Unfortunately there are only three Big Ten games being played tonight, with no rank teams set for action. While there are no ranked teams playing; Michigan, Wisconsin, and Northwestern will get to represent the Big Ten in tonight's set of games. Michigan and Northwestern are playing really well right now, while Wisconsin is still trying to find their groove after losing to Marquette. Below are the game previews for tonight.
Game of the Night: Texas A&M-CC vs. Wisconsin Badgers (9:00 PM ET| BTN)
The Badgers have five losses already this season even though last season the team only had four losses for the entire year. Yes, there has been a big drop off in talent for the Badgers after they lost their dynamic duo in Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. They did welcome back two impact players from last year's Final Four team in Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, but so far they have not been enough to make Wisconsin look like an NCAA tournament team.
Freshmen Ethan Happ has been a bright spot for the Badgers, but the team still needs to find more options on the offensive end not named Koenig or Hayes. Their next game against Texas A&M-CC should be a win for the Badgers, but with this team it is hard to say any game is an easy win. Hopefully the Badgers can start to find their groove before Big Ten play starts.
Many people predicted that the Badgers would have a down year, but not many people thought they would get off to this bad of a start seeing the fact that the team still has two great players and coach Bo Ryan. The Badgers did beat a good Syracuse team, as well as VCU, so they do have what it takes to compete with some of the better teams in the nation.
They still have a lot of work to do if they want to make the NCAA tournament; so hopefully they will not lose to a much weaker Texas A&M-CC team tonight. While the start to their season has been rough, it's not too big of a hole to climb out of just yet. That being said, a loss tonight would be a very bad loss to add to the resume.
- Northern Kentucky vs. Michigan Wolverines (7:00 PM ET| BTN)
The Wolverines are starting find their niche, even though they were blown out by SMU on Dec. 8. Caris LeVert went 1-13 in that game against SMU, which is crazy to believe, and his shooting woes against SMU probably won't happen again (or at least tonight against Northern Kentucky). LeVert is averaging 17.4 points per game and he has been playing like an all-Big Ten player this season.
Michigan should walk all over Northern Kentucky after they demolished Delaware State in their last game and watch for LeVert to keep playing at an extremely high level. It will be interesting to see how the team will adjust down the line without Spike Albrecht providing depth in the backcourt, but that will likely matter little in tonight's affair.
- Mississippi Valley State vs. Northwestern Wildcats (8:00 PM ET)
Watch for the Wildcats to dismantle this team, but this will not turn many heads around the nation because the team has still not had a big win this season despite their impressive record. Their biggest games will come in conference play because their non-conference opponents have all been painfully weak other than North Carolina.
Northwestern has been great so far this season, but they still have not had any big games to prove themselves. The best part about Northwestern's resume so far is that they lost to North Carolina by 11 points. This game against Mississippi Valley State will not be a resume builder, and the Wildcats should win with ease. The unfortunate side effect of scheduling so poorly is the reality that all of these games are essentially must wins for the Wildcats, as a so-so resume won't benefit at all with their dreadful non-conference strength of schedule.