While most fans in the Big Ten were focused on the football field on Saturday, the conference did put up a 2-1 record on the basketball court and continued its fast start to this season. Sunday’s schedule figures to be even better for the Big Ten with three teams looking to add wins against top 150 opponents.
You can preview all the games below. All spreads are based on KenPom.
Big Ten Game of the Day:
-Penn State vs Cincinnati
- Time/TV: 3:30PM ET - ESPN2
- KenPom Spread: Cincinnati (-8)
Penn State may have dropped to 2-2 with a loss yesterday, but fans have to be feeling pretty optimistic about how much fight the team showed against an outstanding Duke squad. In particular, true freshman Tony Carr’s 20 points and six rebounds was a major bright spot in what has been a mixed start to the season so far for the Nittany Lions.
But with the loss to Duke, Penn State will now have to rebound and hope it can bring that same ferocity to a matchup on Sunday against Cincinnati. While the Bearcats aren’t nearly as good as the Blue Devils, this is still a top 25 team with a great interior group, led by Jacob Evans and Kyle Washington.
The matchup to watch will be what Penn State’s young frontcourt can do against that dynamic Cincinnati group. Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins have both shown flashes of excellent play this season, but this might be their biggest challenge yet. Stevens will have his work cut out if he’s going to keep his double-digit scoring streak going.
- Pick Against The Spread: Cincinnati
-UT Rio Grande Valley at Iowa
- Time/TV: 5:30PM ET - BTN2Go
- KenPom Spread: Iowa (-28)
After a disappointing loss to Seton Hall on Thursday night, Iowa is looking to get back on track at home against UT Rio Grande Valley. The good news is that won’t be a difficult task. The Vaqueros are one of the worst teams in the country and will come to Iowa City with a 0-3 record and a No. 346 KenPom rating. Look for Iowa’s deep bench to get some time in this game.
- Pick Against The Spread: UT Rio Grande Valley
-Towson at Maryland
- Time/TV: 8:00PM ET - ESPN3
- KenPom Spread: Maryland (-12)
The Terps may have won by 48 points on Thursday against St. Mary’s (MD), but things will get tougher on Sunday against a decent Towson team. The Tigers are a nice unit on the boards and have a good wing group led by John Davis and Mike Morsell. As such, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Maryland freshmen Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson to hold their own. However, if the Terps can hold their own on the wing, Maryland has a great chance to grab the win.
Pick Against The Spread: Towson
-Florida Gulf Coast at Michigan State
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN
- KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-13)
The Spartans have played one of the toughest schedules of any team in the country so far and that will continue on Sunday evening, when Michigan State faces another top 100 opponent. Florida Gulf Coast can’t match up to Arizona or Kentucky, but the Eagles have shown some fight this year and a dynamic shooting offense. Michigan State should come out with the win, but the Spartan backcourt will have its work cut out against Brandon Goodwin and Zach Johnson.
- Pick Against The Spread: Michigan State
-Niagara at Rutgers
- Time/TV: 12:00PM ET - BTN
- KenPom Spread: Rutgers (-13)
The Scarlet Knights are 3-0 and finally appear to be moving in the right direction as a program. Rutgers will still probably struggle against quality competition, but it won’t face that on Sunday when it takes on Niagara at home. The Purple Eagles are 0-3 and have suffered some tough losses already this year. The only area where Rutgers could face a challenge is on the boards, where Dominic Robb has proven to be a great rebounder.
- Pick Against The Spread: Rutgers
Thomas’ Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 18-12