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12/11 Big Ten Preview: Michigan Travels To Illinois

Preview Wednesday night’s action for the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After a wild night of college basketball nationally on Tuesday, the Big Ten is set to have four more teams in action. This includes Michigan going on the road to face a desperate Illinois team and Rutgers hosting Wisconsin.

So, let’s take a look at what’s on the slate tonight.

Game of the Day:

-No. 5 Michigan Wolverines at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan (-1)

Since the season began, perhaps no two Big Ten teams have gone through more drama than Illinois and Michigan so far this year. Illinois has only gone 6-3 on the year, but has already played a handful of games that have gone down to the final minutes, including two heartbreakers last week to Miami (FL) and Maryland. On the other side, Michigan has jumpstarted out of the gates, vaulting to the top five in the rankings after entering the season with little fanfare.

And that leads into Wednesday night’s matchup, which looks to be pretty intriguing. Michigan seems to be the better team, but as can be seen from the spread above, it’s not by a big margin. Throw in the fact that the Wolverines have yet to record a road win this season (only through one game, admittedly), and it’s easy to see why Illinois and fans can reasonably think the Illini have a shot at the upset.

This game is likely going to come down to the battle in the backcourt. Zavier Simpson leads the Wolverines, but has been relatively inconsistent this year. Can Ayo Dosunmu and Andres Feliz do some damage on Simpson and company? Turnovers will be another key thing to watch, as both teams have gone through some rough patches in that area.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan

The Rest:

-Wisconsin Badgers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Rutgers (-2)

Don’t look now, but this is quietly one of the more important games in the Big Ten this week. It might not seem that way considering how Rutgers and Wisconsin have performed to date, but don’t be fooled. This is a crucial matchup for both sides. Wisconsin has a chance to build on its upset over Indiana on Saturday and Rutgers has a chance to score its first notable win of the season.

How Wisconsin’s guards respond to be a solid Rutgers defense is going to be really intriguing to watch in this one. D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison will need to play well if the Badgers are going to come out with a win.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Wisconsin

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 18-17-2