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12/31 Big Ten Preview: New Year’s Eve Double Header

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

There are two games today with the most notable being rivals Minnesota and Wisconsin facing off this afternoon.

Game of the Day

#21 Minnesota Gophers at #6 Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 4:30 PM ET (BTN)

Minnesota is coming off of back-to-back wins over ranked teams with wins against Iowa and Michigan State. Now they’re looking for a win on the road as they travel to face Wisconsin in Madison. Their opponent, the Badgers, climbed up to sixth in the polls before losing at home against Maryland. The Badgers struggled shooting and struggled even more from the free throw line, making only 8 of their 15 attempts from the charity stripe.

Wisconsin has a well rounded starting lineup with four starters averaging double figures and almost all four of said players hitting 40% from three (Nate Reuvers is just under at 39.1%). Wisconsin is currently 14th in the country in three point shooting percentage, 47% from the free throw line and has a top ten ranking in both KenPom’s adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency ratings.

The Gophers have been led by Marcus Carr and his 24 points per game, while Liam Robbins is averaging 13.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game while also hitting 36.8% from three. They took advantage of a dreadful Spartans performance, with Michigan State hitting 25.7% of their 70 field goals. They’ll have a much more difficult challenge trying to slow down a Wisconsin offense that has been quite efficient this year.

If Minnesota can replicate what they did against Iowa or Michigan State they would be in great shape. But with Wisconsin looking to bounce back after an unexpected loss, and this game taking place at Kohl Center, it’s hard to pick against the Badgers.

Pick: Wisconsin

The Rest

#16 Michigan Wolverines at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET (ESPN)

In the late game tonight Maryland will look to build on their win over Wisconsin with a home matchup against Michigan. Maryland is looking to pick up some wins as the upcoming schedule remains difficult with road trips to Indiana and Illinois and a home game against Iowa coming up over the next week and half. The Wolverines are looking to improve to 8-0 but haven’t faced much competition, rolling past five mid-majors and then edging Penn State before their 11 point win over Nebraska on Christmas.

The Terps took advantage of Wisconsin’s poor shooting performance in their last win, with the Badgers hitting 38.1% of their threes and only shooting 53.3% from the line. If they want another win they’ll need to slow down Isaiah Livers, who is leading Michigan with 15.4 points per game. Hunter Dickinson has quickly emerged for the Wolverines with 15.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, quickly solidifying the frontcourt. Michigan is a bit turnover prone, averaging over 13 per game, and will need to limit mistakes against Maryland.

Maryland bounced back with a big win against Wisconsin and has the talent to beat a Michigan team that hasn’t been tested much yet this season. If Livers and Dickinson can play to their potential Michigan should have enough to get by. If Michigan gets turnover happy and the Terps continue to limit their own turnovers, Maryland could end up with another win over a ranked opponent.

It should be close but look for Michigan to find a way to get past Maryland.

Pick: Michigan