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1/6 Big Ten Preview: Michigan Hosts Indiana

Preview the Big Ten’s slate for Sunday.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has a loaded slate on Sunday with four games on the docket. There will be two marquee matchups on the docket with Indiana going on the road to face Michigan and Iowa hosting Nebraska. It should be a wild afternoon and evening.

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

Game of the Day:

-No. 21 Indiana Hoosiers at No. 2 Michigan Wolverines

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

The marquee matchup of the day will be in Ann Arbor as Indiana travels to face the Wolverines on Sunday afternoon. It’s going to be a great test for both teams and should have a significant impact on the Big Ten title race as well, considering that both squads are undefeated in conference play so far.

For Michigan, this is another opportunity to assert its dominance on a national stage. The Wolverines are 14-0 and the vast majority of the team’s wins have come by significant margins. However, Michigan hasn’t been all that impressive in the last few weeks and has shown some vulnerability. But will a tougher challenge bring out the best in Michigan?

On the other side, Indiana is 12-2 overall, 3-0 in Big Ten play, and has won seven games in a row. The Hoosiers are red hot. However, like Michigan, some cracks have been showing. This is particularly true given some recent injury issues. Rob Phinisee is out in the backcourt, which could have a massive impact on Sunday’s game.

This matchup is likely going to come down to two things. First, how Charles Matthews and Michigan’s other guards defend Romeo Langford in transition and in the lane. If Michigan can force him into uncomfortable looks, Michigan has a great shot.

Moreover, can Indiana hold up in the backcourt without Phinisee? Zavier Simpson isn’t a great player offensively, but he can punish poor point guard play. Devone Green will need a big game for the Hoosiers to come out on top.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Indiana

The Rest:

-Illinois Fighting Illini at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 1:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Northwestern (-8)

Sunday’s action will start with an intriguing in-state matchup between Illinois and Northwestern. And while the Wildcats look like the favorite, this one could be more competitive than many think nationally. Illinois has been showing more fight lately and fans are hoping that the Illini can turn that improved play into a win at Northwestern.

For Northwestern, this is an opportunity to get back on track after getting blown out on the road against Michigan State earlier this week. The Wildcats also can’t afford a loss for the team’s postseason hopes as the team’s resume has taken some hits in recent weeks.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Illinois

-No. 24 Nebraska Cornhuskers at No. 23 Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 5:30PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska (-2)

Without a doubt, this is one of the more bizarre matchups I have ever seen at this time in the season. Despite the fact that both teams are ranked coming into this matchup, they only have a combined 1-5 record in Big Ten play so far this season. These are genuinely good teams, but it feels like a loss for either on Sunday could be devastating.

For Nebraska, this is a chance to regroup after a road loss to Maryland earlier this week. The Huskers have been particularly bad on the road in recent years and this is another opportunity to correct that issue. For Iowa, this is a chance to get back on track after starting 0-3 in Big Ten play and getting blown out by Purdue earlier in the week.

Expect a lot of offense and some really solid play from the forwards. The matchup to watch will be Tyler Cook against Isaiah Roby in the frontcourt. Whoever comes out on top there will likely end up winning this one.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Iowa

-Wisconsin Badgers at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 7:30PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-1)

The final Big Ten matchup of Sunday lost some sizzle after Wisconsin lost at home to Minnesota and Penn State fell on the road against Michigan earlier this week. The losses leave both teams desperately searching for answers coming into Sunday’s game.

The stakes are obviously much greater for Wisconsin in this one. The Badgers have lost two in a row and three of the team’s last five. A loss to an underwhelming Penn State team would really be another massive blow. The matchup to watch will be Mike Watkins against Ethan Happ inside.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Wisconsin


Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 38-31-2