After an awesome week of Big Ten basketball, which was highlighted by Michigan’s 30 point beat down of Indiana, the schedule on Saturday is loaded with intriguing games.
Thankfully, after several weeks without a Saturday night game scheduled, fans will be able to watch Big Ten hoops Saturday evening.
In addition, their will be several games throughout the day, making it a perfect opportunity to binge on Big Ten basketball.
Big Ten Game of the Day:
-Wisconsin Badgers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
- Time/TV: 12:00 PM ET - BTN
- Covers Spread: Wisconsin (-16.5)
This lopsided matchup earned “Big Ten Game of the Day” honors solely because of the showcase status that it brings.
The Wisconsin/Rutgers game is part of Big Ten Super Saturday , a showcase of Big Ten athletics that will take place at Madison Square Garden. After the 12:00 P.M basketball game, there will be a Big Ten hockey game between Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Although, the contest will count as a home game for Rutgers, you can be sure that there will also be a good amount of Badgers fans in attendance. Especially, since Wisconsin athletics are the centerpiece of the special event.
Even though the Scarlet Knights earned their first conference win last week over Nebraska, it’s safe to say that they’re still out-manned by nearly every Big Ten team. With that said, they bring a strong defensive effort every night and routinely make games competitive. Down the line, when Steve Pikiell has a team that’s all his own, Rutgers will be able to flirt with a .500 conference record.
Playing Wisconsin will be a tough task for Rutgers. The Badgers are an experienced team, with numerous scoring options. You can count on Rutgers to keep it close for a while with their defense, but eventually, the cream will rise to the top.
Throughout the year, Rutgers has proven that their offense is sloppy and inefficient. Once Wisconsin gets ahead by double figures, the Scarlet Knight offense will have a tough time keeping pace. If shots don’t fall for Steve Pikiell’s team, this one could get out of hand.
Pick Against The Spread: Wisconsin
-Maryland Terrapins at Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Time/TV: 2:15 PM ET – BTN
- Covers Spread: Minnesota (-4.5)
Talk about two teams headed in different directions.
Maryland has won five straight conference games and currently sit at 18-2 overall. At this point, the freshman heavy Terrapins are way ahead of schedule and are a likely shoo-in for the NCAA Tournament.
On the other hand, the Golden Gophers have completely fallen apart in conference play. They have lost four straight Big Ten games and their “Cinderella” story is now a distant memory.
One exciting matchup to watch, will be Minnesota’s Nate Mason against Maryland’s Melo Trimble. Both guards are elite playmakers who can create for themselves, as well as distribute.
Having lost four straight, it seems like a perfect time for the desperate Golden Gophers to break out. Minnesota is way overdue.
Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota
-Illinois Fighting Illini at Penn State Nittany Lions
- Time/TV: 4:30 PM ET – BTN
- Covers Spread: Penn State (-2.5)
The mercurial Fighting Illini finally busted out of their three game losing streak in their last conference game. Playing at home against Iowa, Illinois took a 40-24 lead into halftime and never looked back.
On the other hand, the Nittany Lions are in the midst of their own three-game skid. Although, Penn State’s losing streak had come against elite Big Ten teams, they have been beaten down handily. In their last two losses, on the road to Purdue and Wisconsin, the Nittany Lions have lost by a combined 52 points.
This game will come down to experience, the Nittany Lions are extremely young and have never dealt with the Big Ten roller coaster. At this point in the season, I trust the Fighting Illini to take care of business more than I trust Penn State.
Illinois has several mature players and still has a chance to make the NCAA Tournament.
Pick Against The Spread: Illinois
-Ohio State Buckeyes at Iowa Hawkeyes
- Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET – ESPN2
- Covers Spread: Iowa (-1.5)
With Iowa on a three game losing streak, this line was a little surprising.
It’s fairly obvious that the Buckeyes have played much better lately, winning three out of four. In fact, their only loss in that stretch was to Northwestern and it was by two points.
Coming into the year, everyone expected Iowa to have a down year. They surprised some people with wins over Michigan and Purdue, but they’re now crashing back to earth.
Iowa is in a funny spot. They’re somewhere in between a rebuild and trying to contend. Peter Jok is a great scorer, but he may be stunting the development of their freshman. It reminds me of Kobe Bryant’s last season with the Lakers. One guy taking a ton of shots, while the young talent watches.
With all that said, Ohio State is the more talented and experienced team. Plus, at this point, the Buckeyes really need some decent road wins.
Pick Against The Spread: Ohio State
Casey’s Record vs The Spread: 27-15-1