The Big Ten has a number of basketball alternatives for viewers who may not enjoy the afternoon’s football action, highlighted by an intriguing neutral site game between Michigan and Prairie View A&M. All told, three teams are in action.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-No. 6 Michigan Wolverines vs. Prairie View A&M Panthers
- Time/TV: 8:00PM EST (BTN)
- Tallysight Spread: Michigan -22.5
This game is not really an enticing matchup based on the game itself. Instead, this one gets the nod as the game of the day because of the goals around the event itself the game is being played for at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southeast Washington, DC.
It doesn’t hurt that the other games today are also not the most exciting matchups, either, to be fair. However, this one is the inaugural game of Coaches vs. Racism, a new event starting this year based on Coaches vs. Cancer with the goal of expanding to include more teams and games in other cities and eventually including women’s basketball as well. All of that with the goal to provide a platform to fight systemic racism.
As for the game itself, Prairie View A&M did manage to go 13-0 in conference play last season, but fell to Texas Southern in the SWAC Tournament championship game. However, the Panthers are in the bottom half of KenPom in offensive and defensive efficiency, struggle in rebounding, and are only a particular threat in steals (15 percent steal rate).
Michigan will likely hope to use the game as an opportunity to figure out can run point guard for who can run it when DeVante Jones needs a rest and to give younger players some valuable minutes.
- Pick: Michigan
-Vermont Catamounts at No. 21 Maryland Terrapins
- Time/TV: 2:00PM EST (B1G+)
- Tallysight Spread: Maryland -11.5
The Terps will hope to take advantage of a likely outmatched Vermont squad athletically and use it to the team’s advantage in finding consistent shooting. Maryland had a lackluster performance on Thursday night against nearby foe George Washington, going just 37.5 percent from the field, and a mere 3-for-20 from deep including a 0-for-6 performance by senior Eric Ayala. Even more importantly will be if the Terps can shoot more consistently despite such a short turnaround between games.
- Pick: Maryland
-Merrimack Warriors at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
- Time/TV: 2:00PM EST (B1G+)
- Tallysight Spread: Not Available
Merrimack will be hoping to repeat the success found against fellow Big Ten member Northwestern in this matchup as the Warriors defeated the Wildcats in 2019-20 during the program’s first season at the Division I level, ending the season 20-11. Last year’s Covid impacted season saw a far less successful campaign, finishing 9-9. Rutgers will want to play sound defense in this one and focus on crashing the offensive glass while working to pick apart the Warrior’s zone. Overall this game should be a chance to move to 2-0 on the season, but this opening week has been anything but a sure thing for lots of Power-Six programs thus far.
- Pick: Rutgers