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12/21 Big Ten Preview: Michigan State vs Oakland

Preview the Big Ten’s matchups on Wednesday night, including key matchups for Illinois and Michigan State.

NCAA Basketball: Northeastern at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Big Ten doesn’t have any games on Wednesday night that should attract broad national attention, there are still a few matchups that should draw interest from around the conference. Both Illinois and Michigan State will look to add key wins and Penn State and Purdue will be looking to avoid upsets.

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

Big Ten Game of the Day:

-Oakland at Michigan State

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-9)

Perhaps no single point in time has been more alarming for Spartan fans over the last few years than the present. Despite making the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 19 seasons, there is serious concern that the streak might be ending this March. Michigan State has looked pedestrian for the majority of this season and with Sunday’s loss to Northeastern, the team sits at just 7-5 overall.

Things need to turn around. And quickly.

The first opportunity to get back on track will come on Wednesday night at home against a feisty Oakland squad. The Golden Grizzlies are 9-2 overall and have frequently pestered Michigan State in non-conference play in recent years. Michigan State still looks like a better team than Oakland, but this looks like it should be an absolute battle for both sides.

Michigan State’s biggest challenge will be slowing down Martez Walker, who has scored double-digits in nine of Oakland’s first 11 games this season. The pressure will be on Kyle Ahrens and Joshua Langford to get the job done.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Michigan State

The Rest:

-Illinois vs Missouri

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - ESPNU
  • KenPom Spread: Illinois (-7)

Illinois has been red hot over the last few weeks and will look to extend its winning streak to six-games on Wednesday night against Missouri. The Tigers have relied heavily on young players like Frankie Hughes and Kevin Puryear and have correspondingly struggled, opening the season with a 5-5 record. This is a must win game for Illinois and the pressure will be on Leron Black and Malcolm Hill to slow down Puryear and push the Illini to a win.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Illinois

-Morgan State at Penn State

  • Time/TV: 5:00PM ET - BTN2Go
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State (-19)

If you’re searching for a game that won’t distract you while you’re wrapping presents, look no further than this one. The two teams have a combined 10-13 record and neither projects well for the postseason at the moment. Penn State should coast to an easy win this matchup and most of the drama should simply be about whether Penn State covers the spread.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Morgan State

-Norfolk State at Purdue

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN2Go
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue (-27)

Purdue has won nine of its last 10 games and it will look to add another win to its resume on Wednesday night against a terribly overmatched Norfolk State team. Expect domination from Purdue inside and a great opportunity for Matt Painter to unload the bench in the second half. The only player to keep an eye on for Norfolk State is senior Jonathan Wade, who has scored double-digits in every game this season. Vincent Edwards will likely handle defensive duties against Wade.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Norfolk State

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Thomas’ Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 27-26-2