With eleven teams in the Big Ten playing yesterday, it made for another good game day in the conference. The three ranked teams: Indiana, Wisconsin and Purdue all won respectively. Michigan and Nebraska both lost in tough road games when the Wolverines took on No. 2 UCLA and when Nebraska was sent packing from the Allen Fieldhouse against No. 3 Kansas. Only two teams will play today, shown as a double header on the Big Ten Network.
Although it’s still only the early part of the season and not deep in conference play, the Big Ten does not have any teams under .500 through this part in the season. Only the Big East, Big Ten, SEC and Mountain West conferences have had this consistency throughout the conference thus far.
As conference play is on the horizon, it’s time for teams to start preparing for a very tough Big Ten conference. Today’s games both include bouts against mid-major schools.
You can preview all of Sunday’s games below, including betting odds provided by Covers.com.
Big Ten Game Of The Day:
Northern Illinois (4-4) vs. Minnesota (9-1)
o Time/TV: 5:00 P.M/ BTN
o Covers Spread: Minnesota (-15)
Minnesota will host Northern Illinois in the first of two match-ups on Sunday night. The Golden Gophers are undefeated at home and will look to be the second team to double-digit wins in the Big Ten.
The Golden Gophers have been almost untested this season, with their only coming against Florida State on the road. They have run through this non-conference schedule almost flawlessly, with a win margin average of over 12 points a game.
The Golden Gopher are led by their best freshman recruit, Amir Coffey, as coach Richard Pitino was able to keep the number one player in the state at his home school. Coffey had a ton of expectations coming into this season, as he was the highest recruit the Golden Gophers have had since Rodney Williams. Coffey has the ability to play the point-forward position and push the ball to their guards Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer who can really stroke it from three. He’s currently averaging 13 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
I don’t see Minnesota losing this game to Northern Illinois, as there is too much for a weak mid-major to come into a tough Williams Arena. Northern Illinois hasn’t played a team in the Power Five yet this season, and they already give up over 70 points a game. This one looks like it should send Minnesota to the top of the conference.
Pick Against the Spread: Minnesota
New Orleans (4-3) vs. Northwestern (6-2)
o Time/TV: 7:00 P.M/ BTN
o Covers Spread: Northwestern (-22.5)
Northwestern is a really good basketball team, which might not get the credit that they deserve, but could turn some heads in conference play. The Wildcats have lost two games this season by a combined total of six points to Butler and Notre Dame. The Wildcats did get a win over a ranked Texas team a few weeks ago.
The team is led by their three-headed monster of Vic Law, Scottie Lindsey and Bryant McIntosh. The three lead the team in scoring an account for over 50 percent of the team’s scoring.
Although 22.5 points is a lot to give up, I’m going to stick with my gut and say this one should be another blowout. The Wildcats are 5-1 in their last six games against the spread in games in which they were favored.
Pick Against the Spread: Northwestern