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Saturday Big Ten Tournament Preview: Michigan vs Michigan State

Preview the two semi-finals matchups.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Fans may have mixed feelings about this year’s Big Ten Tournament, but the games have certainly made up for a lot of those complaints. Friday’s slate was fantastic and fans are set to get two more fantastic games on Saturday afternoon.

Let’s dive right in.

Game of the Day

-No. 1 Michigan State Spartans vs. No. 5 Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 2:00PM ET (CBS)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-4)

This is the game (nearly) everyone wanted to see heading into New York City this week. A rematch of a red hot Michigan State team against a red hot Michigan team. The Spartans have won 13 straight and the Wolverines have won seven straight.

Something’s gotta give.

On paper, Michigan State is the better team. The Spartans are sixth nationally on KenPom and won the Big Ten title outright last week. There’s talent everywhere on the roster and at least two players who will be high-end first round NBA Draft picks.

But paper statistical comparisons often don’t hold up that well in rivalry games and fans saw that in the first meeting, where Michigan went into the Breslin Center and beat the Spartans by double-digits. The Wolverines have a star upfront in Moritz Wagner and a tough backcourt with Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson.

This is one of those games where there are a plethora of interesting matchups to watch. Simpson and Cassius Winston in the backcourt looks great, Miles Bridges against Charles Matthews looks fun, and Moritz Wagner against that athletic Spartan frontcourt looks intriguing as well.

Both sides can play. Buckle up.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State

The Rest:

-No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers vs No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 4:30PM ET (CBS)
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue (-7)

This matchup might not be getting as much attention as the early game, but it’s an intriguing one, nonetheless. Purdue is looking to make up for some of its struggles over the last few weeks and Penn State desperately needs to win to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. There’s a lot riding on this one for both sides.

The most interesting matchup will be upfront, where Isaac Haas will face off against Penn State’s reserve big men after Mike Watkins got injured. The Nittany Lions will need to slow down Haas to have a shot at winning this one. The Boilermaker center has scored double-digits in seven straight games.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Penn State


Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 27-37-2