It’s a bit of a down Tuesday for the conference, especially after last week’s smorgasbord. But something feisty could lurk in the shadows. One never knows what to expect.
Big Ten Game of the Day
-Texas at Michigan
- Time/TV: 9:00pm/ESPN2
- KenPom Spread: Michigan (-10)
I’m always intrigued by two struggling but promising non-conference teams battling it out early in the year. And let’s be real: both of these teams need this game to improve their resume. Texas, ranked #21 to open Shaka Smart’s second season, has suffered demoralizing losses to Northwestern, Colorado, and UT Arlington. They simply need to beat those unranked programs if they’re going to assume the national prominence they’re clearly after.
Michigan needs to rebound after their embarrassing home loss to Virginia Tech, a game in which they led by 15 points. The Wolverines are better and more experienced, and should control from the opening tip. But Shaka Smart can hella coach.
- Pick Against the Spread: Michigan
IUPUI at Illinois
- Time/TV: 8:00pm/ESPN3
- KenPom Spread: Illinois (-10)
The Illini picked up a nice couple of victories last week, blasting NC State and VCU, so surely IUPUI won’t be a problem. Then again, we are talking about Illinois here.
- Pick Against The Spread: Illinois
Youngstown State at Michigan State
- Time/TV: 7:00pm/ESPNU
- KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-20)
The injury hits just keep on coming for Michigan State. A team struggling to find their groove and identity, already playing without Gavin Schilling and Ben Carter, just lost top player Miles Bridges for, according to the team, “at least a few weeks”. This will make a small team even smaller, forcing them to rely even more on Big Ten Freshman of the Week Nick Ward and former walk-on Kenny Goins up front.
They should bury the Penguins tonight. Then again, they should have trounced Oral Roberts on Saturday and wound up only winning by 4.
- Pick Against the Spread: Youngstown State
NJIT at Minnesota
- Time/TV: 8:00pm/Big Ten Network
- KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-16)
The Minnesota redemption express continues. Can’t wait for Amir Coffey and co. to host (a healthy?) Michigan State in the Big Ten home opener at the end of the month.
- Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota
Florida Atlantic at Ohio State
- Time/TV: 7:00pm/ESPN3
- KenPom Spread: Ohio State (-21)
Nearly every single Buckeye has improved from last season, including Kam Williams, who’s shooting 52.5% from behind the arc. If Ohio State hadn’t let one slip away against Virginia, they’d almost surely be ranked now. As such, a soft early schedule has them on the outside looking in.
- Pick Against the Spread: Ohio State
#18 Purdue vs. Arizona State at Madison Square Garden
- Time/TV: 7:00pm/ESPN
- KenPom Spread: Purdue (-11)
Purdue is a high quality, possible Big Ten title contender who’s lost to two national title contenders by 10 combined points. Arizona State lost to Kentucky by 46 points.
- Pick Against the Spread: Purdue
Central Connecticut at Rutgers
- Time/TV: 7:00pm/ESPN3
- KenPom Spread: Rutgers (-15)
Ah, yes, Rutgers basketball back in familiar territory, taking on yet another team ranked outside the KenPom top 250 (that’s six this season if you’re playing at home). All jokes aside, the Scarlet Knights are a MUCH improved team on both ends of the court in Steve Pikiell’s first season. They’ve improved their offensive efficiency from 96.3 to 102, and dropped their defensive allowance from 106.9 to 101.4. That’s astonishing.
Pick Against the Spread: Rutgers
Nicholas’ Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 10-6