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11/18 Big Ten Preview: Northwestern Hopes to Bounce Back

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Maryland at Northwestern Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

After a somewhat quiet night of Big Ten hoops, two top 25 teams - No. 20 Northwestern and No. 19 Purdue - along with Maryland who is on the cusp of being ranked will be in action on Saturday night.

The Boilermakers and Terrapins are both 3-0 entering Saturday, while the Wildcats are coming off a tough loss to Creighton at home.

All three teams have a good chance of picking up a win, but it’ll be important they don’t take their opponents lightly.

Game of the Night

No. 20 Northwestern vs. La Salle

  • Time/TV: 2:30 ET - ESPN3
  • KenPom spread: Northwestern (-9)

The Wildcat’s defense looked awful in Wednesday’s loss against Creighton. It seemed as if the Blue Jays were getting a good look on every possession, and Northwestern couldn’t buy a stop.

Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey, and Vic Law have all looked good to start the season, but it’s time for guys like Dererk Pardon and Gavin Skelly to turn it up a notch.

La Salle comes into the matchup 3-0 and ranked No. 116 according to KenPom. The Explorers two leading scorers are senior guards B.J. Johnson and Pookie Powell. Johnson, who transferred from Syracuse two years ago, is averaging a team high 21.7 points per game and can score the ball on all three levels.

The most intriguing matchup in this one is in the backcourt. Both teams have talented guards who can do a little bit of everything on the offensive end. If Northwestern can get it done on the defensive end, then they should win by double digits.

Pick Against the Spread: Northwestern

The Rest

Bucknell at Maryland

  • Time/TV: 8:30 ET - BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Maryland (-11)

The Terrapins are coming off a statement win against Butler. Sophomore guard Anthony Cowan had 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in 37 minutes of action. With the absence of Melo Trimble, there were questions regarding who would step up as the guy and Cowan has answered the bell.

The Bison are 0-3 entering the contest, but have played against respectable opponents including Monmouth, Arkansas, and North Carolina. Zach Thomas is the man for Bucknell as he’s averaging 25.3 points and 10.0 rebounds to start the season.

The turnovers have been the story for Maryland as they’ve been averaging under 16 a game to start the season. It says something when the ‘Terps been struggling in that department but are still able to come away with solid victories.

Mark Turgeon’s squad has been solid so far and that trend will continue tonight. Bucknell will put up a fight, but Maryland has too much firepower with Cowan, Kevin Huerter, and Justin Jackson.

Pick Against the Spread: Maryland

Fairfield at No. 19 Purdue

  • Time/TV: 7:00 ET - BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue (-22)

The Boilermakers are coming off a convincing victory over Marquette. Isaac Haas had 22 points on the night and has look comfortable replacing Caleb Swanigan. 7-foot-3 manchild Matt Haarms has also been a beast down low and hasn’t played like a freshman.

The Stags are led by guard Tyler Nelson who is averaging 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Matija Milin mans the middle as he’s averaging 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds a game.

Carsen Edwards has stepped up this year in the backcourt scoring 18.7 a night to lead the team. This game will serve as a tune up as the Boilermakers will start the tough portion of their non-conference schedule following tonight.

Pick Against the Spread: Purdue