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1/29 Big Ten Preview: Indiana at PSU

Preview Wednesday night’s action for the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has two games on Wednesday night and both featured ranked teams. Northwestern travels to face Michigan State in the first game and Penn State hosts Indiana in the late game.

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

Game of the Day:

-Indiana Hoosiers at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 8:30PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State (-5)

This game probably wouldn’t have looked very appetizing before the season, but it sure looks that way now. Both teams enter Wednesday night very much in the hunt for the NCAA Tournament, and maybe more. Indiana has won four of its last six games and Penn State is coming off impressive back-to-back wins over Ohio State and Michigan. Both teams also have nearly identical records.

Simply put, this figures to be a measuring stick game.

Given Penn State will be playing at home, the Nittany Lions figure to be moderate favorites heading into tip-off. However, the game is likely going to come down to how Indiana’s offense holds up against a lengthy Penn State defensive unit. The Hoosiers have been inconsistent all year on the offensive side of the floor, relying extensively on scoring in the paint. If Penn State can keep the Hoosiers on the perimeter, it could be a long night.

The matchup to watch will be in the frontcourt as Joey Brunk and Trayce Jackson-Davis face off against Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins. In particular, Jackson-Davis and Watkins are going to have some really intriguing matchups. Watkins has the length to play with Jackson-Davis, which isn’t something he sees that often. Expect a physical battle down low.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Penn State

The Rest:

-Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 6:30PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-16)

On paper, this game doesn’t look like it will have much pop. The Spartans are 15-5 and ranked in the top 10 on KenPom and will be hosting a Northwestern squad that is 1-10 against top 100 opponents so far this season. Nothing is guaranteed in college basketball, but it’s easy to see why the Wildcats will enter Wednesday night as underdogs.

With all that said, this game is still significant. Michigan State is deep in a Big Ten title race with a handful of other teams and can’t afford to lose a game like this at hope if the Spartans are going to raise a banner at season’s end. If there is a route for Northwestern to pull off the upset, it’s going to need big nights from Pat Spencer and AJ Turner.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 21-22-3