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12/2 Big Ten Preview: Big Ten Play Continues

BTP previews Saturday’s action.

NCAA Basketball: Oral Roberts at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Whether you like conference play starting this early in the season or not, you can’t argue that it’s good to have Big Ten basketball back.

The conference hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine so far, but it’s Big Ten basketball and there’s nothing better than that.

Let’s take a look at the three games on day two of the Big Ten season.

Game of the Day

-Penn State Nittany Lions at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 5:00 ET/BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State (-2)

Can anyone remember the last time Penn State was the favorite in a Big Ten road game? Me neither. Pat Chambers has one of his best teams during his time in College Park, and they have a chance to snag a statement road win in the conference opener.

The Nittany Lions are led by sophomore point guard Tony Carr who is averaging 21.3 points per game and is shooting 58 percent from 3. Though they are the favorites in this one, both of Penn State’s losses have come to KenPom top-100 teams, and all their wins have been against sub-150 teams.

On the other hand, Iowa hasn’t had an ideal start to the year. The Hawkeyes dropped two games in the Cayman Islands that should’ve been easy dubs and suffered a 24 points loss at Virginia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge earlier this week.

Expectations were high coming in for Fran McCaffery’s squad, but they’ve been disappointing as of late and need to turn things around in a hurry if they want to be a factor in the Big Ten.

Penn State has had the better start to the season, but they have yet to prove they can beat power five teams. Though Iowa has been struggling, this is the day they right the ship and defend home court.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Iowa

The Rest

-Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 12:30 ET/CBS
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan (-8)

After the Hoosiers’ gutty performance in the home loss against Duke, fans feel a lot better about this year’s team. None of Indiana’s wins have come against quality opponents, but they have started to make progress since the blowout loss in the season opener to Indiana State.

Michigan is coming off a 15-point loss at North Carolina, a game that anyone associated with the Wolverines would soon like to forget. With the loss of a few key contributors from last year’s group, John Beilein’s team is still trying to find their identity.

With the game being in Ann Arbor, I like the Wolverines in this one. There’s no doubt that Archie Miller’s team will put up a fight, but Charles Matthews has been very good thus far for Michigan and will give the Hoosiers problems. Look out for the matchup of Mo Wagner and De’Ron Davis down low, two of the best big men in the Big Ten.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Indiana

-Ohio State Buckeyes at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 5:00 ET/FOX
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-9)

Both teams have had their ups and downs to start the season. Wisconsin sits at 3-4, but all four of their losses have been to top-25 teams. Ohio State is 5-3, and each of their losses is against top-60 opponents.

Though the Badgers have a losing record, there’s still a lot of time for them to turn their season around. It all starts with Ethan Happ who is averaging 17 points and 9 rebounds on the year and is in the conversation for player of the year in the conference. Freshman guard Brad Davison has also held his own in the backcourt, scoring around 11 points a night.

Ohio State fans knew it would be a rebuilding season. Chris Holtmann’s team has shown flashes of potential, but a lot of the bad overrides the good. Keita Bates-Diop has been the man so far for the Buckeyes, and needs to continue this trend for his team to be competitive.

The Kohl Center is a tough place to play, regardless of the Badger’s record. I think Happ will be too much to handle inside for the Buckeyes, which will be the difference maker in this matchup. Like all Wisconsin games, it’ll be a close one, but Greg Gard knows how to win in Madison.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Ohio State

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Record against the Spread: 0-0