It’s funny how one week can feature so many exciting games -- at least on paper -- and the next can not. This Sunday happens to be the latter of those two scenarios.
Today’s Big Ten slate includes only two non-conference matchups, with both of which expected to be blowouts. Purdue will look for its sixth straight win as it hosts Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Iowa will try to bounce back in a home matchup against Southern. Both of the Big Ten clubs are favored by 20 or more points in these games.
It might not be the most exciting Sunday of basketball in the Big Ten, but hey it’s still college basketball, right? So with that, let’s check out previews for today’s games.
Big Ten Game of the Day
IUPUI Jaguars at No. 21 Purdue Boilermakers
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET/BTN
- KenPom Spread: Purdue (-25)
Really either one of these games could be considered our game of the day so I went with the hotter Big Ten team because let’s face it, neither of these opponents really get the fans going so why not focus on the better of the two Big Ten teams playing today.
As I mentioned before, Purdue is on a roll right now. The Boilermakers have ripped off five straight victories, including impressive performances against Arizona, Louisville and Maryland. During this stretch senior center Isaac Haas has emerged as a true offensive threat, averaging 15.6 points per game. He’s always had size at 7-foot-2, but this year he’s really stepped it up on the offensive end and is proving to be one of the league’s best big men.
Along with Haas, Purdue has seen strong offensive performances from sophomore guard Carsen Edwards, senior forward Vincent Edwards and senior guard Dakota Mathias. Those three are each averaging more than 13 points per game on the season. That is why Purdue ranks second in the Big Ten in points per game at 85.9 points.
As for IUPUI, it has been a poor year so far. The Jaguars are 2-5 on the year, and that doesn’t include a single game against a major conference team yet. Purdue will be the first true big-boy team on the Jaguars’ schedule so if they’ve struggled against the mid-majors, why would we think they’d far well against Purdue?
Senior forward Aaron Brennan is the leading scorer for IUPUI with 14.9 points per game. On paper he’s their best offensive threat, but also keep an eye on freshman guard Jaylen Minnett, who is leading the team in three-point percentage at 44 percent. He’s made at least two three-point attempts in four of the team’s last five games.
IUPUI hasn’t experienced much success this year and nor have they had a challenging schedule. It would take an incredible shooting performance by the Jaguars or a complete no-show by Purdue to pull off this upset. I don’t see either of those happening as the Boilermakers will cruise in this one.
Pick Against The Spread: Purdue
- Time/TV: 5:00PM ET/BTN
- KenPom Spread: Iowa (-20)
What are the odds that both of the Big Ten teams would be playing a school with the team name of Jaguars? Probably as low as Southern pulling off the upset today, but then again with how Iowa is playing right now anything is possible.
It’s a battle right now between Iowa and Wisconsin for the biggest disappointment in the Big Ten so far this year. The Hawkeyes are currently 4-6 on the season, losing six of their last seven games. That includes losses to mid-majors UL-Lafayette and South Dakota State -- so that’s why I said another Hawkeyes’ loss on Sunday is possible.
Southern enters this matchup 2-7 on the season, losing on Saturday against UCF. The Jaguars lost by 47 points at Illinois in the season-opener but also played No. 1 Duke relatively tough with a 17-point loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Only one player averages double-digit points for Southern, that’s senior forward Jared Sam, who is dropping 16.6 points per game and also snagging 7.6 rebounds. He has some decent size too at 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds.
Odds are sophomore forward Tyler Cook will be matched up with Sam. While Southern probably won’t put up much of a fight in this game, this could be a fun player matchup to watch. Cook has been one of the bright spots this year for the Hawkeyes -- he’s averaging 13.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game -- and this could be another good battle for him before Big Ten play gets into full swing.
Iowa has been very disappointing this year, but there’s no excuse for why they can’t dominate in this game. Iowa has more talent and this is the second game of a back-to-back for Southern. I expect the Hawkeyes to bounce back from that close loss at Iowa State on Thursday, and roll to an easy victory. This could possibly be the start of a nice little run for Iowa before Big Ten play starts up again in January.
Pick Against The Spread: Iowa
Record against the spread this season: 15-10