32% shooting and 14 first half points. Now, the Spartans will be traveling to Maryland for revenge.
Both teams have responded nicely after the conference opening game in East Lansing. The Spartans have won their last three beating Indiana and Northwestern at home and stealing one on the road against Iowa. The Terrapins find themselves atop the Big Ten conference with a 4-1 record and its only Big Ten loss coming to Illinois in Champagne. The outcome of this game will certainly have a major impact on how the Big Ten conference will play out. Whichever of these two teams wins will undeniably have the upper hand in challenging Wisconsin for the Big Ten title.
Be sure to watch carefully how both Travis Trice and Melo Trimble respond to the re-match that looms this Saturday. Both players led their teams in their last meeting with 26 and 17 respectively. Though they are certainly impact players, it will be important to see which team will gain the upper hand inside the paint, as that team should have a definitive advantage. Maryland was able to control the rebound battle last time out with a 46-35 advantage. If Jake Layman and Damonte Dodd can control the battle of the boards over Branden Dawson and company, it could be a long night for the Spartans in what's sure to be a packed house at the Xfinity Center.
Rutgers vs. Minnesota; 12 PM ET; BTN; Spread: MINN -12.5
Could the Gophers get their first Big Ten win this weekend? It would certainly be a step in the right direction for a Minnesota squad that has lost its first 5 Big Ten games including a recent heartbreaker at home against Iowa in which a buzzer beater layup was waved off after time expired.
Rutgers is coming off a huge home win against Wisconsin and a 73-65 loss to Maryland in which they stuck with the Terrapins all game. Myles Mack is averaging 20 points over his last two games, and if the Gophers don't slow him down early, this game could be close than the spread indicates.
Purdue vs. Penn St; 1 PM ET; ESPNU; Spread: PSU -1.5
Penn St. comes into this home matchup against the Boilermakers in desperate need of a win. After a 12-1 start to the season, the Nittany Lions have lost their last 4 including a recent matchup against Indiana in which a buzzer beater three pointer was ruled to be too late.
After an impressive start to the Big Ten season with wins over Minnesota and Michigan, the Boilermakers have now lost two straight. To Purdue's credit, its last two losses came to Wisconsin and Maryland, both top 15 teams, but that does not discredit their need for a win on Saturday to get back on track. One of these teams will be in better shape after this game whereas the other will fall into a hole.
Ohio State vs. Iowa; 2 PM ET; ESPN; Spread IOWA -1.5
Aside from the game in Maryland, this one may be the second biggest one of the day. Iowa and Ohio State both find themselves in the upper half of the Big Ten standings and will look to capitalize in a key matchup. The Buckeyes have struggled on he road this year winning only 1 of 4 away from home, but the Hawkeyes blew a double-digit halftime lead to lose to Michigan State last week. If D'Angelo Russell and Marc Loving play to their full potential, they may find success on the road, but the bottom line is that this one could go either way.
Northwestern vs. Michigan; 8:15 PM ET; BTN; Spread: MICH -8
Both teams in this matchup have seen high levels of inconsistency recently, and the outcome of this game will depend on what team shows up to play. Though Michigan has overcome double digit deficits twice at home to win, they recently dropped a 19 point loss to Ohio State on the road.
On the other hand, Northwestern battled with the Spartans in East Lansing and forced OT (though they went on to lose), but also finds itself 1-3 in the Big Ten. Both teams boast large amounts of talent; they will need to get over slumps that they have been known to fall in if they want to win this one.