After several key games yesterday the Big Ten is set for a quieter night in the conference. Of course earlier in the season this could have been a much more notable night, with all four teams having NCAA Tournament hopes at some point this season. Things don’t always go according to plan, though, with all four teams on the outside looking in as March approaches.
Big Ten Game of the Day
Maryland at Northwestern
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET / FS1
- Spread: Even
Northwestern came out swinging this weekend against Michigan State, dominating the Spartans for the first half. Then they fell apart in the second half in an epic collapse, seemingly forgetting how to put the ball in the basket as the Spartans came roaring back for one of the largest comebacks in the past decade or so. Now they’ll try to recoup against Maryland tonight.
The Wildcats have lost three games in a row and will likely be without guard Bryant McIntosh. Northwestern’s offense has gone cold, averaging 57 points the last six times out. The offense doesn’t have much of an identity and it’s a key reason why Northwestern hasn’t came remotely close to living up to the preseason hype.
The last time out Maryland took care of Northwestern, knocking off the Wildcats by 16. Kevin Huerter led the Terps with 22 points in that game and should be primed for another strong showing. Maryland has struggled with the better teams in the Big Ten, but they’ve managed to take care of business against the bottom feeders in the Big Ten. While Maryland hasn’t been great at times, Northwestern’s lack of offense will likely keep them from picking up a win tonight.
Pick Against The Spread: Maryland
Minnesota at Wisconsin
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET / FS1
- Spread: Wisconsin -6.5
Northwestern was a well hyped and ranked team at the beginning of the season. So was Minnesota. Even with the Gophers struggling this year, they were still 13-3 at one point this year before going 1-11 the last 12 games. Of course the Gophers lineup has been thin this season, suffering another blow with the news that Amir Coffey will miss the remainder of the season.
Things haven’t been pretty, especially as of late, with Minnesota losing their last two games by a combined 54 points. The team still has two very good players in Jordan Murphy (17.4 PPG, 11.5 RPG) and Nate Mason (16.4 PPG, 4.2 APG), but past that there’s little fire power remaining. Richard Pitino has had to experiment with a variety of lineups and things haven’t exactly been working for the coach, with his team set to face another challenge tonight.
While Wisconsin has been pretty atrocious this season, playing in Madison has always been a challenge. The Badgers did knock off Purdue last week, though part of that seemed to be the team playing off of the hype of returning star Frank Kaminsky, who was honored at the game. Wisconsin’s roster has seen plenty of turnover and the sad reality is that there hasn’t been much talent behind standout Ethan Happ.
Of course they still have Ethan Happ and will be playing at home in a rivalry game against a thin Minnesota program that also has a limited offense past their two best players. With Minnesota falling apart down the stretch, it’s hard to pick against the Badgers tonight. Especially with the game being played at the Kohl Center.
Pick Against The Spread: Wisconsin