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11/22 Big Ten Preview: Feast Week Begins

Preview all of Monday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Jackson State at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Feast Week begins on Monday and the Big Ten will be represented, with seven teams in action. Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Wisconsin highlight the day as all four open up their non-conference tournaments.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET (ESPN News)
  • KenPom Spread: Illinois by 12

Tonight’s the night. After three games sitting out, Kofi Cockburn will be back for Illinois on Monday night. And it should be great timing as the team will need some help to get past a pretty solid Cincinnati team. Illinois is also hoping to bounce back after falling on the road against Marquette last week. It was a heartbreaking loss for the team.

The big question will be how Illinois matches up against a pretty tough Cincinnati defense. Illinois is certainly the more talented team, but the Bearcats are a physical squad and enter Monday’s game at 4-0. Jeremiah Davenport is one of the key pieces down low and will put Coleman Hawkins and Omar Payne to work.

All told, Illinois probably has too much for Cincinnati. Things will probably be sloppy for large segments, but Cinci has nobody who can stop Cockburn and that doesn’t even mention the handful of other options Illinois has to get things done offensively.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Illinois

The Rest:

-Wisconsin Badgers vs. Texas A&M Aggies

  • Time/TV: 2:00PM ET (ESPN2)
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin by 3

After falling at home to Providence last week, Badger fans are hoping for a better effort in this one. Wisconsin enters as a mild favorite on KenPom, but it feels like a pretty even matchup. A&M is 4-0 and boast a quality defense.

It’s going to be interesting to see whether Wisconsin’s struggling offense can score against the Aggies. That’s easily the key matchup of the game. Brad Davison and Chucky Hepburn will need to play well in this one and get the Badgers in positions to score. Expect a low scoring affair that comes down to a couple of possessions late.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Texas A&M

-No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes vs Seton Hall Pirates

  • Time/TV: 6:00PM ET (FS1)
  • KenPom Spread: Ohio State by 2

After a tough loss on the road against Xavier on Thursday, Ohio State will be looking to bounce back against Seton Hall on Monday night. The Buckeyes have shown some inconsistency so far this season, but are still 3-1 entering the game. Meanwhile, Seton Hall is 3-0 overall after knocking off Michigan last week.

In many ways, this is a clash of styles. Seton Hall is one of the tallest teams in the country and does a great job on the boards. Conversely, Ohio State is a high flying offensive team that flies extensively on perimeter production. The Buckeyes are going to have to get Seton Hall out on the perimeter to open up the paint. Otherwise, it could be a rough night.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Seton Hall

-Cornell Big Red at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 6:30PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State by 15

After beating St. Francis last week, Penn State will get another tune up game on Monday night against Cornell at home. Fans are hoping for a relatively quiet affair, as Cornell enters the game with low expectations and a rating outside the top 250 on KenPom. Keep an eye on Sam Sessoms, who’s hoping to have another solid appearance.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Penn State

-Lafayette Leopards at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN+)
  • KenPom Spread: Rutgers by 19

This is about as lopsided of a matchup as you’ll see on Monday night. Lafayette enters the game at 0-4 and is ranked outside the top 300 on KenPom. Meanwhile, Rutgers enters at 3-1 and has a top 50 defensive unit. Don’t expect a ton of drama out of this one, though I think Lafayette will beat the spread.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Lafayette

-Western Michigan Broncos at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 8:30PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Iowa by 17

This is another blowout opportunity for the Big Ten. Iowa faces off against a terrible Western Michigan team on Monday night and should cruise to victory. The only real drama will be watching to see how many points Keegan Murray can put on the board.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Iowa

-Northwestern Wildcats vs. Providence Friars

  • Time/TV: 9:30PM ET (ESPN+)
  • KenPom Spread: Northwestern by 3

The late game of the day is also an intriguing one. After three games against underwhelming competition, Northwestern finally gets a real opponent on Monday in Providence. And the teams look pretty even, at least on paper. KenPom projects it as nearly an even affair and both teams enter with perfect 4-0 records.

Expect things to come down to the frontcourt where Pete Nance battles Nate Watson. Both players are really experienced and consistent contributors. Whichever defense can take away the other will have a huge say in the outcome.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Providence