The college basketball season officially tipped off on Tuesday and the Big Ten had quite a day, participating in 11 games and a handful of key matchups. Things will now continue on Wednesday with three more teams tipping off their seasons.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-Buffalo Bulls at No. 6 Michigan Wolverines
- Time/TV: 6:30PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Michigan by 17
After putting together an impressive 2020-’21 season that included a Big Ten title and Elite Eight appearance, Michigan will finally get back into action on Wednesday. The Wolverines return many of last year’s key players, including Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns, and Hunter Dickinson. The team also adds one of the nation’s best groups of newcomers led by transfer guard DeVante’ Jones and true freshmen Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate.
Michigan has the talent and experience to be great this season. After all, that’s why the team enters this fall ranked sixth nationally and second on KenPom’s preseason rankings. The question will be how quickly things can come together. There are a plethora of new pieces Juwan Howard will have to sort out and there could be some growing pains.
And Wednesday night figures to be an intriguing challenge for the Wolverines. While Buffalo might not be a name brand, the Bulls are a quality program still benefitting from Nate Oats’ run with the team. Jim Whitesell is now the head coach and enters his third season at the helm. The Bulls had winning records in each of his first two seasons and enter this fall ranked 91st on KenPom. For perspective, that’s one spot lower than Nebraska and significantly higher than Minnesota.
The players to watch on Buffalo will be Josh Mball and Jeenathan Williams. Both had solid 2020-’21 campaigns and should be some of the best players in the MAC this season. Williams led the team in scoring and Mballa averaged a double-double. Williams also shot 38.8 percent from three last season, so the Wolverines will have to make sure they stay with him.
Expect a hard fought game. Both teams have a lot of pride and play a physical style of basketball. However, Buffalo doesn’t have a guy who can handle Dickinson’s play in the paint. Once Michigan can start getting him the ball, they should pull away.
You can also read our full preview on Michigan before Wednesday night’s tip here. It figures to be quite a season for Juwan Howard and company.
- Pick: Buffalo
-Lehigh Mountain Hawks at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN+)
- KenPom Spread: Rutgers by 18
After an incredible 2020-’21 season topped off by an NCAA Tournament appearance, Rutgers is ready to start the followup on Wednesday night. Fortunately for fans and the team, things shouldn’t be all that difficult. Lehigh projects as one of the weakest teams on this year’s slate for the Scarlet Knights and will be significant underdogs in this one. Lehigh went 4-11 last year and enters this fall ranked 273rd nationally by KenPom.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to watch in this one will be the play of Cliff Omoruyi down low. He’s been getting a fair share of offseason chatter. This should be a great opportunity for him to beat up on an undersized frontcourt.
You can also read our full preview on Rutgers before Wednesday night’s tip here. It figures to be quite a season for Steve Pikiell and company.
- Pick: Rutgers
-Youngstown State Penguins at Penn State Nittany Lions
- Time/TV: 7:30 PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Penn State by 19
The late game figures to be another mismatch. We know little about how Penn State will look this season, but Youngstown State enters this one with a dreadful 290th preseason ranking on KenPom and will be a big underdog on the road in this one. If anything, the return of players like Myles Dread and John Harrar should be enough to grab the win.
You can also read our full preview on Penn State before Wednesday night’s tip here. It figures to be quite a season for Micah Shrewsberry and company.
- Pick: Penn State
Record Against The Spread: 0-0-0