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12/18 Big Ten Preview: MSU Travels To Northwestern

Preview Wednesday night’s action for the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Oakland Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Things are cooling off for the Big Ten as the league prepares for the Christmas season, but there is still one more conference game before the teams go on break. This one will put Michigan State on the road to face an interesting Northwestern squad.

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

Game of the Day:

-No. 15 Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-9)

Despite all the reports, Michigan State isn’t dead yet. It might seem odd to say this about a team sitting at 7-3 overall and fifth nationally on KenPom, but yes, this team is pretty good. While many have been quick to jump off Michigan State’s bandwagon, the Spartans have quietly been building some momentum and now hope to score another road win on Wednesday night. A win here would put Michigan State atop the Big Ten standings.

On the other side, Northwestern sits at 5-4 overall with one of the more bizarre resumes you will see nationally. The Wildcats have largely swung between solid and atrocious. The team has three wins against top 130 teams on KenPom, but also has losses to Merrimack and Radford at home by double-digits. Though the Wildcats don’t look like a national championship squad, it’s hard to tell what you might get on any given night.

So what we have on Wednesday is your classic matchup of a good team going on the road in conference play to face a team hoping for an upset. And while the Spartans project to be solid favorites in this matchup, it’s worth mentioning that no Big Ten team has scored a road win in conference play so far this season. Amazingly, the Big Ten teams are a combined 0-13 in such games. Michigan State hopes to break that streak.

The matchup to watch here will be in the backcourt as Cassius Winston faces off against Boo Buie and Pat Spencer. This would seem to be a favorable matchup for the Spartans. If Northwestern can slow down the senior guard, an upset could be brewing.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 18-19-2