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1/13 Big Ten Preview: Michigan and MSU In Action

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Preview the Big Ten’s slate for Sunday.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten only has two games on Sunday, but both feature bonafide Big Ten title contenders. Michigan State will travel to face Penn State and Michigan will host Northwestern. Obviously, both could have championship implications.

Let’s take a look at today’s Big Ten action.

Game of the Day:

-No. 6 Michigan State Spartans at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 4:30PM ET (CBS)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-9)

By any measure, Michigan State has been on fire over the last month and a half. The Spartans have won nine straight, including five against top 100 opponents. Michigan State is also now 5-0 in league play and up to fourth nationally on KenPom. Simply put, Tom Izzo and his team have been on an absolute tear.

And that run will be on the line on Sunday as Michigan State goes on the road to face an inconsistent, but dangerous Penn State team. While the Nittany Lions have a losing record this season, the team has had some remarkable performances. These including beating a really good Virginia Tech team and nearly taking down Indiana and Maryland.

The easy pick here is Michigan State. The Spartans are simply a better team than the Nittany Lions and have continued to improve in recent weeks. But this one could end up being closer than many think if Penn State comes out with inspired play. Mike Watkins will have to have a big game inside to slow down Nick Ward.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State

The Rest:

-Northwestern Wildcats at No. 2 Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 7:30PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan (-14)

The Big Ten’s second game on Sunday could very well be a historic one as Michigan looks to grab the program record for best start to a season at 17-0. The Wolverines improved to 16-0 with a road win over Illinois earlier this week and will hope to keep things rolling against an interesting Northwestern squad.

These two teams actually met in early December, when Northwestern took Michigan to the final possession of the game. The Wolverines were able to grab a win, but easily could have lost the game. It’s probably the closest Michigan has come all season to losing, which is crazy to say on January 13th.

The matchup to watch will be Dererk Pardon against Jon Teske. Pardon was the key piece that pushed Michigan to the brink in December. If the Wolverines can slow him down inside, Michigan should be able to make history.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Northwestern

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 43-33-3