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11/6 Big Ten Preview: Michigan State Set for Showdown With Kansas

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Eight teams are in action Tuesday night as we welcome college basketball back into our lives

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Michigan State Spartans vs Syracuse Orange Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s not overthink this. College basketball is back. We’re all super happy. Enjoy being glued to your television for the next four months everyone!

**As always, spreads are gathered from the KenPom GamePredictor

Big Ten Game of the Day:

-Kansas Jayhawks vs Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - ESPN
  • KenPom Spread: Kansas (-6.5)

Sometimes I need to go searching for the Big Ten Game of the Day and sometimes it hits me right in my stupid face. This is a stupid face type of Tuesday.

The Jayhawks and Spartans will, for all intents and purposes, kickoff the college basketball season as the first of a stellar doubleheader at the Champions Classic.

And while Tom Izzo and the Spartans shouldn’t be tempted by the mistress that is Indianapolis — thanks to their familiarity with the Sin City of the Midwest, I wouldn’t exactly recommend Spartan fans put the champagne on ice.

Bill Self’s 2018-’19 Jayhawks team is stacked and looks to be the best team money can buy (allegedly). Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson is eligible after sitting out last year (maybe Kansas DOES know how to play by the rules??) and has earned preseason All-Big 12 First team and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year recognitions.

Lawson will join up with returning 7-foot-1 center Udoka Azubuike and 6-foot-5 guard Lagerald Vick to give Bill Self a core of upperclassman that he’ll be relying on to help mold two highly touted five-star freshmen guards Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson.

What’s even scarier is I could go on and on about even more players on Kansas’ roster, but we’ve got a seven other Big Ten games to get to!

Michigan State will be fine. Take a deep breath and relax East Lansing.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Kansas

The Rest:

-Chicago State Cougars at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 6:30PM ET - BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Indiana (-30)

According to KenPom, Chicago State is college basketball’s 10th worst team entering the 2018-’19 season. What’s even crazier is that two of the nine teams worse than the Cougars are in action against Big Ten foes Tuesday night. Oh what fun!

I’d have picked Chicago State to win outright had they hired Mark Titus to coach them back to greatness. But they didn’t. So I’ll reluctantly go with Romeo Langford and company.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Indiana

-Fairfield Stags at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET - BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue (-21.5)

Fairfield enters this game with an offensive efficiency ranking of 264. Purdue, on the other hand, is ranked a teensy little bit higher, checking in at no. 12 according to KenPom.

You could make this game Fairfield versus Carsen Edwards and it’d take the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year to cover every damn time.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Purdue

-Delaware Blue Hens at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 7:30PM ET - BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Maryland (-19.5)

If not for some serious bad luck for the Blue Hens, this actually could’ve been a fun game. Alas, Delaware is without sophomore guard and reigning CAA Rookie of the Year Ryan Allen thanks to a knee injury and will be without last year’s leading scorer Ryan Daly because :checks notes: he transferred to St. Joe’s.

With both those players gone, the Blue Hens will be pinning its upset hopes to the rehabbing Kevin Anderson, who had knee surgery in January and is still working his way back to full speed.

At least Delaware has that sweet, sweet tax-free shopping.

Pick Against The Spread: Maryland

-Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET - BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-16)

Of all the Big Ten teams playing Tuesday night, Minnesota is the one I’d deem most susceptible to an upset bid. But apparently the Big Ten has been hitting the bakery hard because this is just cupcake opponent after cupcake opponent.

Omaha is picked to finish seventh in the mighty Summit League and has zero players on the leagues preseason First or Second All-Conference teams. They do have a gorgeous hockey arena, so go ahead and hang your hat on that Mavericks’ fans.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota

-Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET - BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska (-29.5)

Remember how I mentioned two teams worse than Chicago State are in action tonight? Well the Delta Devils are one of them!

Pegged to finish ninth in the SWAC, Mississippi Valley State does actually have a player worth making note of in 6-foot-4 guard Dante Scott. The former Memphis Tiger averaged 14.9 points per game last year for the Delta Devils and should provide at least an interesting matchup problem for Tim Miles.

But I absolutely love Nebraska this year. And I’m going to roll with the Cornhuskers until they prove me wrong.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Nebraska

-Coppin State Eagles at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET - BTN Plus
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-31)

Congrats Wisconsin! You win the award for cheapest get-in-the-door ticket price for Tuesday night at a whopping $3!

If I was in Madison, I’d absolutely be ponying up three George Washington’s to watch Buzzcut Brad shoot the lights out and Ethan Happ run post-up drills for 40 minutes.

Give me the Badgers. I’m laying the points.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Wisconsin

-Norfolk State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 8:30PM ET - BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan (-24)

Things get crazy when the Spartans and Wolverines get tangled up!

What’s that? Different Spartans? Screw it, I’m applying the same logic.

While far from the green and white clad Spartans tangoing with the Jayhawks earlier in the night, Norfolk State is far from a pushover, especially when compared to the aforementioned murderer’s row being served up to the Big Ten conference.

Sparty-lite returns its two leading scorers from last year in junior guard Steven Whitley and senior forward Alex Long. Together the duo averaged 22.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game and find themselves on the MEAC preseason All-Conference Second team.

With that in mind, do I dare pick Norfolk State to cover? I do indeedy!

  • Pick Against The Spread: Norfolk State

***

Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 0-0