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1/10 Big Ten Preview: Two struggling teams try to regain confidence in a crucial game

Minnesota and Northwestern look to rebound after disappointing losses and news.

NCAA Basketball: Brown at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Big Ten slate features a lopsided game in Rutgers at No. 4 Michigan State and a game between the two disappointing teams as of late in the Big Ten, Minnesota at Northwestern. Minnesota and Northwestern both desperately need wins if they want to improve their postseason resumes, and a loss for either team would plummet their ranks in the Big Ten standings.

You can preview both of the games below. All spreads are based on ESPN.

Game of the Day:

-Minnesota Golden Gophers at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET BTN
  • ESPN Spread: Northwestern (-4.5)

Tonight, the Minnesota Gophers led by Richard Pitino head into Evanston, Illinois, to face the Northwestern Wildcats in hopes of forgetting about the absence of their interior defensive leader, Reggie Lynch.

Lynch was just accused of his third sexual assault charge and his chances of returning to the Minnesota basketball team seems slim, at the moment. The Gophers are going to need their other forward Jordan Murphy to pick up the slack down low.

What also hurts the Gophers is the injury of star player Amir Coffey, who has averaged 14.1 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game so far this season. Minnesota is going to need someone to fill the void of Coffey if they want to win tonight and in the future, for Coffey isn’t coming back anytime soon.

The Northwestern Wildcats are coming off of back-to-back losses against Nebraska and a surprising 15 point loss to Penn State. The good news for Northwestern, Bryant McIntosh is healthy and ready to get them back on the NCAA tournament track, but its going to take a lot of wins, especially a potential big one tonight against Minnesota.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Northwestern

The Rest:

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at No. 4 Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET
  • ESPN Spread: Michigan State (-21)

This game doesn’t look intriguing, and its not going to be an intriguing one. Rutgers comes in tonight 1-3 during Big Ten play while the Spartans are 3-1, with their only loss coming against Ohio State this past Sunday.

If anyone thinks Michigan State is going to take it easy against an easy opponent like Rutgers, you haven’t seen Tom Izzo angry. Miles Bridges and crew most likely were yelled and screamed at by Izzo the past two practices after getting beaten physically and mentally by the Buckeyes on Sunday.

While the spread seems like a lot for Michigan State to cover, an angry Izzo doesn’t bode well for the Scarlet Knights.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State