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1/9 Big Ten Preview: Iowa Travels to Northwestern for Middle of the Pack Matchup

Fran McCaffery and the Hawkeyes look to extend to a 2 game winning streak Wednesday Night

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

Last year, many would look at tonight’s slate of Big Ten games and shrug, go to bed early, and look at the scores in the morning. This year’s league has boasted intense, electrifying games most of the time, with teams moving in and out of the AP Top 25.

The first game, #16 Ohio State travels to face Geo Baker and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, a game that could surprise some people, evident by Ohio State’s spread as low as -5 on some sportsbooks. Iowa at Northwestern will most definitely excite Big Ten fans tuning into Big Ten Network at 9:00PM ET, with both teams coming off close wins the other day.

You can preview the games below.

Game of the Night

- Iowa Hawkeyes at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET Big Ten Network
  • Spread: Northwestern (-3)

Iowa took care of Nebraska last Sunday, forcing the Huskers to shoot from range due to an excellently executed zone defense. Northwestern struggled more last time out, barely able to overcome Illinois’s aggressive and quick defense. However, in a year like this in the Big Ten, a win is a win.

The key matchup to watch will come between Derek Pardon and Tyler Cook, two of the top centers in the Big Ten. Pardon has the more traditional size of a center, but Cook has the quickness and athleticism to beat Pardon down low, it’ll be fun to watch.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Iowa

The Rest

- #16 Ohio State Buckeyes at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET Big Ten Network
  • Spread: Rutgers (+6)

The Buckeyes have changed since last year, there’s no doubt about it. Losing Keita Bates-Diop hurt, but didn’t destroy the team. CJ Jackson and Kaleb Wesson have carried the team so far this year, with their effort coming close to upsetting #6 Michigan State last Saturday.

Nothing has changed much for Rutgers the last couple of years, winning only one Power 5 conference game so far this season. They sit at 0-3 in Big Ten play and have to host another upper-tier Big Ten play after dealing with Maryland last Saturday, a game that got out of hand in a hurry.

However, Big Ten fans saw what happened in the Big Ten tournament last year, and Vegas knows best, and only has Ohio State as a six point favorite. Am I saying Rutgers wins? No. But can they keep it within single digits? Maybe.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Ohio State