After a crazy week of games, including some great matchups in the annual Gavitt Games, the Big Ten is set for an intriguing Friday night of basketball. Only one game will likely come with much national intrigue, but a few pose opportunities for resume building wins that could be valuable later in the season.
You can preview all the games below. All spreads are based on KenPom.
Big Ten Game of the Day:
-Michigan vs SMU
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - ESPN2
- KenPom Spread: Michigan (-1)
With such mixed results during last season, many were wondering whether Michigan could turn the page and finally get back to what it had been earlier in John Beilein’s tenure in Ann Arbor. It’s still early, but through three games, things are trending in the right direction. Perhaps nothing was more indicative of that than Michigan’s 79-61 win over Marquette on Thursday night.
However, things should get tougher on Friday as the Wolverines face an SMU squad that has given Michigan major trouble the last few years, giving Michigan some of its worst losses of the last two seasons. As such, this is a great opportunity for Michigan to score what should be a marquee win and prove that this year should be different than the last two.
The matchup to watch in this game will be upfront. SMU roasted Michigan on the boards during the previous two meetings and will try to do that again with players like Sterling Brown, Ben Moore, and Semi Ojeleye. Michigan has seen nice things from Mark Donnal, Moritz Wagner, and DJ Wilson, but this will be their biggest test yet.
- Pick Against The Spread: Michigan
-Detroit at Illinois
- Time/TV: 8:00PM ET - ESPN3
- KenPom Spread: Illinois (-16)
Illinois is coming off three blowouts wins against overmatched competition and will look to add one more to that list on Friday night. Detroit is arguably the best team the Illini have faced this year, but the Titans are just 1-1, ranked No. 269 on KenPom, and coming off a 29-point loss to East Tennessee State. One key thing to watch will be how Illinois defends Josh McFolley, who has been great through Detroit’s first two games.
- Pick Against The Spread: Illinois
-Mississippi Valley State at Michigan State
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN2Go
- KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-31)
The Spartans opened the season with a brutal schedule (Arizona and Kentucky), but things will get much easier on Friday with a matchup against Mississippi Valley State. The Delta Devils are 0-3, ranked No. 343 on KenPom, and have lost every game by a margin of at least 30 points. The only interesting aspect of this game is that it will give Michigan State its first win of the season.
- Pick Against The Spread: Michigan State
-St. John’s at Minnesota
- Time/TV: 9:00PM ET - BTN
- KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-8)
If you’re looking for a sneakily good game on Friday night, it’s going to be this one. Both Minnesota and St. John’s have shown newfound life this season and look like they could finally be turning the corner. The two teams are both in KenPom’s top 100 teams and are a combined 5-0 on the year. The matchup to watch in this game will be Minnesota’s guards against shot blockers Bashir Ahmed and Kassoum Yakwe. Perhaps the most aspect of that battle will be how Minnesota can get to the lane.
- Pick Against The Spread: St. John’s
-Georgia State at Purdue
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN
- KenPom Spread: Purdue (-18)
The Boilermakers are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Villanova and will look to move forward against a respectable Georgia State squad. The Panthers have had a winning record in each of the last three seasons and will look to continue that success this season. Still, considering that Georgia State has no answer for Purdue inside, it’s hard to think this one will be all that close. The only way it can be close is if Georgia State can use its turnover-prone defense to get Purdue’s guards in trouble. As such, this will be a key game for Carsen Edwards, Dakota Mathias, and PJ Thompson.
Pick Against The Spread: Purdue
Thomas’ Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 14-8