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1/16 Big Ten Preview: Ohio State-Illinois and Michigan-Minnesota Super Saturday

Two top-25 showdowns make up the day’s action

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers COVID-19 issues have postponed their game at Maryland today, but two top-25 matchups are sure not to disappoint.

Game of the Day:

- No. 7 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 23 Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 2:00 p.m. EST (ESPN2)

The undefeated Wolverines (11-0, 6-0) face their toughest road game of the season today as they hit the Barn to face the 10-4 (3-4) Golden Gophers in Dinkytown. Just 10 days ago the Wolverines blew out then No. 16 Minnesota in Ann Arbor 82-57, but the Gophers will be out for revenge in this one with the home court advantage this time.

Minnesota will need a big night out of Marcus Carr as the junior guard is averaging 20.9 points per game and managed just 14 in Ann Arbor last go around. Carr was cold from deep, going just 2-for-7 from three point range. Carr has ent 11-for-35 over his last five games, though, and has been averaging 36.3 percent overall from deep this season.

Michigan, meanwhile, saw Hunter Dickinson light up the Gophers for 28 points last go around. The freshman center easily bested his season average of 17.5 points per game on the season against while facing a foul plagued Minnesota front-court.

While the Gophers are riding a 10 game home winning streak and have performed well at home this season, this will be a tough matchup as the Wolverines have the advantage at all positions and the big momentum.

  • Pick: Michigan

The Rest:

- No. 21 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 14 Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: Noon EST (FOX)

Through perhaps the most baffling scheduling news of the season, the Buckeye visit State Farm Arena for the first time in 1,477 days to take on the Fighting Illini. That’s right, Ohio State has not played a game at Illinois in four years.

Illinois has had an extended break to get ready for this one after their Wednesday night game against Nebraska was postponed. After rattling off four straight wins, the Illini will be looking to wash the bitter taste of an upset loss to Maryland in their most recent game. Despite Cockburn and Dosunmu scoring 21 and 23 points respectively, just three other Illini players scored 19 total points besides them. Illinois will need to fix the balance in this one to ensure a win.

Ohio State, meanwhile, is coming off a commanding win over Northwestern. The Buckeyes controlled the game until late in the second half when the Wildcats stormed back to bring it within one. However, OSU rallied big time over the final four minutes to finish on a 14-5 run. The Buckeyes will likely rely heavily on Kyle Young to try and contain Cockburn defensively and challenge him on the offensive end. The senior is coming off a phenomenal 11-for-14 run over the past two games, and went 5-for-5 against the Wildcats.

The Illini, sitting at 5-2 in Big Ten play right now, face a big game here and can’t afford home losses if they still hope to have a shot at a share of the Big Ten title. With their backs against the wall in a sense and motivated to overcome their Maryland loss, expect them to come out swinging against a confident Buckeyes squad.

  • Pick: Illinois

Postponed: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Maryland Terrapins