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1/19 Big Ten Preview & Open Thread: Wisconsin Hosts 17-0 Michigan

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Preview the Big Ten’s slate for Saturday.

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

The Big Ten has three games on Saturday and all three have NCAA Tournament implications. An undefeated Michigan team will go on the road against Wisconsin, Purdue will host arch-rival Indiana, and Minnesota will face Penn State.

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

Game of the Day:

-No. 2 Michigan Wolverines at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 12:00PM (ESPN)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan (-1)

Outside of the showdown between Duke and Virginia, this should be the biggest game anywhere in the country on Saturday. An undefeated Michigan squad will go on the road to face an upset-minded Wisconsin team and what should be a raucous crowd. It’s what college basketball is all about and should make for a fantastic game.

For Michigan, this is a chance to assert itself as one of the top teams in the country. The Wolverines are currently No. 2 in the AP Poll and will have a chance to move atop the rankings on Monday with a win with Duke’s loss earlier in the week. Rankings in January aren’t that crucial, but it’s been years since Michigan was No. 1 in the polls. As such, this is a huge opportunity for the maize and blue.

On the other side, Wisconsin is looking to get back on track after losing four of its last five games, including two at home. The Badgers are still 18th nationally on KenPom and in decent shape to make the NCAAs, but the team could really use a marquee win against a team like Michigan to boost its resume.

The matchup to watch here will be Jon Teske again Ethan Happ. The Wolverines are hoping that the big man can contain, or at least slow down, Happ on Saturday. If Michigan can avoid having to use double teams, it can be a long day for the Badgers. It will be interesting to see what ends up happening.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Wisconsin

The Rest:

-Indiana Hoosiers at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 2:00PM (FOX)
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue (-6)

What is regarded by many as the Big Ten’s best hoops rivalry returns on Saturday afternoon and there should be plenty of excitement on both sides. The Boilermakers have won three in a row and six of the last seven head-to-head against Indiana and fans will certainly be hoping that the team can grab another win against its arch-rival.

For Indiana, this is an opportunity to score a marquee road win and get things back on track against its in-state rival. The Hoosiers have also been on a rough stretch, losing three in a row. Can Romeo Langford show up in what will likely be his only trip to West Lafayette?

The matchup to watch will be upfront. Purdue’s frontcourt has been relatively inconsistent. Can the Boilermakers find a way to slow down Juwan Morgan inside? It will be a major challenge for Matt Haarms and Trevion Williams.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Purdue

-Penn State Nittany Lions at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 8:30PM (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-4)

Undoubtedly, this game will be the Big Ten’s least hyped game on Saturday. After Penn State continued its struggles earlier this week and Minnesota fell to Illinois, this one lost a bit of its sizzle. Both teams will simply hope to get back on track.

Minnesota certainly looks like the better team on paper, but the Gophers should have beaten Illinois earlier this week and that didn’t happen. As such, this one should be pretty intriguing. The pressure will be on the Gophers to avoid the team’s third loss in four games and to keep the team’s NCAA hopes in good shape.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Minnesota

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 44-35-3