Michigan State’s ongoing COVID-19 issues postponed Illinois’ trip to East Lansing, but three games including a top-15 showdown in Madison offer up a great Saturday slate of games.
Game of the Day:
- No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers
- Time/TV: 4:00 p.m. EST (CBS)
The Buckeyes are still down two key guards as C.J. Walker and Jimmy Sotos are out, but have been finding ways to win of late in games despite the losses. Meanwhile, the Badgers continue to play Wisconsin ball and win more often than not.
Ohio State will look to capitalize on its knack for ball security and three-point shooting to get the road win. The Buckeyes just had their fourth straight game, and fifth of the last six, with made double-digit threes. The Badgers defend well overall, but are by no means top of the league at stopping the three or forcing mistakes that cause turnovers, both of which the Buckeyes do well enough to have a potential advantage.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, sits at the top of the Big Ten in avoiding turnovers on offense and continues to grind out teams defensively. The Badgers have only given up more than 70 points in three games this season and average allowing just 61.4 to opponents points per game. D’Mitrik Price and his 14.8 points per game and 3.7 assists lead the Badgers in both categories and could cause some headaches for the injury riddled Buckeyes. But down low should be an intriguing matchup between Kyle Young and Micah Potter as Young continues to impress going toe-to-toe with the big men of the league despite typically being a few inches shorter.
The spread on this one is just 4.5 points, but Wisconsin should be able to cover it comfortably in this one on its home court.
- Pick: Wisconsin
- Maryland Terrapins vs. No. 17 Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Time/TV: 2:00 p.m. EST (BTN)
The Golden Gophers haven’t played since destroying Michigan a week ago after Nebraska had to postpone their game, and Maryland is coming off a brutal loss to an angry Michigan team looking to get rid of that ugly loss in Minneapolis.
The Terps will be hard pressed in this game given it is in the barn. The Gophers are averaging 78.8 points per game this season, while Maryland is only averaging 65.5 in conference play and giving up 74.6 points per game. The Terps likely need Donta Scott to add scoring from behind the three-point line to supplement Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins in this one to have a chance.
Minnesota will likely rely on Liam Robbins to cause defensive fits among the Terps with his size and versatility down low. When not wreaking havoc under the basket with their big man, the Gophers will of course rely on Marcus Carr and his elite scoring to lead the way.
Expect Minnesota to roll in this one as they have the firepower to either run away with it or go tit-for-tat against the Terps in a shoot-out.
- Pick: Minnesota
- Time/TV: 7:00 p.m. EST (BTN)
The Wildcats came out hot this season but sure hit a skid of late as they come into this with a five-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Penn State is trying to create a winning streak after beating Rutgers for their first win of the season in conference play.
Northwestern comes into this one following an ugly 68-52 loss to Wisconsin. That kind of points production can’t happen to have a chance at snapping the losing streak, but when the Wildcats leading scorer, Miller Kopp, is averaging just 13.2 points per game, offense can be difficult to come by at times.
Penn State finally got the first win in Big Ten play over an injury plagued Rutgers squad, but is still by no means sitting in a great position. However, the Nittany Lions do average 76.1 points per game on the season, slightly higher than NU’s 75.9. Given home court advantage, that might be just the edge needed in this one.
- Pick: Penn State