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2/19 Big Ten Preview: Indiana at Minnesota

Preview Wednesday night’s action for the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has two games on Wednesday night and both look really intriguing. Rutgers hosts a hot Michigan team in the early game and a struggling Indiana team goes on the road to face a feisty Minnesota squad in the late game.

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

Game of the Day:

-Indiana Hoosiers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-6)

This may not end up being the most impactful game of Wednesday night, but boy does it look like the most interesting. On the one side, we have an Indiana team that’s been struggling substantially over the last few weeks. The Hoosiers have lost five of the team’s last six games, including a 24-point loss at Michigan on Sunday. The Archie Miller critics are starting to grow louder and many are starting to wonder whether Indiana is about to blow another great start to the season and miss the NCAA Tournament yet again.

On the other side, Minnesota’s at-large NCAA hopes look dead. The Gophers are 12-12 overall and would need a nearly perfect finish and/or a Big Ten Tournament run to have any realistic shot at receiving an NCAA bid. Nonetheless, Minnesota can score a quality win, help its Big Ten Tournament seeding, and feel a lot better with a win on Wednesday. It’s a “no lose” situation for the Gophers, who hope to play spoiler.

So yeah, things could get wild.

The game itself will likely come down to Indiana’s ability to defend inside against Daniel Oturu and on the boards. The Hoosiers have fallen apart defensively in recent weeks and the Gopher big man will present some major challenges. If Indiana can hold up there, the Hoosiers should have a shot at walking away with a quality win.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Minnesota

The Rest:

-Michigan Wolverines at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Rutgers (-2)

Unlike the game described above, this matchup is about what these teams have to gain, rather than what they might lose. Michigan enters this game having won five of its last six and Rutgers enters having won two of three and holding an impressive 17-0 record at home. Even if some of those wins came against lesser competition, it’s quite an accomplishment.

These teams met a few weeks ago in New York City and the Wolverines narrowly came out on top in front of a generally split crowd. This game will probably look pretty similar, coming down to who rebounds better and whether Brandon Johns and Jon Teske can keep Rutgers off the offensive boards. Isaiah Livers also poses an interesting challenge, as he did not play in the first matchup. Michigan’s offense has looked significantly better with the junior wing in the lineup. It should be a tight one.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Rutgers

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 25-23-4