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2/28 Big Ten Preview & Open Thread: Michigan Hosts Nebraska

Preview the Big Ten’s slate for Thursday.

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

The Big Ten has two games on Thursday night that should have some implications for the Big Ten title race and the league’s NCAA at-large hopes. Nebraska will go on the road to face Michigan and Northwestern will host Minnesota.

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

Game of the Day:

-Nebraska Cornhuskers at No. 9 Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM (ESPN)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan (-11)

The biggest game of Thursday night for the Big Ten will take place in Ann Arbor between two teams trying to bounce back from tough losses over the weekend. Michigan fell to Michigan State on Sunday and Nebraska couldn’t pull off what would have been a key upset against the Boilermakers on Saturday.

Realistically, Michigan fell out of the Big Ten title race with Sunday’s loss and Nebraska’s fringe at-large NCAA hopes will ride on the Big Ten Tournament. However, neither is technically out of it yet. The Wolverines are only a game back in the Big Ten standings and the Huskers have 15 wins with three huge games remaining. If either of these teams can win out, their respective goals could easily become reality.

Those circumstances make Thursday night’s matchup particularly intriguing. The Wolverines will certainly be favored, but the Huskers have shown some more fight in recent weeks. Charles Matthews is also questionable for Michigan, and his absence in this one would really change the dynamics of this matchup. As such, it should be a fun matchup;

  • Pick Against the Spread: Nebraska

The Rest:

-Minnesota Golden Gophers at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM (ESPN2)
  • KenPom Spread: Northwestern (-1)

Entering this game, Minnesota is arguably the Big Ten’s most legitimate bubble team. The Gophers are 17-11 overall and are almost universally projected to be one of the last two or three teams into the NCAA Tournament field at the moment. More simply put, every game is going to have a huge impact on Minnesota’s postseason hopes going forward, including Thursday night’s road trip to a struggling Northwestern.

But as the Gophers look to score a road win, Northwestern sits in a much different position. The Wildcats have lost eight straight and have fallen from an NCAA dark horse into a bottom tier Big Ten team. Fans will simply be hoping the team can deliver a good moment on Thursday night before the team’s season likely ends in Chicago.

The matchup to watch in this one will be on the wing between Amir Coffey and Vic Law. The two are some of the better wings in the league and will likely have a huge impact on which team goes out on top in this one.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Minnesota

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 65-54-6