After only one game the past two days the Big Ten has four games this afternoon.
Game of the Day
#7 Maryland Terrapins at #25 Ohio State Buckeyes
- Time/TV: 4:00 PM ET (CBS)
In today’s biggest game the Maryland Terrapins will travel to face the Ohio State Buckeyes in a top 25 showdown. Ohio State hit a rough patch in the middle of the season but a 5-1 run recently got them back into the top 25. They lost on the road to Iowa but now have a chance for a win against a top ten Maryland program. The Terps have won nine in a row since losing at Wisconsin and beat Ohio State at home by 12 earlier in the year.
Interestingly enough the two teams enter today both scoring 71.7 points and giving up 62.3 points per game. Maryland has had some issues offensively but has looked a bit better down the stretch, even if they’re still only shooting 31.8% from deep. Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith are both averaging north of 15 points and have been key to Maryland’s success this season. On the other side of the ball Ohio State has relied heavily on Kaleb Wesson so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that he struggled last time out in a loss to Iowa. If Wesson gets going it will put Ohio State in good position today.
Today provides a good opportunity for Ohio State to show they’ve turned a corner after a dreadful 1-6 run. While they’ve had wins over Indiana, Michigan and Purdue in their recent success, Maryland would be their first win against a ranked team since they beat Kentucky in December. They had a chance for a win over a ranked team against Iowa but came out cold and let Iowa open with an 18-3 run.
With this game being played in Columbus it should give Ohio State a solid shot at a win today. The problem is Maryland has been rolling as of late and have seemingly fixed most of their problems from earlier in the season.
Maryland continues to surge and adds to their winning streak.
#9 Penn State Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers
- Time/TV: 12:00 PM ET (FS1)
The Hoosiers have bounced back nicely from a four game losing streak with wins against Iowa and Minnesota. At 17-9 the Hoosiers are at the back end of the NCAA Tournament field but still currently penciled in as a tourney team. The remaining schedule doesn’t get any easier so while it provides Indiana with opportunities for some wins to solidify their resume, it also means the rest of the schedule is going to be difficult. Next up is a top ten Penn State squad.
Penn State finally saw an eight game winning streak end with Illinois edging them 62-56. It was definitely an off night with the Nittany Lions shooting 36.2% from the field and 21.1% from three.
The question is can Indiana keep up some of the momentum they’ve been building. The team has had a tendency to come out flat in big games and hasn’t found consistent success shooting from outside. That could prove costly against a Penn State team that has been considerably improved this season and has had no problem scoring the ball.
Penn State has shown no problems winning on the road, with road wins against Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan this year. Look for them to win on the road once again.
Pick: Penn State
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Wisconsin Badgers
- Time/TV: 1:00 PM ET (BTN)
Wisconsin has gone 4-1 over the last five games and landed some quality victories against Michigan State and Ohio State. Now they have another chance for a big win with Rutgers coming to town. The Badgers are always tough at home and Rutgers have lost their last four games on the road (Illinois, Iowa, Maryland and Ohio State).
Rutgers offense hasn’t always been pretty but Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. have stepped up when needed most of the time this season. The key to the Scarlet Knights success has been on the defensive side of the ball, as well as their ability to take care of business at home. They face a similar team in Wisconsin, one that is much better defensively than offensively and will always be hard to beat at home.
If this game was in Jersey it’d be easy to pick Rutgers, with the Scarlet Knights beating Wisconsin by seven earlier in the season. In that game Kobe King led the Badgers with 18 points and he’s no longer a member of the team.
Rutgers relies on their defense and their offense isn’t exactly flashy. Wisconsin has finally started to show some signs of life on offense and will likely do enough to keep Rutgers at bay.
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Northwestern Wildcats
- Time/TV: 3:00 PM ET (BTN)
Minnesota’s inability to win close games cost the Gophers a chance at the NCAA Tournament this year and a recent 1-5 run hasn’t made things any easier for Richard Pitino. At least things get a bit more manageable this afternoon with a road trip to Northwestern. The Wildcats have lost ten in a row, even though they have had a chance to win a number of those games. Now one game behind Nebraska the Wildcats will try to avoid the Big Ten cellar.
Daniel Oturu has been a staple all season for the Gophers and Marcus Carr has had a pretty strong season. If Pitino could have found some consistency from the rest of the rotation things could have definitely played out differently this season for Minnesota. Of course they face a Northwestern team that has even more issues on offense and hasn’t had any one consistently there to lead on that side of the ball. While Northwestern has been dreadful on paper they have managed to hang around with a lot of teams that were more talented.
Northwestern’s ability to hang around, Minnesota’s inability to win close games and this being played in Evanston means the Wildcats could land an upset here. At the same time Minnesota is better than their 12-13 record indicates and should find a way to get it done today.