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2/22 Big Ten Preview: Minnesota at Maryland

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Four teams set for battle in a Wednesday night doubleheader on the Big Ten Network.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Minnesota Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

One thing is for sure, Tuesday night’s action is going to be a tough act to follow.

With three games on Tuesday’s schedule, Big Ten fans saw two overtime games, plus another Illinois upset over Northwestern. The biggest story of the night was the Hoosiers failure to execute down the stretch, dropping their fifth straight game in a loss to Iowa and extinguishing their hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid.

Two games are set for Wednesday night, highlighted by a meeting between two teams headed to the NCAA Tournament.

You can preview both of Wednesday night’s games below, with betting odds courtesy of Covers.com.

Game of the Night:

-Minnesota Golden Gophers at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 8:30PM ET — BTN
  • Covers Spread: Maryland (-5)

When the NCAA Tournament rolls around, we should be seeing both the Gophers and the Terrapins make an appearance.

The ‘Terps are mortal locks at this point, having won 22 games already, including wins over Big 12 powers Oklahoma and Kansas State. On the other hand, the Gophers do have the ‘magic’ number of wins with 20, but still aren’t a guarantee. They’ll most likely need another win, maybe two, to completely solidify themselves.

One thing we know for sure is that this is going to be a classic battle between two of the conferences best teams. Both are ranked in KenPom’s Top-40, with Maryland sitting at No. 32 and Minnesota at No. 38, respectively.

To me, it seems like the Gophers simply need this win more than the ‘Terps do. Plus, Minnesota has been playing very well lately, winning five straight conference games. Junior point guard Nate Mason is averaging 20+ points in his last four contests and has continued to show that he can hit big shots when the Gophers need them the most.

It’s going to be a great battle between Mason and Melo Trimble, as both are two of the premier guards in the Big Ten.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota

The Rest:

-Michigan Wolverines at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 6:30PM ET — BTN
  • Covers Spread: Michigan (-8)

If you’ve seen Rutgers play this year, then you know that they absolutely bring it on defense. First-year head coach Steve Pikiell demands a lot from his team and they always play with maximum effort. On the season, the Scarlet Knights are only allowing 66.8 points per game, good for a No. 54 ranking in all of college hoops.

However, the Wolverines are playing out of their minds as of late, winning three of their last four. Their only defeat came last game against Minnesota, a 83-78 loss in overtime.

This showdown is going to come down to Michigan’s outside shooting. Rutgers struggles when teams score a lot of points and the Wolverines have the firepower to score in bunches. If the boys from Ann Arbor can get it going, the Scarlet Knights won’t be able to keep up.

I think Rutgers does score at least one win in their three-game homestand to finish the year, but I don’t see it happening Wednesday night. After all, the Wolverines are firmly on the bubble and cannot afford a loss to No. 127 Rutgers.

Look out for the Corey Sanders and Derrick Walton Jr. matchup, both of these guys are exciting players and potential NBA prospects.

Going with both road teams on Wednesday night. Lay the points here, even though Rutgers keeps it close for awhile.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Michigan

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Casey’s Record vs The Spread: 38-22-1