The Big Ten has a loaded slate on Thanksgiving Eve with five teams in action, including marquee matchups for four teams. It figures to be a really exciting day on the court that should have some significant impact on the months to come.
So, let’s take a look at what’s on the slate tonight.
Game of the Day:
- Time/TV: 12:00PM ET (ESPN)
- KenPom Spread: Michigan (-1)
After playing the team’s first four games at home, Michigan will play its first game with Juwan Howard as head coach away from home on Wednesday as the Wolverines travel to the Bahamas to face Iowa State. On paper, it projects to be a fairly even matchup and KenPom gives Michigan a 56 percent chance to come out on top.
Iowa State is lead by junior forward Solomon Young and has actually relied significantly on the team’s interior play so far this season. Former Nebraska forward Michael Jacobson has also made some nice plays for the Cyclones to date. Iowa State enters the game at 3-1 with three wins over underwhelming opponents and a loss to Oregon State on the road.
The matchup to watch in this one will be inside between Jon Teske and that talented Iowa State frontcourt. The turnover battle should also be interesting to follow, as the Cyclones are one of the better teams nationally in avoiding turnovers. Michigan has struggled in that area a bit more than usual in the team’s opening few games. We’ll see how the Wolverines hold up in this one.
- Pick Against the Spread: Michigan
-No. 3 Michigan State Spartans vs. UCLA Bruins
- Time/TV: 2:30PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-15)
Things haven’t been easy for the Spartans so far in Maui. Michigan State opened with a loss to Virginia Tech on Monday and then had to hold on during a frantic Georgia comeback on Tuesday. And now, Michigan State will face off against a UCLA team looking for a statement win under new head coach Mick Cronin. Senior guard Prince Ali has also done some damage for the Bruins so far this season.
The good news is that Michigan State enters this one as a substantial favorite. If Cassius Winston and the other Spartan guards can avoid turnovers, this should be a win. Also keep an eye on freshman Malik Hall, who has been up and down for the Spartans so far in Maui.
- Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State
-Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Mississippi Rebels
- Time/TV: 5:00PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: Penn State (-2)
The Nittany Lions have been red hot so far this season. The team is 5-0 and only one of those games have been competitive. And we’ll now see whether that momentum can continue against a tougher opponent on Wednesday. Ole Miss enters the game just outside the top 50 on KenPom and 4-1 overall.
Ole Miss is lead by Breein Tyree in the backcourt and, as such, the battle to watch will be there. Can Jamari Wheeler and Myreon Jones do enough to slow down Tyree? We’ll find out on Wednesday, but expect it to have a big impact on the outcome.
- Pick Against the Spread: Penn State
- Time/TV: 5:00PM ET (Radio: Husker Sports Network)
- KenPom Spread: South Florida (-1)
It’s been a hectic start for the Huskers so far this season. Nebraska opened up with two embarrassing losses at home, followed that up with three straight wins, and then suffered a tough loss to George Mason on Tuesday night. Nebraska is now hoping to get back on track against a beatable South Florida team on Wednesday.
Keep an eye out for David Collins and Laquincy Rideau for the Bulls on Wednesday. How they play for the Bulls will tell a lot about this one.
- Pick Against the Spread: South Florida
- Time/TV: 8:300PM ET (Radio: WGN 720)
- KenPom Spread: Pittsburgh (-2)
After a horrendous start to the season, Northwestern has bounced back a bit. The Wildcats have won two in a row, including a win on Monday night against Bradley. However, things figure to get tougher on Wednesday as the Wildcats face Pittsburgh.
This game projects to be tight and will likely come down to the backcourt. Xavier Johnson has been playing well for the Panthers and Pat Spencer will hope to slow him down on Wednesday night. Center Ryan Young will also look for another big night for Northwestern.
- Pick Against the Spread: Pittsburgh
Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 11-9-2