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1/16 Big Ten Preview: Penn State and Illinois Look to Play Spoiler

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Penn State and Illinois rank dead last in the Big Ten, can they pull off some upsets?

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has seen some crazy games this year, showing off the talent and competitiveness of the league, but two teams have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, Penn State and Illinois.

Penn State, 0-6 in Big Ten play, has struggled to compete with the rest of the league, with the exception of hard fought games against Indiana at home and on the road at Nebraska. Same goes for Illinois, 0-5 in Big Ten play, who has only played a well-rounded complete game once in conference play, on the road at Northwestern.

Both teams look to pull off possible upsets at home however, and mix up the standings a little bit. You can preview these games below.

Game of the Day:

- No. 23 Iowa Hawkeyes at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET BTN
  • Spread: PK

Iowa has been on a tear in conference play recently, winning their last three games, two of which came against AP Top 25 teams (at the time) Nebraska and Ohio State. With the return of Luka Garza, Iowa can utilize every aspect of their offense, feeding the post players, and kicking it out for open three pointers.

Garza and the rest of Iowa will have to deal with Mike Watkins down low, so the key will be forcing him into foul trouble, something Watkins has had trouble with in his latest games.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Iowa

The Rest

- Minnesota Golden Gophers at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET BTN
  • Spread: Minnesota (-1.5)

Brad Underwood has gotten his team to play he wants them to play on defense, high tempo and pressure. However, the offense has often went stagnant and has caused them to go winless so far in Big Ten play.

Against a team like Minnesota though, you’re going to need to keep up offensively. With weapons Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy, there’s not a lot you can do to stop their offense. Trent Frazier will have to make his shots, or else its going to be a long day for the Fighting Illini.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Minnesota