Game of the Night
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (FS1)
Purdue has been weird this season as they’ve shown the capability to beat the lights out of some high quality teams and then will follow that up with a complete inability to score the ball. The offensive consistency has been problematic all year and is blatantly apparent with Matt Painter constantly changing his starting lineup looking for something that works.
Riding a four game losing streak the Boilermakers need a win today against rival Indiana if they want any chance of salvaging their season. The Hoosiers picked up several key wins down the stretch to make up for a rough loss at home to Purdue and getting steamrolled by Michigan. Have the Hoosiers found some consistency?
There’s a lot of things that could happen tonight. The reality is Purdue has nights where they simply cannot score the ball, but they also have nights where they jump all over opponents at home and bring their traditionally stout defense to the table. With tonight’s game being a rivalry game that is also at Mackey it’s unlikely that Purdue comes out flat. Purdue has won six in a row against Indiana and has gone 9-1 over the last ten, after all.
If Indiana wants any chance of winning they’ll need to find a way to hit from three early and often. If the Hoosiers come out flat and lifeless like they did last time against Purdue tonight could get ugly. Look for a more focused Indiana team to play the Boilermakers much tighter today. While it’ll be closer, Purdue should find a way to get it done once again.
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (ESPN2)
A four game winning streak has helped Wisconsin shore up a previously iffy resume and has them on the fast track for a NCAA Tournament appearance. This week won’t be easy with a road trip to Michigan and home game against Minnesota on deck, but next week’s slate of Northwestern and Indiana is favorable. The Wolverines climbed back into the top 25 with wins against Rutgers and Purdue and are now on a five game winning streak.
The return of Isaiah Livers has been huge for Michigan. The junior is averaging 13.6 points per game and shooting 44.3% from three and his presence since returning has been huge over the last four games for the Wolverines. If Livers hadn’t returned it’s safe to say Michigan would be in a completely different position heading into March.
Wisconsin has started to figure out their offense over the last few weeks and their defense is still a typical Badgers defense. The only problem here is they don’t really have enough offensive options to likely keep up against a rolling Michigan team at home.
The Badgers will keep it close but look for Michigan to find a way to pick up the win.
- Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET (BTN)
Northwestern has the worst scoring offense in conference play and now get to face an Illinois team that has the best scoring defense in the Big Ten. Northwestern has also lost 11 in a row. Sounds like fun.
The Illini bounced back from a four game skid with a win at a top ten Penn State and then beat Nebraska by 12. The team has had issues scoring the ball in conference play and only shoots 30.9% from three but should have enough weapons to take care of business. Ayo Dosunmu has been a constant presence for the Illini, reaching double figures in 11 straight games. Kofi Cockburn is averaging 13.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game and should have his way inside against Northwestern.
The Wildcats have fell considerably since Chris Collins got them to the NCAA Tournament and this season has been a disaster. It’s a rivalry game at home but Illinois should find a way to add to Northwestern’s misery.
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET (ESPN2)
Ohio State finally climbed back into the polls last week and split a pair of games against Iowa and Maryland. Now they face a Nebraska team that hasn’t won since early January.
The Buckeyes are not only back in the polls but they are also climbing the seeding chart, with Ohio State now getting penciled in at either a five or six seed. Nebraska would inch the Buckeyes closer to 20 wins and help continue the momentum from their win against Maryland. That’ll be important as they close the season with home games against Michigan and Illinois, followed by a road trip to Michigan State.
Nebraska hasn’t found much success in conference play, landing 12th in field goal percentage, 10th in three point percentage and 14th in defensive scoring. The lack of offense mixed with a poor defense isn’t going to do them any favors against a surging Ohio State program. Look for the Buckeyes to continue their recent success and pick up a win tonight.
Pick: Ohio State