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2/23 Big Ten Preview & Open Thread: Nebraska Hosts Purdue

Preview the Big Ten’s slate for Saturday.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten had a loaded slate for one of the last weekend days of the regular season. Purdue will go on the road to face Nebraska, Ohio State will host Maryland, Wisconsin travels to Northwestern, and Illinois and Penn State will face off.

Let’s take a look at today’s Big Ten action.

Game of the Day:

-No. 15 Purdue Boilermakers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 2:00PM (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue (-3)

This game will be featured two teams in vastly different situations. Purdue heads into this game a half game back in the Big Ten standings and hoping to get back into a tie for first place with a win. Meanwhile, Nebraska sits at 15-12 overall and is coming off a really tough loss to Penn State on the road earlier this week. Time is running out for the Huskers to make a last second NCAA push and Saturday’s game might be the end of the line.

There are a lot of intriguing matchups that will happen in this game. Nebraska will have its hands full trying to slow down Carsen Edwards in the backcourt and James Palmer will have an opportunity to do some damage on the wing. Isaiah Roby has also had a few nice games recently, which will challenge Purdue. Expect a battle.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Nebraska

The Rest:

-Penn State Nittany Lions at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: 12:00PM (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Illinois (-2)

Two teams in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings will face off in Champaign on Saturday that should have some significance for the Big Ten Tournament. Both teams are trying to get a bye to avoid the Wednesday games in Chicago. A win here would go a long way toward reaching those goals.

Both teams also come into this game with some momentum. Illinois has won four of its last five games and Penn State has won three of its last five games. Expect a tough battle on both sides. It will be interesting to see how the Illini try to slow down Lamar Stevens on the defensive end of the floor.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Illinois

- Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 24 Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 2:00PM (ESPN)
  • KenPom Spread: Maryland (-7)

While neither of these teams are realistically in the Big Ten title race any longer, both enter Saturday with some significant things on the line. Maryland is looking to improve its NCAA and Big Ten Tournament seeding and Ohio State is looking to get another quality win to improve its NCAA at-large resume. The Buckeyes have a respectable resume, but haven’t done quite enough to feel comfortable just yet.

The matchup to watch in this game will be upfront between Bruno Fernando and Kaleb Wesson. These are two of the better big men in the league and will have a huge impact on the outcome of this one.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Maryland

-No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 8:30PM (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-5)

Since losing at home to Minnesota on January 3rd to open the new year, Wisconsin has consistently performed like a high level team. The Badgers have lost here or there, but none have been bad losses. Wisconsin now sits at 18-8 overall and will be hoping to grab another win heading into the last week or two of the regular season.

And the other side, Northwestern has watched its season unravel and comes into this game amid a seven-game losing streak. If the Wildcats are going to pull off this upset, it’s going to need a great defensive performance from Dererk Pardon on Ethan Happ.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Wisconsin

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 63-52-4