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11/10 Big Ten Preview: Illinois Takes On No. 21 Arizona

The Buckeyes, Spartans, and Scarlet Knights are all also in action.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Northwestern vs Illinois David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten figures to have a stacked slate of games on Sunday, including a marquee matchup for Illinois. The league also has notable teams like Michigan State and Ohio State in action.

Let’s take a look at the action.

Game of the Day

-Illinois Fighting Illini at No. 21 Arizona Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 9 PM EST (PAC12)
  • Spread: Arizona -6.5

Brad Underwood’s squad continues their Arizona excursion with a trip to Tucson in a matchup against Sean Miller’s Arizona Wildcats.

The Wildcats are no. 21 in the country and handled the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 91-52 in their first matchup.

Illinois has had it a little more difficult.

The Illini struggled with Nicholls St, beating them in overtime 78-70 in their first game, and then held off Grand Canyon 83-71 in Phoenix.

The Wildcats will be their most difficult matchup to date. An interesting matchup to watch will be the freshmen bigs for both teams. Arizona’s 6-foot-11 forward Zeke Nnaji scored 20 points in 21 minutes in his debut last week. Nnaji was the no. 40 in the 2019 class.

Not to be outdone, the Illini’s Kofi Cockburn is averaging a double-double after two games at 16.5 points and 12.5 rebounds. Cockburn dominated against Grand Canyon scoring 23 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

As for the game overall, I think Arizona covers the spread and takes this one. Illinois will compete hard, but come up short in the second half.

  • Pick against the spread: Arizona

The Rest:

-Binghamton Bearcats at No. 1 Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 7 PM EST (BTN)
  • Spread: Michigan State -35

The Spartans welcome the Bearcats for a Sunday evening contest from East Lansing.

Michigan State dropped a disappointing game against Kentucky earlier this week in the Champions Classic. Shooting woes plagued the Spartans as they were only 19 percent from beyond the arc.

With Joshua Langford out Michigan State struggled with identifying and relying on someone to take some of the scoring load off Cassius Winston. The 6-foot-1 senior scored nearly 34 percent of Michigan State’s points. The Spartans need to use this tuneup as an opportunity to answer that question.

Binghamton opened their season with an 84-64 loss at Cornell. Pierre Sarr paced the Bearcats with 16 points.

The 35-point spread is daunting, but according to KenPom and T-Rank, this is one of the worst squads in all of D1. I think Michigan State gets back on track with a drubbing of Binghamton.

  • Pick against the spread: Michigan State

-UMass Lowell River Hawks at No. 18 Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 4 PM EST (ESPNU)
  • Spread: Ohio State -22.5

The Buckeyes opened their 2019-’20 campaign by beating in-state rival Cincinnati in a rock fight from Columbus. Ohio State saw impressive performances from Kyle Young and freshman DJ Carton in the clutch.

The UMass Lowell River Hawks are 1-1 on the season with a loss to UMass and a victory over Long Island. They are currently no. 241 on KenPom and have shown an ability to score this season. Leading that charge is 6-foot-5 senior Christian Lutete who scored 51 points in their last game against Long Island.

Expect the Buckeyes to key in on Lutete, and while the spread will be close, I think the Buckeyes get there.

  • Pick against the spread: Ohio State

-Niagara Purple Eagles at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 1 PM EST (BTN+)
  • Spread: Rutgers -21.5

The Scarlet Knights and Purple Eagles get things going today at 1 PM from the RAC.

In their first game, Rutgers squeaked by Bryant, 73-71. Montez Mathis and Ron Harper Jr. paced the Scarlet Knights with 11 points apiece.

Niagara dropped their opening game, 72-64 at Drexel.

It is hard to say what kind of game to expect from Rutgers here. And with that in mind, it is hard to trust them to cover a 21.5-point spread. I think the Scarlet Knights will win this one with more ease than they did against Bryant, but I think it will be around a 15-18 point win.

  • Pick against the spread: Niagara