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11/24 Big Ten Preview: Sharing your turkey with the Fighting Illini and Nebrasketball

There’s not only NFL football on today, so hunker down, flip on some hoops and pass the stuffing

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Rutgers William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

I think I can speak for everyone here at BTPowerhouse in wishing you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. We hope you thoroughly enjoy the turkey, stuffing, mashed taters, vegetables covered in cheese and every single one of those sweet delicacies that your grandmother seemingly whips up out of nowhere each and every year (seriously, how do they all do that?).

And while I understand that many of you will more than likely be taking your food coma naps to the tune of NFL football in the background, I am here to remind you that there is actually some pretty solid Big Ten non-conference basketball games for you to (at the very least) flip to during the commercials.

Big Ten Game of the Day:

- Illinois vs. #19 West Virginia

  • Time/TV: 2:30 PM ET - ESPNU
  • KenPom Spread: West Virginia (-8)

Oh Illinois, what are we going to do with you? Just when we start to think that everything is turning around with your program, you go and lose to Winthrop and 5’7” super-human Keon Johnson. Johnson was able to score any time he wanted to and looked like the reincarnation of John Lucas III (the Chicago Bulls version). Letting Johnson “get his” while shutting out the rest of the team around him would have been one tactic for a team with better athletes and general basketball players to use. It happens all the time in match-ups like these.

But that doesn’t seem to be what the Illini had in mind. Instead, they let the Eagles hang around for far too long while also letting Johnson get his (he sparked a 10-0 run to tie the game in the final minutes of Monday’s contest).

The Illini couldn’t figure out how to finish a game they should have handily won and suffered an early season loss that surely drove the Krush mad.

Now, with John Groce’s chair catching fire (yet again), the Illini are going to have to put on a showing against the #19 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers if he hopes to dispose of the flames (yet again).

Don’t hold your breath, though. West Virginia and the Huggy Bears bolster four solid starters and athlete’s up and down the entire roster that are going to press the living stuffing out of the Illini (they forced Mississippi Valley State into 27 turnovers).

  • Pick Against the Spread: West Virginia

The Rest:

- Dayton vs. Nebraska

  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET - ESPNU
  • KenPom Spread: Dayton (-6)

Going up against the likes of Sacramento State, Mary (WHO?) and Louisiana Tech is one thing. Going up against Archie Miller’s gang of Cinderella’s is something of its very own.

Against Louisiana Tech, the Huskers came out a little slow and gave up an early lead to the Bulldogs (something they aren’t going to be able to afford to do to Dayton, who is currently ranked as KenPom’s 38th ranked team in the country). Yet, Tai Webster and Jack McVeigh threw the Huskers on their back by scoring a combined 44 of the teams 65 points.

This has been a trend in the early part of the season. Tim Miles has gotten the most out of his starters, but the lack of talent on the bench is going to become a cause of concern quickly. Someone out of the reserves (Anton Gill or Isaiah Roby in particular) needs to prove to the coaching staff that they can provide a spark for the second unit.

And they need to do it quickly.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Dayton

- Michigan State vs. Baylor/VCU

  • Time/TV: TBA - ESPN /AXSTV
  • KenPom Spread: N/A

At the time of this writing, as long as the Spartans clean up shop against St. Johns on Wednesday night, they’ll be featured on ESPN in the early afternoon Thanksgiving Day.

***

Jerome’s Record vs. KenPom’s Spread: 9-4