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11/24 Big Ten Preview: A Bevvy of Black Friday Basketball

The day after Thanksgiving offers some tantalizing match-ups for Big Ten fans.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama A&M at Minnesota Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As we all awaken from our Thursday food coma, we are met with some alluring Big Ten games. Match-ups almost as enticing as the turkey, potatoes, and stuffing we gorged on yesterday. So stay away from the mall and the throngs of people mowing each other down for a cheap television.

Just sit back, relax and watch these great games, while gnawing on some Thanksgiving leftovers of course...

Game of the Night

-Maryland Terrapins vs St. Bonaventure Bonnies

  • Time/TV: 9:30 ET/CBSSN
  • KenPom Spread: Maryland (-6)

Maryland has looked sharp with their blend of freshman and second-year players. Their glimmering 5-0 record has came against some fairly good competition as well. St. Bonaventure is in the conversation as the best Atlantic-10 team in the country. The Bonnies one blemish came in the season opener against Niagara. That really is a bad loss, but yet, St. Bonaventure is still ranked 82nd in KenPom.

Much of this has to do with the play of their senior guard Matt Mobley. So far this season, Mobley is averaging 25 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds per game. The Bonnies are also shooting a scorching 47 percent from the field as a squad. Maryland will come out on top, but the Bonnies will be in this one until the end.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Maryland

The Rest

-No. 14 Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Massachusetts Minutemen

  • Time/TV: 12:00 ET/Stadium Network
  • KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-13)

Do not be fooled, this is a neutral site game for Minnesota. They will be playing in the Barclays Center Classic tonight, which actually makes it more of a home game for Massachusetts. Actually, the game will be taking place at Long Island University’s gym as the Barclays Center is occupied. Thus, defeating the purpose of calling the slate of games the “Barclays Center Classic”. Puzzling.

Anyway, the Minutemen are led by Luwane Pipkins, who averages close to 23 points per game. Massachusetts has also defeated Western Carolina, whom the Gophers beat last Sunday. Minnesota has routed teams in the second half so far this season and they should not have much trouble with UMass.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Minnesota

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs East Carolina Pirates

  • Time/TV: 1:00 ET/BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Rutgers (-9)

Albeit against bad opponents, the Scarlet Knights have looked great so far this season. As a team, they have shot 45 percent from the field, a very nice clip. East Carolina is ranked 220th in KenPom, not great, but it will be Rutgers best opponent so far.

They will be tested, the Pirates are led by veterans B.J. Tyson and Kentrell Barkley. Both East Carolina guards are averaging 17 and 15 points per game respectively. Despite that, the Pirates have two bad losses to Radford and Central Connecticut State.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Rutgers

-Penn State Nittany Lions vs Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

  • Time/TV: 3:00 ET/BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State (-21)

Sporting an impressive 5-1 record, the Nittany Lions will be looking to bounce back after dropping a close game to Texas A&M. The Aggies were really the first real test for Penn State, and they came up short. Their load will get a little lighter with Oral Roberts coming to town. The Golden Eagles are 1-4 with their one win coming against an extremely unimpressive opponent.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Penn State

-Indiana Hoosiers vs Eastern Michigan Eagles

  • Time/TV: 4:30 ET/BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Indiana (-7)

To stay relevant as Big Ten play approaches, the Hoosiers need to win this game. They still have Duke and Louisville remaining on their non-conference slate. Plus, early conference games against Michigan and Iowa are on the horizon too.

It will not be an easy game by any stretch. Eastern Michigan comes in 4-0 with all of their wins being fairly convincing. The Eagles feature three players averaging over 15 points per game, the Hoosiers feature none.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Eastern Michigan

-Illinois Fighting Illini vs North Carolina Central Eagles

  • Time/TV: 7:30 ET/BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Illinois (-15)

In their one tough game against DePaul, Illinois handled their business, winning by nine points. With five players now averaging over 10 points per game, it’s hard to think NC Central will compete. As of now, the Eagles most quality win came against Southern, who is ranked 331st in KenPom and was nearly doubled-up by the Illini in the season opener. Take that for what it’s worth.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Illinois

-Northwestern Wildcats vs Sacred Heart Pioneers

  • Time/TV: 8:30 ET/BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Northwestern (-22)

The Wildcats are coming off a grueling three game stretch which saw them go 1-2. They have not played since Sunday and are surely rested and ready for the Pioneers. Sacred Heart lost three in a row to begin the season and have won two straight over lackluster opponents.

Northwestern has been able to handle the cupcakes on their schedule this season. Sacred Heart comes into this game ranked 315th in KenPom, making them a certified cupcake.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Northwestern

-Wisconsin Badgers vs Milwaukee Panthers

  • Time/TV: 9:00 ET/BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-14)

The Badgers have lost three straight, all to worthy opponents. In Wisconsin’s defense, all three of those games were close and completely winnable. While the early season losses in non-conference play are discouraging, one has to give the Badgers credit. They have had the “stones” to play tough non-conference games rather than scheduling cupcakes like some Big Ten teams have opted for.

Milwaukee comes to town as a higher end Horizon League team. Currently 4-1, their one big win came against Iowa State. On the other hand, they suffered an inexcusable double-digit loss to Division II Concordia-St. Paul, a game after beating the Cyclones. That leads me to believe the Panthers have some serious holes to fill.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Wisconsin