After a relatively non-eventful set of Sunday games, the Big Ten will have its first Monday games of the season, including a massive matchup between defending national champion Villanova and Purdue. It should tell a lot about this upcoming season for both teams and both conferences.
You can preview all the games below. All spreads are based on KenPom.
Big Ten Game of the Day:
-Villanova at Purdue
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN
- KenPom Spread: Villanova (-2)
This is about as easy as it comes for picking a Game of the Day. The matchup is arguably the Big Ten’s best non-conference game of the season and should be an absolutely thriller between two really good programs coming off top 25 seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances. Plus, there’s no debating that Villanova’s status as the defending national champion adds a little extra spice.
While Purdue doesn’t need to win this game to have a great performance this season, this could be a huge resume win, especially if it comes this early. Purdue will have more opportunities (Arizona State, Louisville, Notre Dame) at big wins in non-conference play, but none come at home and none are this big.
The matchup to watch in this game will be in the backcourt, where Purdue will have to find a way to contain Phil Booth and Jalen Brunson. The two players who are going to have to show up will be Dakota Mathias and PJ Thompson. This could be one of their tougher challenges all year. If they can hold their own, it would be huge considering the advantage Purdue should have upfront.
- Pick Against The Spread: Purdue
-UT Arlington at Minnesota
- Time/TV: 8:00PM ET - BTN2Go
- KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-4)
For the second time this season, Minnesota will have a quietly good game at home. While UT Arlington didn’t make the NCAA Tournament last season, the team is coming off a 24-11 performance, which was highlighted by road wins over Memphis and Ohio State. The key battle will be in the backcourt, where Minnesota will have to hope to Erick Neal. Minnesota will need Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer to step up.
- Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota
-Eastern Washington at Northwestern
- Time/TV: 9:00PM ET - BTN
- KenPom Spread: Northwestern (-16)
Although Northwestern is facing a significantly better opponent than in its last game (92 spots higher on KenPom), Northwestern should still have a pretty easy route to a victory. That’s because Eastern Washington sits at just No. 245 nationally in KenPom rating. The one interesting thing to watch will be to see how Northwestern defends Felix Von Hofe, who had 21 points in Eastern Washington’s opener.
- Pick Against The Spread: Eastern Washington
-North Carolina Central at Ohio State
- Time/TV: 9:00PM ET - ESPNU
- KenPom Spread: Ohio State (-23)
The Buckeyes might have played a little too close for comfort on the road against Navy in the team’s last outing, but Ohio State now heads home for its home opener against North Carolina Central. The Eagles went 13-19 last season and had just one win over a top 300 KenPom team during the year. One thing to watch in this game will be whether newcomer CJ Jackson will continue seeing major playing time. He had 27 minutes in the last outing, thanks to his quality passing.
- Pick Against The Spread: North Carolina Central
Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 11-7