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1/17 Big Ten Preview & Open Thread: Massive Showdown In Lincoln

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Preview the Big Ten’s slate for Thursday.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten only has one game on Thursday, but it’s a huge one. A rolling Michigan State team will go on the road to face a red hot Nebraska team. The environment should be fantastic and it’s going to be a showdown between two really good teams.

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

Game of the Day:

-No. 6 Michigan State Spartans at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM (FS1)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-1)

Let’s set the stage for this one. Michigan State enters this game on an absolute tear. The Spartans are 15-2 overall, 6-0 in league play, and have won 10 in a row. And when you take a look at that recent win streak, things get even more impressive. Eight of those wins came by double-digits and six came against top 65 opponents on KenPom.

During this run, Michigan State has risen to third on KenPom and sixth in the AP Poll. The team is favored in every remaining regular season matchup, outside of a trip to Ann Arbor to face a (currently) undefeated Michigan team on February 24th.

It’s simply been a marvelous performance for Michigan State since November.

But on the other side, a worthy opponent awaits.

While Nebraska can’t boast a 15-2 record, it does sit at 13-4 overall and has won six of its last eight. Outside of road losses to Iowa and Maryland earlier this month, Nebraska has been about perfect over the last month or so. The Huskers are also up to 11th nationally on KenPom and are coming off a 15-point road victory over Indiana.

But what’s been the most impressive about Nebraska is the team’s play at home. The Huskers are not only 10-0 at home this season, but nine of those wins came by double-digits. In fact, Nebraska has been so good at home that it’s won 21 straight in Lincoln. But for a narrow loss to Kansas last season, Nebraska would be unblemished at home over the last two seasons. Not exactly an easy thing to do in today’s college basketball.

So, in short, what we have here is a unique matchup. A nationally elite Michigan State team on the road against a Nebraska team that plays incredibly well at home. Something’s gotta give and fans will be able to see what on Thursday night.

This matchup will likely come down to what Isaac Copeland and Isaiah Roby can do against a formidable Michigan State frontcourt. The Huskers need to keep Nick Ward uncomfortable and force Xavier Tillman on the floor. Ward’s primary weakness during his career has been foul trouble. Nebraska has to try and capitalize there.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Nebraska

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