The Big Ten has a loaded slate on Sunday, featuring two games with at least one ranked team involved and a tricky road trip for Indiana. Ranked Minnesota and Iowa teams battle in the early game, Indiana travels to Nebraska after that, and Illinois hosts Maryland in the late game as both teams look to score a valuable win.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-No. 16 Minnesota Golden Gophers at No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes
- Time/TV: 2:30PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Iowa by 8
This is not only the biggest matchup of the day in the Big Ten, but also nationally as well. While Minnesota enters this game coming off a blowout loss to Michigan earlier in the week, the Gophers have put together a pretty good resume this season. Minnesota is 10-3 overall and already has four wins against top 50 KenPom opponents. Iowa enters the game with a top five ranking and the best player in the country in Luka Garza. So, buckle up.
Perhaps the biggest storyline in this one will be how Minnesota comes out of the gates. The Gophers have outperformed preseason expectations, but the team has really struggled away from home so far this season. And while Carver-Hawkeye Arena will be empty, it’s going to be important for Minnesota to start showing some progress in a road environment. Otherwise, it’s hard to feel too optimistic about the team’s chances moving forward.
The matchup to watch will be in the backcourt. Marcus Carr shredded Iowa’s defense when the two teams met on Christmas Day en route to a Minnesota victory, scoring 30 points and dishing out eight assists. If Iowa hopes to come out on top, it’s going to need to do a better job defending against Carr. The pressure will be on Jordan Bohannon and CJ Fredrick.
- Pick Against The Spread: Iowa
- Time/TV: 6:00PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Indiana by 8
This is about as close to a “get right” game as Indiana is going to get. The Hoosiers are coming off a brutal double overtime loss to Wisconsin earlier this week and looking for a nice win to get some wind back in the sails and this should provide such an opportunity. Indiana enters this game as a sizable favorite. Meanwhile, Nebraska will hope to pull off the upset. Keep an eye on how Trayce Jackson-Davis and Yvan Ouedraogo battle down low.
- Pick Against The Spread: Indiana
-Maryland Terrapins at No. 12 Illinois Fighting Illini
- Time/TV: 8:00PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Illinois by 10
Talk about teams heading in different directions. While Illinois enters this game with a four-game winning streak, Maryland is hoping Sunday can turn the season around. The Terps have lost three straight and four of the team’s last five games. There are no “must wins” in January, but Maryland is absolutely on the wrong side of the bubble right now. The Terps need to pull off some upsets and fans are hoping Sunday can be one.
The matchup itself will almost certainly swing on the battle in the frontcourt. Maryland has largely underwhelmed upfront this season and now have the challenge of slowing down an all-Big Ten contender in Kofi Cockburn. If Galin Smith and Donta Scott can hold their own, Maryland should have a chance. Otherwise, this one could get ugly.
- Pick Against The Spread: Illinois
Record Against The Spread: 13-11-2