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1/9 Big Ten Preview: Michigan Looks to Upend No. 5 Purdue in Potential Trap Game

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Game of the Day

-Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 9:00 ET/ESPN
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue (-2)

Purdue’s win streak has reached 11 games and the Boilermakers have quietly climbed into the top five of the AP poll. Purdue has done absolutely nothing to only be favored by two against an unranked opponent.

However, the difficulty of defeating Michigan on the road combined with the talent that the Wolverines hold justifies this nearly even line. Michigan has yet to defeat a ranked opponent. But, the Wolverines’ current seven-game winning streak includes wins over UCLA, Texas, Iowa, and Illinois. Michigan has also gone a perfect 9-0 at the Crisler Center this season and has won 12 consecutive home games, dating back to last season.

When the Wolverines get it going they truly have the potential to knock off a number of good teams. Charles Matthews, Mo Wagner, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, and Duncan Robinson are all capable of taking over a game offensively. When that offense meshes with Michigan’s consistently stellar defense, problems for its opposition arise.

Though the Wolverines have gone cold offensively at times, their defense never seems to fail. Michigan currently ranks 12th in the NCAA in points allowed per game with an average of 61.6.

With that being said, it still will be extremely difficult for the Wolverines to beat a Purdue squad that seems to be firing on all cylinders. Though the 15-2 Boilermakers haven’t picked up the amount of quality wins to justify a no. 5 ranking in the eyes of many, the fact that Purdue has not only beaten, but blown out the majority of its opponents thus far proves that the Boilermakers shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Purdue is just a hard team to keep up with for most opponents. In fact, the Boilermakers are the only Big Ten team with four players averaging at least 13.3 points per game so far this season.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan

The Rest

-Wisconsin Badgers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 8:30 ET/BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska (-2.5)

Both of these teams dropped their most recent game to fall to an even 2-2 in Big Ten play. Nebraska and Wisconsin could each really use a win to boost their NCAA Tournament resumes.

Besides when they defeated then no. 14 Minnesota, the Cornhuskers have fallen short in big games this season. Though this current Wisconsin team isn’t similar to the juggernaut we’ve become accustomed to seeing, a victory over a well-respect Badgers squad would be huge for James Palmer Jr. and company.

The Badgers just lost a game they really could not afford to lose. That makes the Nebraska game even more crucial for Wisconsin. If the Badgers want to somehow keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, they are going to need some help from other teams. An off day from Nebraska, who is 8-1 and clearly a more dangerous team at home, would absolutely be the help Greg Gard’s squad is searching for.

It seems Wisconsin just hasn’t been able to catch a break this season. We’ll see if its luck is able to turn against Nebraska in a hostile road environment.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Wisconsin

-Penn State Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 6:30 ET/BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State (-1.5)

We’ve caught ourselves saying that Indiana is far from being a respectable team a number of times this season. But, it seems like every time we do, the Hoosiers go out and pick up an unexpected win to try to prove us wrong.

Though Minnesota has been struggling lately, a road victory over the Gophers is huge for Indiana. The Hoosiers have some significant momentum heading into Tuesday’s game against Penn State.

The Nittany Lions have lost some nail-biters this season, but are fresh off of a much-needed 78-63 victory over Northwestern. Penn State’s leading scorer, Tony Carr, has been tossing up more bricks than usual from the field lately. Carr went only 3-13 (23.1 percent) from the floor against the Wildcats and 6-23 (26.1 percent) the game before against Maryland.

The Nittany Lions will need Carr to rediscover his efficient stroke in order to defeat Indiana on Tuesday.

Pick Against the Spread: Indiana