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11/19 Big Ten Preview: Penn State Faces Duke

Preview the Big Ten’s matchups for Saturday, including a major matchup between Penn State and Duke.

NCAA Basketball: Albany at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Although it wasn’t always pretty, the Big Ten went unbeaten on Friday night and will now have to hope to bring that momentum to the conference’s games on Saturday. There won’t be any marquee matchups, but Penn State will have the opportunity to try and score a major upset and two other teams will look to add wins to the resume.

You can preview all the games below. All spreads are based on KenPom.

Big Ten Game of the Day:

-Penn State vs Duke

  • Time/TV: 12:30PM ET - ESPN3
  • KenPom Spread: Duke (-19)

If you were wondering when Penn State would face a quality team this season, wonder no longer. The Nittany Lions will face a No. 1 ranked (KenPom and the polls) Duke team and will hope to pull off the program’s biggest upset since at least 2013. Not only would this be a win against college basketball royalty, but it would also be just the second time (the other being Michigan in 2012-’13) in the history of KenPom that Penn State knocked off a top five team on the website.

So yeah, it would be pretty significant.

Unfortunately, Penn State comes into the game with mixed success. The Nittany Lions are 2-1 overall, but had to work for both of those wins against underwhelming competition at home and lost to Albany. While Duke has also lost this year, it came on a neutral court against a loaded Kansas team in a really competitive game. Accordingly, this game is a pretty massive mismatch on paper in favor of Duke.

The matchup to watch will be what Penn State’s young backcourt can do against a loaded Duke group featuring Grayson Allen, Frank Jackson, and Luke Kennard. It’s hard to imagine Penn State winning this battle, but if the Nittany Lions can at least contain these three for the early segments of the game, perhaps this could be tight late.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Duke

The Rest:

-Liberty at Indiana

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN2Go
  • KenPom Spread: Indiana (-22)

While Indiana should make easy work of Liberty for most of Saturday night, this could quietly be one of the day’s more intriguing games. That’s because of the way Liberty’s defense matches up against Indiana’s offense. The Hoosiers have been a great offense for much of Tom Crean’s tenure in Bloomington, but one of the consistent issues has been the team’s turnovers and Liberty has the personnel to exploit those issues. The Flames rank in the top 15 nationally in defensive turnover and steal rate and will hope that can lead to a potential upset bid on Saturday evening.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Liberty

-Louisiana Tech at Nebraska

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET - ESPN3
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska (-8)

The Huskers are 2-0 on the year, but things will get a tad more challenging on Saturday as the team faces off against Louisiana Tech. Although the Bulldogs are far from an elite unit, Louisiana Tech is ranked at No. 148 on KenPom and competed really well against a solid South Carolina team on the road last week. The key thing to watch will be how Nebraska addresses a solid perimeter group featuring Jacobi Boykins and Jalen Harris. This will be a key challenge for Tai Webster and Jack McVeigh.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Louisiana Tech

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Thomas’ Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 18-9