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11/29 Big Ten Preview: Six games on tap as the Big Ten looks to claw its way back

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With Purdue having the lone conference win, the Big Ten is in desperate need of a big night against the ACC.

NCAA Basketball: the Barclays Classic-Alabama vs Minnesota Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Game of the Day

No. 10 Miami Hurricanes at No. 12 Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 9:15PM ET - ESPN2
  • KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-3.5)

The Big Ten Game of the Day features two teams in Minnesota and Miami that have more in common then just its Top 15 rankings.

Entering the 2017-’18 season, you could argue that both teams were being slightly overlooked, not because of any glaring on-court deficiencies, but due to the college basketball blue bloods that make up its respective conferences.

And while the Hurricanes and Golden Gophers will still need to contend with the Duke’s and Michigan State’s come conference play, I don’t think anyone would be shocked to see either of these two teams be the last ones standing in the ACC or Big Ten come March.

For Miami, its trip to Minneanpolis-Saint Paul should prove to be the Hurricanes biggest test of the young season as its Miami’s first road trip and first game against a ranked foe. Sophomore forward Dewan Huell is the Canes leading scoring, having double-digit point outputs in all five of Miami’s wins.

However, it’s on the defensive side of the ball that the Hurricanes earn its stripes. Currently Miami ranks 7th in KenPom defensive efficiency, having allowed only one team to break 60 points against them.

Minnesota, on the other hand, is already battle tested. The Gophers won on the road at Providence early this year and also defeated No. 24 Alabama on a neutral court last Saturday in easily the most bizarre game of recent memory.

While the Golden Gophers struggled on the power play against the Tide, there is still a lot to like about them when they play at even strength. Junior forward Jordan Murphy remains one of the most dominate players in the country and will be a lot to handle for even Miami’s staunch defense.

Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota

The Rest

No. 1 Duke Blue Devils at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 9:30PM ET - ESPN
  • KenPom Spread: Duke (-8.5)

In the nights ‘this should have been freaking awesome’ matchup, top-ranked Duke comes in to Bloomington to battle the rebuilding Hoosiers.

The Blue Devils continue to earn its No. 1 ranking, as it followed up its early season triumph over then No. 2 ranked Michigan State by winning the Motion bracket at the PK80 last week. The championship game victory over Florida was an especially well earned feather in Duke’s cap, as the Blue Devils fought back from a 10-point deficit with only 4:38 left to play.

Indiana, meanwhile, has righted the ship a little by wining three games in a row. Senior guards Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk dropped 18 and 17 points, respectively, in the Hoosiers most recent contest, albeit against Eastern Michigan.

But the waters are about to get a little choppy again at Assemble Hall, as wunderkind Marvin Bagley III and co. will be too much for Archie Miller’s Hoosiers.

Pick Against The Spread: Duke

Michigan Wolverines at No. 13 North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Time/TV: 7:30PM - ESPN
  • KenPom Spread: North Carolina (-8.5)

Trying to figure out the Tar Heels this season is proving to be a challenge. North Carolina is coming off a rough outing against Michigan State in which it only scored 45 points and its No. 13 ranking might be a little bit of an overstatement for this specific Roy Williams team.

Junior forward Luke Maye, who had been playing out of his mind for the Heels, had an especially challenging game against Sparty, scoring only 8 points on a 3-for-13 night from the field.

Michigan rebounded from its opening round loss to LSU at the Maui Invitational to put a shellacking on Chaminade before besting VCU in its final game on the island.

John Beilein’s team is one of the few in the Big Ten that hasn’t pooped the bed as of late. And I’d really like the Wolverines chances to pull off an upset if this game were being played in Ann Arbor. But having to go into Chapel Hill makes winning this one outright a tough task for the maize and blue.

Pick Against The Spread: North Carolina

Boston College Eagles at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 9:15PM ET - ESPNU
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska (-2.5)

Unless you’re an alumni of either of these two institutions, there isn’t a ton to get excited about here.

Both the Eagles and Cornhuskers are expected to be amongst the also-rans in its respective conferences, but hey, at least they both got invited to the party.

Boston College’s leading scorers are two guards in sophomore Ky Bowman and junior Jerome Robinson. Coincidentally, the same can be said about Nebraska who is paced by juniors Glynn Watson Jr. and James Palmer. It’s fair to say this one may come down to whichever pairing bests the other.

Each team has lost its last two Big Ten-ACC Challenge games, so something has to give here.

Pick Against The Spread: Nebraska

Clemson Tigers at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 7:15PM ET - ESPN2
  • KenPom Spread: Ohio State (-1)

Clemson comes into Columbus with a 5-1 record having lost its only semi-challenging game of the year to Temple. Senior forward Donte Grantham has been the Tigers most reliable offensive presence, averaging 16 points and six rebounds in 29.8 minutes per game.

The Buckeyes are fresh off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Butler at the PK80. Ohio State’s lone win in Oregon came against the Stanford Cardinal in a game where junior guard C.J. Jackson broke out with 23 points.

The nod goes to the home team.

Pick Against The Spread: Ohio State

Penn State Nittany Lions at NC State Wolfpack

  • Time/TV: 7:15PM ET - ESPNU
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State (-3.5)

If Penn State wants to be taken seriously as a postseason contender it needs to win this game.

The Lions have very few opportunities for quality non-conference wins, having dropped its only other real non-Big Ten test to Texas A&M last week at the Barclays Classic.

For NC State, its once impressive win over previously No. 2 ranked Arizona says more about the Wildcats than it does about the Wolfpack, evident by Arizona’s historical fall outside the AP Top 25 and NC State’s consecutive losses to Northern Iowa and Tennessee.

Tony Carr is far and away the best player in this game and I think he shows up in a big way for the Lions.

Time and time again, this is the type of game that Penn State would find a way to lose in the most frustrating way possible. But this year’s team is different and a win on the road in Raleigh will get a longtime monkey off of Penn State’s back.

Pick Against The Spread: Penn State

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 6-4