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11/22 Big Ten Thanksgiving Preview: Michigan State Battles UCLA

Preview the Big Ten’s slate for Thanksgiving.

NCAA Basketball: Florida Gulf Coast at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Although Thanksgiving is typically a holiday associated with feasts and football, there are some great college basketball games as well. And three Big Ten teams will be in action, including a marquee showdown between Michigan State and UCLA.

Let’s take a look at the day’s games.

Game of the Day

-Michigan State Spartans vs UCLA Bruins

  • Time/TV: 10:00PM ET (FS1)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-5)

The Spartans have eagerly been waiting for another opportunity to prove themselves after falling to Kansas earlier this season. Well, it’s finally here. Michigan State will get a chance to matchup against a solid UCLA team on Thursday night.

This is Michigan State’s first quality opponent since that Kansas loss and fans are hoping the team can start converting its impressive statistical profile into some wins on the court. And the Spartans will be solid favorites heading into this matchup.

UCLA is a solid team and comes into this game ranked 39th on KenPom. Forward Kris Wilkes leads the team and has scored double-digits in every game this season. Kenny Goins and Joshua Langford will have their work cut out trying to stop him. UCLA is a team that relies on its interior game, so expect some physical play on Thursday.

By all accounts, this figures to be a fun game with Michigan State coming out on top. The Spartans will simply have to get the job done.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State

The Rest:

-Northwestern Wildcats vs Fresno State Bulldogs

  • Time/TV: 8:30PM ET (ESPNU)
  • KenPom Spread: Northwestern (-6)

The Wildcats will open up play in Fullerton on Thursday with a matchup against a decent, but beatable Fresno State squad. This is easily Northwestern’s most difficult opponent so far this season and should begin to tell us about this Wildcat team.

Fresno State comes in rated 115th on KenPom and is led by Braxton Huggins, who is a really efficient player and shot blocker. Expect him to make some noise in the paint.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Fresno State

-Wisconsin Badgers vs. Oklahoma Sooners

  • Time/TV: 1:30PM ET (ESPN)
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-5)

The Badgers continue the team’s trip to the Bahamas on Thursday with a matchup against a feisty Oklahoma team. Wisconsin beat Stanford by double-digits on Wednesday and is hoping to continue the team’s success on Thanksgiving.

Oklahoma is 38th on KenPom and is a relatively diverse team. More specifically, Oklahoma relies on a variety of players at multiple spots and plays well on both sides of the floor. This is a lot different than last year’s team, which was dominated by Trae Young. The names to watch will be Christian James and Brady Manek.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Wisconsin


Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 5-5-0