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2/27 Big Ten Preview: Can Penn State Keep Things Rolling?

Lamar Stevens and the Nits look to rack up an upset against Maryland

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

As Penn State pushes for a first round bye in the Big Ten tournament, the Nittany Lions need to get past a hot Maryland team, ranked #17 and have won four of their past five. Problem for Maryland? They go into the upset-prone, yet extremely quiet Bryce Jordan Center, where Michigan fell two weeks ago.

Along with the Maryland at Penn State game is #14 Purdue hosting Illinois, where an aggressive Brad Underwood defense could cause Carson Edwards and the Boilermakers some trouble.

You can preview the games below.

Game of the Night

#17 Maryland Terrapins at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET BTN
  • Spread: Penn State (+1.5)

The strategies for both teams will differ, with Maryland attacking the rim early and often, and Penn State opening up the perimeter for Myles Dread and Rasir Bolton. Dread and Bolton will be the X-Factors in Penn State pulling off the upset.

For the Terps, Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith will showcase their post-scoring ability, taking advantage of the inconsistent Mike Watkins. At Purdue 10 days ago, Watkins fouled out. At Illinois this past Saturday, Watkins only played 25 minutes with four fouls. If foul trouble forces Watkins to the bench early on, Penn State could struggle down low.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Maryland

The Rest

Illinois Fighting Illini at #14 Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET BTN
  • Spread: Purdue (-13)

Where has Carson Edwards been? The past two games Edwards is a combined 7-40 from the field, and 1-20 from behind the arc. The potential Big Ten player of the year has disappeared recently and has forced his teammates to step up. Luckily, they have.

The team as a whole has gone into a bit of a funk on the offensive side, but Ryan Cline and Matt Haarms have done their part. When Cline misses a three (not very often), Haarms cleans up the board with his 7-foot-3 stature. The perfect setup.

Unfortunately for Cline, he may not get very many opportunities for a clean shot, thanks to Trent Frazier and the highly energetic Illinois defense. This game will be a lot closer than what most think, including Vegas. The fighting Illini cover the spread.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Illinois