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2/20 Big Ten Preview: Nebraska Hosts A Rising Hoosier Squad

Preview the Big Ten’s action on Tuesday.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s slate is a busy one for the Big Ten with three matchups, including two involving Big Ten title contenders. Illinois will travel to face the Spartans, Rutgers will travel to face the Buckeyes, and Nebraska hosts Indiana.

Let’s take a look at the day’s games.

Game of the Day

-Indiana Hoosiers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska (-4)

After losing on the road to Illinois on Sunday, things are looking down for Nebraska. The team appeared to be trending toward the NCAA Tournament, but now finds itself wondering how many more wins it will take to even get on the bubble.

However, fans know that if Nebraska is going to get back in the discussion, it needs to get back on track. And Tuesday offers an opportunity to do just that. The Huskers host Indiana at home and will enter as decent favorites for the matchup.

There’s no debating that Indiana’s season hasn’t gone as planned, but the Hoosiers have gradually improved since the early season struggles. Indiana is currently on a four-game win streak and is 8-1 in its last nine games against teams outside the top 20 on KenPom. More simply put, Indiana is winning the games it should win.

The matchup to watch here will be upfront. Can Isaiah Roby and Isaac Copeland slow down an athletic Hoosier frontcourt? This is the first meeting between the two teams this season and Nebraska’s postseason hopes will hang in the balance.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Nebraska

The Rest:

-Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (ESPN2)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-18)

Let’s be honest, Tuesday’s matchup between the Illini and Spartans doesn’t look all that intriguing on paper. Michigan State has won 10-straight and has yet to lose to an opponent outside the top 25 on KenPom. Meanwhile, Illinois is 3-12 in Big Ten play this season and hasn’t beaten a single top 30 team on KenPom this season.

So, yeah, this one doesn’t project to be all that close.

However, if there is one thing to give Illini fans hope, it’s Michigan State’s repeated history of playing down to league opponents this season. The Spartans have won 10 in a row, but four of those wins came by a bucket or two against Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Northwestern. Just last weekend, Michigan State had to overcome a 27-point deficit to beat the Wildcats. As such, there should be at least some glimmer of hope.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Illinois

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Ohio State (-16)

Similar to the Illinois and Michigan State matchup, this is another game that doesn’t exactly look enthralling on paper. The Scarlet Knights have only won three Big Ten games this season and the Buckeyes are in the midst of a Big Ten title battle. Expecting Rutgers to go on the road and win in that scenario doesn’t look all that likely.

If there is a way for Rutgers to come out on top in this one, it has to come on the boards. The Scarlet Knights are a solid defensive team and do a solid job rebounding. Deshawn Freeman will need a big outing for Rutgers to have a shot at the upset.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Ohio State


Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 20-34-2