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11/22 Big Ten Preview: The Boilermakers tip off the Battle 4 Atlantis against the Vols

Purdue takes its talents to the Bahamas for a clash against Tennessee, while Iowa looks to rebound from two disappointing losses

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Thanksgiving tournaments continue as Purdue kicks off the Battle 4 Atlantis while Iowa and Michigan wrap up its play at the Cayman Island Classic and Maui Invitational, respectively.

Elsewhere, Indiana hosts Arkansas State as part of the Hoosiers Tip-Off Classic and Illinois hosts Division III powerhouse Augustana College.

Game of the Day

-Tennessee Volunteers vs No. 18 Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 12:00PM ET - ESPN2
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue (-4.5)

Entering his third year at Tennessee, Rick Barnes’ tenure at the helm of the Volunteers has been an exercise in mediocrity. After finishing 15-19 in 2015-’16, he followed that up with a 16-16 campaign last season.

And sadly for fans of the Vols, things don’t look to be getting any better as its projected to finish at or near the bottom of the SEC amongst many a college basketball prognosticator. Removing the stink of some bad coaching hirings takes time and as a wise man once said sometimes things have to fall apart to make way for better things. Tennessee looks to be squarely in that falling apart phase of its rebuilding process.

That said, the Volunteers takes a 2-0 record down to the Bahamas where it’ll meet the Boilermakers in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

Purdue has been absolutely rolling to begin the season, including a quality win at Marquette last week. Matt Painter has five players averaging double-digit point totals and the Boilermakers should be considered a dark horse contender to take the Battle 4 Atlantis from a stacked field.

The winner of this contest gets either No. 5 Villanova or Western Kentucky on Thanksgiving afternoon, with a potential championship matchup against No. 2 Arizona looming.

There’s no reason to go against Purdue in this one.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Purdue

The Rest

-Augustana Vikings at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Illinois (-38.5)*

Have you ever heard of Augustana College? Me neither. That said, here are a few fun facts about the Division III institution courtesy of some half-assed internet research.

Augustana was founded as a Swedish-heritage school in 1860. Disappointingly, they’ve yet to get off the high horse and name this guy the best mascot in college athletics, instead opting for the far more predictable Vikings moniker.

The Fightin’ Ikea’s most prominent alumni include former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson and actor Dave “Gruber” Allen of Freaks and Geeks fame, along with two Noble Prize winners! I see you Augustana.

On the court, the Vikings are 3-time reigning champions of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, fresh off of a season that saw them lose a nail bitter to Babson College in the Division III National Championship.

Neat stuff right? Illinois on the other hand is a Division I school from a power conference, who’s yet to drop a game and is playing at home. The line couldn’t be high enough for me to roll with the Vikings.

*For the life of me I couldn’t find a spread for this game, so I made a semi outrageous one up myself. And I’m STILL going with the Illini.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Illinois

-Arkansas State Red Wolves at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Indiana (-11)

What a time it is to be alive when 2-2 Arkansas State comes into Bloomington to do battle with 2-2 Indiana!

The Hoosiers are fresh off a win over UCF that saw them outscore the Bulls 37-19 in the second half. Senior guard Robert Johnson was particularly impressive in that game, putting up 21 points while going 3-3 from beyond the arc.

Thanks to the Hoosier Tip-Off Classic, IU and the Red Wolves share a common opponent in Howard. Arkansas State defeated the Bison 92-78, while Indiana only mustered a 86-77 win against Howard in its victory.

By the transitive property, that means the Red Wolves should win this game outright. But I’ve never been much of a mathematician.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Indiana

-UAB Blazers vs Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 12:00PM ET - FloHoops.com ($)
  • KenPom Spread: Iowa (-6)

People say two wrongs don’t make a right. The past two nights, the Hawkeyes did its best to prove that point to be true, producing two wrong results with absolutely nothing positive to take from them. Entering each game as 7.5 point favorites, Iowa not only failed to cover against Louisiana and South Dakota State, but lost outright.

The Hawkeyes now find itself in the consolation of consolation games against UAB at the Cayman Island Classic where they’ll hope to salvage what they can from this shipwreck of a trip South.

Luckily for Iowa, UAB has had its own fair share of headaches, including dropping an overtime game against Buffalo on Monday evening, so it might just be the cure for what alis the Hawkeyes.

Both teams will walk away with participation trophies (I’m guessing) with Iowa’s being slightly bigger.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Iowa

-VCU Rams vs Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 5:00PM ET - ESPN2
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan (-5)

After dropping a close one to LSU in its opener at the Maui Invitational, Michigan rolled over host Chaminade 102-64 to setup today’s contest with VCU.

Junior guard Charles Matthews has had himself some fun in the sun, putting up 28 and 22 points in the Wolverines first two games.

VCU enters today’s tilt fresh off a solid 83-69 win over Cal. Sophomore guard De’Riante Jenkins paced the Rams with 27 points and 11 rebounds on his way to the double-double.

The Rams are projected to finish near the top of the A10 this year and have been tested early this season with games against Virginia, Marquette, and the aforementioned Golden Bears.

  • Pick Against The Spread: VCU

***

Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 4-1