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11/12 Big Ten Preview: Michigan-Creighton; Minnesota-Butler

Preview Tuesday night’s action for the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Media Day Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 Gavitt Games tipped off on Monday night with Iowa and DePaul and will continue on Tuesday with two more games featuring Michigan and Minnesota. Additionally, Indiana will return to action after opening the season with a 2-0 record.

Can the Big Ten get back on track after Monday’s loss? Let’s take a look.

Game of the Day:

-Creighton Bluejays at Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 6:30PM ET (FS1)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan (-4)

While Juwan Howard’s coaching debut was technically last week, Tuesday night feels like his first real test as Michigan’s head coach. The first game was against an underwhelming Appalachian State team at home, but Tuesday’s will be against a really solid Creighton team in what projects to be a tight contest.

Creighton enters this game at 1-0 on the season and ranked 31st nationally by KenPom. The Bluejays missed last year’s NCAA Tournament under Greg McDermott, but have made it five teams in the last eight seasons and have rated 55th or better seven times under McDermott’s leadership. This year’s squad is projected to compete at a pretty high level in the Big East.

For Michigan, this is a chance to get back on track after a poor second half against Appalachian State and prove the team can win without John Beilein at the helm. The most interesting matchup will be Michigan’s vaunted defense against a Creighton offense that ranks 12th nationally in efficiency. Wing Ty-Shon Alexander looks really good so far, shooting 62.5 percent from three-point range. Isaiah Livers will likely defend him.

Expect a competitive game that comes down to the last few minutes. If Michigan can slow down Alexander and avoid turnovers, Michigan has a decent shot at grabbing the win. It will also be interesting to see whether Creighton tries some of the same defensive tactics Michigan’s previous opponents have utilized.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Creighton

The Rest:

-North Alabama Lions at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Indiana (-22)

Much like Indiana’s first two games of this season, this matchup doesn’t look particularly intriguing on paper. North Alabama is rated 284th nationally on KenPom and enters this game as a double-digit underdog. The key players to watch for North Alabama will be Christian Agnew and James Anderson. Expect a solid win for the Hoosiers.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Indiana

-Minnesota Golden Gophers at Butler Bulldogs

  • Time/TV: 8:30PM ET (FS1)
  • KenPom Spread: Butler (-9)

After losing a tough one to Oklahoma on Saturday night, many teams would look to go home, lick their wounds, and try to improve. However, Minnesota will have to go on the road to face a feisty Butler team in what figures to be one of the team’s most difficult non-conference games this season. Meanwhile, Butler enters the game at 2-0 after easily dispatching with two underwhelming opponents last week.

Two players to watch for Butler are Bryce Golden and Bryce Nze. Both have shown some things early this season and will be looking to have big nights against Minnesota. The Bulldogs are a really good offensive team and have actually relied on the interior game more this year. This should be a challenge for Daniel Oturu.

If this game was in Minneapolis, it might be easier to see Minnesota walking away with a win on Tuesday night. However, expect an uphill battle for the Gophers. The team is going to need a big night from Marcus Carr to have a chance at pulling off this upset.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Butler

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 6-4-1