Following a light couple of days in the Big Ten, action will pick back up again on Wednesday night with four teams in play, all at home. One of the conference powerhouses, the Wisconsin Badgers, will be at home against an in-state foe, the Green Bay Phoenix.
You can check out our preview for all four games below, with all spreads being based on KenPom.
Game of the Night:
- Green Bay at Wisconsin
- Time/TV: 9pm ET, BTN
- KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-21)
This is a Badgers team that has started to really click as a unit after a slower start to the year than many had anticipated. Facing an in-state rival is always a tough test, but this Wisconsin team has come together and looks really good right now.
They come into this matchup ranked 8th in KenPom and facing a 4-5 Green Bay team that is ranked 159th in KenPom. In many in-state rivalry games, you can toss most of the numbers out the window. This game may not qualify for that train of thought, however. The Badger big three of Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ has started to flex its muscle and those three along with the rest should be able to showcase their talent on Wednesday night.
The Badgers will certainly look for further success and development of some of their younger players, including Khalil Iverson and D’mitrik Trice. I would fully expect for Wisconsin to roll at home in this one.
- Pick against the spread: Wisconsin
- LIU Brooklyn at Minnesota
- Time/TV: 8pm ET, BTN+
- KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-19)
Minnesota has experienced some nice early season success following an absolutely dismal 2015-16 season. Freshman Amir Coffey has been a wonderful addition and Nate Mason continues to be one of the extremely underrated and overlooked players in this conference. Richard Pitino has this team playing a brand of basketball that seems maintainable, and they play together and for each other.
They welcome an LIU Brooklyn team fresh off of a win over a struggling St. Johns team. Regardless of the Johnnies struggles, that will give LIU Brooklyn confidence coming into this one. Minnesota can’t let this game be close late or this might turn into one of those upsets.
Having said that, I don’t think that will be an issue.
- Pick against the spread: Minnesota
- Chicago State at Northwestern
- Time/TV: 7pm ET, BTN
- Kenpom Spread: Northwestern (-24)
This finally seems like it could be the year that the Northwestern Wildcats go to the Big Dance. Of course, we’ve been saying that for years. But it’s for real this time, this Wildcats team has all the pieces. They’ve picked up some fairly nice wins and have avoided the devastating loss.
A loss on Wednesday night would certainly qualify as devastating, as Chicago State comes in ranked 337th in the KenPom rankings, while Northwestern sits at 40th. Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law have been huge components of the early success for the Wildcats, and I would look for that to continue in a big way against Chicago State, essentially a cross-town rival.
- Pick against the spread: Northwestern
- Fairleigh Dickinson at Rutgers
- Time/TV: 7pm ET, BTN+
- KenPom Spread: Rutgers (-12)
Head coach Steve Pikiell has the Rutgers Scarlet Knights off to a strong start, and while the competition hasn’t been extremely challenging, Rutgers fans are happy to see the progress and a bright future for Rutgers basketball.
Rutgers is currently ranked 132nd in the KenPom rankings and will face Fairleigh Dickinson on Wednesday night, who sits at 290th. This would certainly appear to a very winnable game for Pikiell and the Scarlet Knights.
I would look for Deshawn Freeman to have a great game against a 2-7 FDU team and lead Rutgers to a big win. I’m going 4-4 in picks for the Big Ten against the KenPom spread.
- Pick against the spread: Rutgers