College basketball is in the thick of preseason tournaments and the Big Ten is smack dab in the middle of the exciting neutral site play.
After an eventful Monday in which three of the five Big Ten games were decided by less than 10 points, Tuesday’s slate provides plenty of action as well.
Three Big Ten teams will have the opportunity to remain undefeated in non-conference play, while two Big Ten teams are presented with the task of facing a ranked opponent.
Below, you can get a look for what Tuesday has in store for Big Ten hoops.
Game of the Day:
-Wisconsin Badgers vs No. 23 UCLA Bruins
The Badgers are hoping that the third time against a ranked team this season will be the charm in the third-place game of the Hall of Fame Classic.
Baylor was barely able to hold off a late Wisconsin rally led by Ethan Happ on Monday night. The Badgers were within two points with 2:20 to go in regulation after trailing by as many as 19 in the second half. While Wisconsin has hung tough with impressive competition early in this season, it would be significant for the young Badgers to come out on top in one of these resume-building opportunities.
Happ hasn’t backed down in the eyes of superior competition. The preseason All-American notched season-highs in points and rebounds against Baylor, with 23 and 13. Freshman guard Brad Davison continues to shine in the early season as well. Davison is fresh off of a 13-point outing against Baylor in which he converted three three-pointers.
In each of Wisconsin’s last two losses, there frankly have been more positives than negatives to take away.
Though UCLA will be no easy task, it’s worth noting that the Badgers are playing them at a favorable time, if any.
The Bruins have looked shaky through four games this season largely in part to the suspensions of freshmen Cody Riley, Jalen Hill, and LiAngelo Ball.
Riley and Hill were each four-star, ESPN Top 100 recruits. Ball was a three-star recruit, himself. These are all players that had a chance to contribute significantly and it’s safe to say UCLA needs them right now. It’s not as if the Bruins have collapsed, but they have been inconsistent.
UCLA opened the season with a 63-60 win over a quality Georgia Tech squad. But followed that up by escaping Central Arkansas in overtime at home.
Nevertheless, this should be a good team between two teams that feature plenty of talent, but are still finding their identities.
After beginning the season 3-0, the Hawkeyes ran into a stingy Louisiana team that won 21 games last season. The Ragin Cajuns handed Iowa its first loss of the season. Picking up a much needed bounceback victory over South Dakota State won’t necessarily be the easiest task.
The Jackrabbits returned their two leading scorers from last season’s NCAA Tournament team in Mike Daum and Reed Tellinghuisen. Iowa matches up well with South Dakota State, but this should be a pretty competitive game.
-Penn State Nittany Lions vs No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies
This matchup in the Progressive Legends Classic between two teams yet to lose this season was runner of up for game of the day. The Nittany Lions will put their 5-0 record on the line against an Aggies bunch that has already collected dominant victories over no. 11 West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Texas A&M beat West Virginia by 23 and Oklahoma State by 17. A victory over the Aggies would be a marquee win for Penn State.
One of the two Big Ten games on Tuesday that isn’t part of a preseason tournament features more of the same for Rutgers. The 4-0 Scarlet Knights have played all cupcake games so far this season, most likely in an effort to build confidence early in the season. Besides a four-point victory over Central Connecticut State, the Scarlet Knights have won each game this season by at least 25 points. The Bulldogs come into New Jersey winless through three games this season.
Similar to Rutgers, the Golden Gophers will be disappointed in anything but a blowout victory on Tuesday night. There isn’t a very significant chance that Minnesota’s perfect 4-0 record will ever be in doubt against winless Alabama A&M.
Jordan Murphy has put on a clinic so far this season. The Junior forward has earned a double-double in every game so far this season and is leading Minnesota in both scoring and rebounds. Murphy is averaging 24.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. He’ll have a great chance at improving those numbers on Tuesday.
-Michigan Wolverines vs Chaminade Silverswords
After coming up just short against LSU in the first round of the Maui Invitational, the Wolverines face DII Chaminade. In 85 Maui Invitational games played, Chaminade has only been on the winning end seven times. The balanced scoring of Michigan’s upperclassman shouldn’t have any trouble picking up a victory in Hawaii.