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11/19 Big Ten Preview: Michigan vs UNLV

Preview all of Friday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 Gavitt Games wrapped up earlier this week, but that doesn’t mean the Big Ten is done. The league gets four more games on Friday, including a marquee matchup between Michigan and UNLV in Las Vegas for the late night crowd.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-No. 4 Michigan Wolverines vs. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

  • Time/TV: 12:30 AM ET (ESPN2)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan by 14

After Tuesday’s let down against Seton Hall, Michigan returns to action on Friday night to face off against a feisty UNLV squad. The Runnin’ Rebels enter with a perfect 3-0 record and have been playing pretty well so far, knocking off California and North Dakota State in the team’s most recent outings. UNLV is led by Bryce Hamilton, who’s one of the best passers and creators in college basketball.

The key for Michigan will be competing against a pretty tough UNLV defense, which ranks 93rd nationally on KenPom. The Rebels have done a good job limiting opponents three-point attempts and getting defensive rebounds. This should be a serious test for Michigan, who’s coming off a 3-for-15 performance from deep on Tuesday.

Perhaps the most important player here will be DeVante’ Jones. He will have quite a task against Hamilton and will need to facilitate more offensively. Caleb Houstan also needs a bounce back performance after scoring four points in 39 minutes on Tuesday.

  • Pick Against The Spread: UNLV

The Rest:

-Hofstra Pride at No. 20 Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 6:30PM ET (FS1)
  • KenPom Spread: Maryland by 14

The Terps will get to rebound in this one after a rough outing earlier this week, when Maryland fell at home to George Mason. It was Maryland’s first loss of the season and the program’s first loss to a team outside the top 100 on KenPom since January 1, 2017 when the Terps dropped a home game to Nebraska. Fatts Russell had a particular rough outing in the loss, finishing with just two points in 30 minutes of action.

Meanwhile, Hofstra enters the game at 1-2 overall and is coming off a rough loss to Iona on Tuesday night. However, the Pride shouldn’t be overlooked. They have a similar KenPom rating to George Mason and actually pushed a really good Houston team to overtime to open the season. The team’s offense is also particularly hard to guard, led by Zach Cooks in the backcourt. Maryland is going to need Russell to be better to win this one.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Hofstra

-Idaho State Bengals at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN+)
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska by 12

It’s been a heck of a first two weeks for Nebraska. The team opened the season with a brutal collapse against Western Illinois and rebounded well with a win over Sam Houston State and a tough effort against Creighton. Unfortunately, just as things seemed to be trending up, star guard Trey McGowens went down with injury.

Fortunately for the Huskers, Bryce McGowens still looks like a star and the offense is really getting some momentum with him at the helm. Alonzo Verge has also been good. This should still be a game where the Huskers can come out on top.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Nebraska

-Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN+)
  • KenPom Spread: Minnesota by 12

Minnesota has largely outperformed expectations so far this season. The team opened the season with three straight wins, including two last weekend over top 150ish opponents. The Gophers will now get an opportunity to cruise to a win at home against Purdue Fort Wayne. Purdue Fort Wayne is ranked 246th on KenPom, though the team is sitting at 2-0 overall. However, the team’s defense is a mess. Expect Minnesota to score consistently.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota

***

Record Against The Spread: 8-15-0