It’s tough to win on the road in the Big Ten. Two teams from the state of Indiana will try to do just that Friday night. In their way stand two home teams fresh off big road wins of their own.
Game of the Night
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM EST, FS1
- KenPom Spread: Maryland (-4)
Is Maryland rounding into form? It sure looks that way. Since conference play resumed, the Terps are 3-0, including a close win over Nebraska that serves as the biggest plus on their tournament resume and a dynamite performance over the Gophers in Minneapolis. Bruno Fernando is the scariest man in the Big Ten. Mark Turgeon’s squad’s weakness is turnovers. They don’t force very many, and Anthony Cowan loses the ball far too often for a first-tier Big Ten point guard.
The Hoosiers are more of an enigma. They are lights out from two, with both Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan piling up points at the rim, but Langford can’t hit threes and Morgan can’t hit free throws. The Hoosiers have a top 40 defense, but it’s built on poor shooting from their opponents at the line and behind the arc, and those are stats that don’t travel night-in and night-out. They are also turnover-prone themselves. This game could be a masterpiece where Fernando and Cowan trade baskets with Morgan and Langford. Or it could be a turnover-fest where the victor will be the team that decides to stop shooting themselves in the foot.
- Pick Against The Spread: Maryland. Indiana’s only good half in conference play so far has been their second half against Illinois.
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM EST, FS1
- KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-5)
In some ways, these two teams are a lot alike. They both are good at not fouling and bad at drawing fouls. They both rely heavily on a frontrunner for Big Ten Player of the Year, with a supporting cast that’s solid but not overwhelming. They both have losses against instate rivals that they’d like a do-over on.
But Purdue shoots a lot of threes, grabs a lot of offensive rebounds, and plays a lot of freshmen. Wisconsin does none of those things. Wisconsin has three road wins against power conference teams. Purdue has zero.
Purdue is more spurtable than the Badgers, but also more susceptible to a bad shooting night. I’m not sure any Boiler can come close to guarding Happ, but the same is true of the Badgers and Carsen Edwards. If the game is close, we will get yet another round of the announcers wondering whether it makes sense to foul Ethan Happ and make him hit free throws, where he is less than 50% on the season. I expect an old-fashioned, possessional Big Ten basketball game.
- Pick Against The Spread: Badgers. Victory will favor the team that plays with the most poise, and that’s Greg Gard’s team.
Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 17-19-1