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1/11 Big Ten Preview: Minnesota at Michigan State

Wednesday night’s Big Ten schedule features two games on the Big Ten Network

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

After a great game on Tuesday night, the Big Ten is back at it again on Wednesday.

In a game that lived up to the hype, Maryland outlasted Indiana 75-72 in College Park on Tuesday. Melo Trimble led the Terps in scoring with 18, but it was freshman Kevin Huerter who was the hero.

Down 70-68 with two minutes to play, Huerter buried a deep three pointer to put the Terps up 71-68.

Maryland never looked back, eventually earning their 15th win of the year.

As usual, Big Ten conference play is providing great entertainment. From top to bottom the conference has talented teams, capable of beating anyone on a given night. Wednesday night should be no different, as there are two great matchups being aired on the Big Ten Network.

You can preview both games below. Betting odds are courtesy of Covers.com.

Big Ten Game Of The Day

-Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET - BTN
  • Covers Spread: Michigan State (-4.5)

In broad terms, this matchup is the Big Ten version of Seinfeld’s “Bizarro Jerry”.

Coming into the year, most would have thought that Michigan State would be the team with 15 wins and Minnesota would be the team that’s been up and down.

Not the other way around.

Minnesota is proving themselves as real contenders in the Big Ten, while Michigan State has lost as many games this year as they did all of last year.

When you dig a little bit deeper, you see that Michigan State has improved since inserting Nick Ward into the starting lineup. In fact, they are 4-1 in that time, including a win at Minnesota.

To some people, the fact that Michigan State is favored may be a surprise. However, oddsmakers put a lot of stock into home court advantage, especially in East Lansing.

The Michigan State (-4.5) betting line actually mirrors the line for their first meeting (Minnesota was also -4.5 at home). Therefore, Vegas figures these two teams as very evenly matched.

Unquestionably, this is going to be a dog fight. You can expect another Big Ten thriller and for the Breslin Center to be alive.

In this particular situation, it seems Michigan State has more on the line. The Spartans are coming off of a bad loss at Penn State and should be hungry for a win. Plus, Minnesota appears a little bit ahead of schedule and is due for a letdown game at some point.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Michigan State

The Rest:

-Michigan Wolverines at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET - BTN
  • Covers Spread: Michigan (-3)

Both teams have a lot to play for in this one.

After starting out 1-2 in conference play, both will be desperate to avoid dropping another game. Illinois has been inconsistent in conference, beating Ohio State, but failing to put up a fight against Indiana or Maryland. On the other hand, Michigan has the same 1-2 record, but has played well in all three of their Big Ten games.

It’s safe to say Michigan is the better team here. Per KenPom, the Wolverines rank No. 39, while Illinois sits at No. 71.

However, Illinois has a distinct advantage playing at home. The Illini are 8-1 at the State Farm Center this year, including a conference win over Ohio State. In addition, Michigan has yet to win a game on the road, going 0-3 so far this year.

Neither team starts any freshman, so experience will be at a premium. You can expect both teams to know how important the game is and play with high intensity.

In this day and age of Big Ten basketball, most games seem to be a toss up. No one would be surprised if either team won and that’s whats making the conference so great this year.

In a coin flip game, so I’ll have to take the home team with the points.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Illinois

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Casey’s Record vs The Spread: 19-13