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11/15 Big Ten Preview: Gavitt Tipoff features three marquee matchups

Resume building wins are on the line as a trio of Big Ten teams face off against some of the Big East’s best in early season non-conference play.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Gonzaga vs Northwestern Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

While Wednesday’s games might be lacking the pizazz of a Michigan State-Duke contest, they more than make up for it with three Big Ten-Big East showdowns highlighting the days slate.

The Gavitt Tipoff is the evenings main event as Maryland and Butler look to build postseason resumes, while No. 20 Northwestern hosts Creighton. Elsewhere in the cross-conference event, Indiana looks to shake off its early season struggles facing a huge test traveling to No. 22 Seton Hall.

In the undercard, Penn State and No. 14 Minnesota both entertain sub-140 ranked KenPom opponents in Montana and Niagara, respectively.

Big Ten Game of the Day

-Creighton Bluejays at No. 20 Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET - BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Northwestern (-5)

Creighton comes into Rosemont fresh off a dominating 37-point victory over Alcorn State Sunday night. Senior guard Marcus Foster went 8-9 from the field, including 5-6 from beyond the arc, on his way to dropping 23 points in only 19 minutes of action.

Northwestern will need to find a way to slow him down, while also contending with junior guard Khyri Thomas who had an impressive night in the Bluejays season opening win against Yale where he finished with 22 points on 10-12 shooting.

Junior Syracuse-transfer Kaleb Joseph has been slowed by a hamstring injury, but if at full health is yet another guard the Wildcats will need to have an answer for.

For Northwestern, it seemed to have gotten back on track with a solid victory over Saint Peter’s Monday night after escaping a scare from Loyola in its first game of the year. Bryant McIntosh chipped in 17 points and 7 rebounds in the win over the Peacocks, showing why he’s one of the Big Ten’s best.

This game will be a lot closer than most Northwestern fans are comfortable with. Creighton posses a real threat, as its a contender to win the Big East and make the NCAAs. It’ll be interesting to see how Northwestern fares being the hunted instead of the hunters. Take the points and roll with the Bluejays for a road upset.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Creighton

The Rest:

-Indiana Hoosiers at No. 22 Seton Hall Pirates

  • Time/TV: 6:30PM ET - FS1
  • KenPom Spread: Seton Hall (-11.5)

Indiana’s youth revolution helped the Hoosiers respond from its season-opening loss to in-state rival Indiana State with a win over Howard Sunday night.

Freshmen Justin Smith had a double-double off the bench with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while freshmen guard Aljami Durham added 16 points of his own to help IU even up its record to 1-1 on the season.

Seton Hall, on the other hand, has yet to miss a beat with a pair of wins over Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth. The Pirates are led by senior big man Angel Delgado who averaged a double-double last year.

Indiana leaves Newark with another L as Seton Hall covers the spread.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Seton Hall

-Montana Grizzlies at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State (-13.5)

After defeating two sub-200 ranked KenPom teams in Campbell and Fairleigh Dickinson over the weekend, Penn State will take on its toughest, statistically speaking, opponent thus far in 141 KenPom ranked Montana.

The Grizzlies come into the Bryce Jordan Center looking to continue its dominance over Pennsylvania’s collegiate basketball scene after defeating Pittsburgh 83-78 in overtime Monday night.

With Mike Watkins back in the lineup the Nittany Lions looked the part of a legit NCAA Tournament contender on Sunday evening. They continue to roll.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Penn State

-Niagara Purple Eagles at No. 14 Minnesota Golden Golphers

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET - BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-18)

It’s a color battle in the Twin Cities as the Golden Golphers host the Purple Eagles.

Minnesota looked mighty impressive on Monday night against Providence, dropping 50 in the second half on its way to a 12-point road victory.

Junior Jordan Murphy has been an absolute beast so far for the Golden Gophers, averaging 29 points and 14.5 rebounds through Minnesota’s first two contests.

After such a big win, Minnesota could be on letdown alert, but I don’t see a path to victory for the visitors.

Niagara falls in this one.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota

-Butler Bulldogs at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 8:30PM ET - FS1
  • KenPom Spread: Maryland (-5)

Both Maryland and Butler come into this game outside the top 25 and will be looking at this game as an early postseason resume builder.

LaVall Jordan’s Bulldogs offense runs through senior guard Kelan Martin who’s put up 20 points in both of Butlers games this year.

For the Terps, they’ve yet to be tested having rolled past Stony Brook and Maryland-Eastern Shore. Sophomore Anthony Cowan is off to a nice start for Maryland averaging 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds a game.

This one tips off in College Park and the advantage goes to the home team.

Pick Against The Spread: Maryland

***

Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 0-0