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2/13 Big Ten Preview: Maryland and Nebraska Face Off In Bubble Showdown

Preview the Big Ten’s action on Tuesday.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s slate isn’t a loaded one for the Big Ten, but it is one that could have a huge impact on the league’s NCAA Tournament implications. Maryland and Nebraska will tangle in a bubble showdown and Michigan State will put its winning streak on the line.

Let’s take a look at the day’s games.

Game of the Day

-Maryland Terrapins at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska (-1)

Last week featured two massive matchups among the Big Ten’s best teams. While Tuesday night doesn’t offer anything like those games, it does offer an immensely important bubble game between Maryland and Nebraska.

Entering this game, both sides are desperate for a win. Both Maryland and Nebraska are listed by most as outside the NCAA Tournament field at the moment and Tuesday offers a unique opportunity. A win would be a boost to either side’s RPI and would simultaneously hurt another bubble team. As such, there’s little debating the importance of this game.

Heading into Tuesday, there’s little debating that Nebraska is feeling a lot more confident. The Huskers have won five straight and eight straight at home. By all measures, Nebraska is surging. The question is simply whether the team can keep things going for the final few weeks of the regular season.

On the other side, Maryland enters the game desperately needing a win. The Terps have won two of the last three, but lost the three games prior to that run. Moreover, Maryland hasn’t won a road game since December 3rd. That’s not exactly a good statistic for a team trying to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. As such, Tuesday’s matchup is a big one.

The key matchup should be upfront where Bruno Fernando will face off against Isaac Copeland and Isaiah Roby. Both groups can be inconsistent and who comes out on top on Tuesday could determine the game.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Nebraska

The Rest:

-Michigan State Spartans at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (ESPN2)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-10)

Tuesday’s matchup between the Gophers and the Spartans features two teams going in the opposite directions. While Michigan State has gotten rolling and won eight straight, Minnesota has fallen from a Sweet 16 contender into a bottom-tier Big Ten team.

On paper, there really isn’t a reason to think Minnesota wins this game. Michigan State is more talented, has more depth, and has a lot more on the line. The Gophers will have to hope Nate Mason can put together a huge night to have a chance.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State

-Northwestern Wildcats at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Northwestern (-2)

This is another matchup that features teams heading in the opposite directions. While Northwestern has been far from perfect this season, it has made some progress lately and has won four of the team’s last six games. Meanwhile, Rutgers has lost seven straight with the last two coming by double-digits.

Fans know there aren’t any serious postseason implications riding on the outcome of this one, but that doesn’t mean this game doesn’t matter. Northwestern is trying to get into position to make a Big Ten Tournament run and Rutgers is trying to score a desperately needed win. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Northwestern

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 18-33-2