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1/8 Big Ten Preview: Ranked Matchup As Wisconsin Travels To Play Purdue

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The Sunday slate will be highlighted by a matchup between the best two teams in the conference.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s schedule features arguably the best game of this young Big Ten season, as the two best teams in the conference in Wisconsin and Purdue face off. Both teams are coming off wins with Wisconsin playing very well in their win over Indiana in Bloomington, and Purdue grinding out a one point win over Ohio State.

The other three games feature some good matchups in a three game marathon on the Big Ten Network.

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

Big Ten Game Of The Day

-Wisconsin Badgers at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 4:30 PM ET- CBS
  • Covers Spread: Purdue (-3)

This will be the best game of this early conference schedule, as the two best teams in the Big Ten will square off.

Wisconsin started their conference schedule by winning their first two games, with a blowout against Rutgers and a solid win on the road against Indiana. This has been another great start for the Badgers only losing two games to ranked Creighton and North Carolina. This team is elite on defense, coming in at number eight in the country in points allowed per game at 59.4.

Purdue’s start to their conference schedule has been up and down. They blew out Iowa in the team’s first game, then dropped a home game to Minnesota and just beat Ohio State by one on Thursday. Caleb Swanigan continues to dominate, as he leads the country in double doubles with 13 in 16 games.

This will be an intense game in every area. The frontcourt matchups will be heavily watched with Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ for Wisconsin, and Swanigan and Issac Haas for Purdue. Wisconsin is playing as well as anyone in the country right now, especially their big three in Hayes, Happ and Broson Koenig, so I’m taking the Badgers to win on the road.

  • Pick Against Spread: Wisconsin

The Rest:

-Northwestern Wildcats at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 2:15 PM ET- BTN
  • Covers Spread: Northwestern (-1)

Northwestern has lost two straight (to Michigan State and Minnesota) after previously winning nine straight. The Wildcats have struggled shooting the ball the past two games, with field goal percentages of 35 and 38 percent. Scottie Lindsey, Vic Law and Bryant McIntosh are the only players who have scored in double figures in the last two games, so the team has had trouble scoring the ball and getting the balance they need to grind out close games.

Nebraska was looking like worst team in the conference after going 6-6 in non-conference play, but has exponentially turned it around with their 3-0 start in the Big Ten. Wins over ranked Indiana, Maryland and Iowa have been very impressive and the Cornhuskers could be the biggest surprise in the conference, largely in part due to the emergence of Glynn Watson Jr. who’s averaging over 25 points per game in the three games has been a nice compliment to Tai Webster.

I’m going to believe in this Nebraska team and that they’ve turned it around until they show me otherwise.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Nebraska

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 4:30 PM ET- BTN
  • Covers Spread: Iowa (-9.5)

Rutgers’ hot start in non-conference play has been put to rest with their 0-3 start in conference play, with a scoring margin of -20.3 in those three games. This team was not expected to be any good and their hot start was just a fluke.

Iowa has a tough few games coming up against Purdue, then on the road at Northwestern and back home against Maryland, so this is an important game for the Hawkeyes. Peter Jok and his 22.9 points per game leads the Big Ten, as Jok continues his good play and is doing everything he can to keep this team afloat.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Iowa

-Ohio State Buckeyes at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 7:30 PM ET- BTN
  • Covers Spread: Minnesota (-7)

Ohio State has lost their first two conference games by a combined 6 points, including a tough one-point loss to Purdue. Keita Bates-Diop will miss the entire season and really shortens the depth for a team that has almost no bench besides Bates-Diop. The starting five each averages double figures and will be needed even more in his absence.

Minnesota has kept up their solid start to the season, opening up at 2-1 in Big Ten play with the loss coming at the hands of Michigan State by one in overtime. That’s a solid start, especially considering one of those wins came on the road against Purdue. Nate Mason has been great so far and has been the driving force for the Golden Gophers.

This figure to be a close game with both teams needing a wins for different reasons as Ohio State doesn’t want to fall out, and Minnesota wants to stay at the top of the conference. I think Minnesota will win, but they won’t cover in a tight game.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Ohio State