The Big Ten has a loaded slate on Friday, including marquee matchups for Michigan State and Penn State and some intriguing home games elsewhere. It’s a great opportunity for the league to redeem itself after a slow start to the season.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-Michigan State Spartans vs No. 6 Baylor Bears
- Time/TV: 11:00 AM ET (ESPN)
- KenPom Spread: Baylor by 4
It’s been quite a week for the Spartans. The team went to Atlantis with mixed expectations, but has certainly exceeded them so far. Michigan State beat a pretty solid Loyola (Chicago) team on Wednesday and a ranked UConn team on Thursday. The wins pushed the Spartans to 5-1 overall and into a matchup with Baylor on Friday, who are currently on a 12-game winning streak dating back to last season’s NCAA Tournament.
There’s little debating Michigan State will be the underdog in Friday’s matchup. The Bears are absolutely loaded and have a really aggressive defense. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is a beast upfront and the team’s backcourt is solid as well. Tom Izzo and his squad are going to have some major work cut out.
However, there are some paths to victory. Much will depend on how players like Gabe Brown and Max Christie perform. If the two show up, the Spartans should have a chance. Marcus Bingham will also have to play his best game of the season. Michigan State will also need a good shooting night. The team has been underwhelming from deep so far this season and will need to do better to beat a loaded Baylor squad.
- Pick: Baylor
-Nebraska Omaha Mavericks at No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers
- Time/TV: 2:00PM ET (BTN+)
- KenPom Spread: Purdue by 32
This figures to be one of the biggest mismatches of the day. KenPom’s spread is over 30 and for good reason. Purdue enters the game at 5-0 and ranked third nationally on KenPom. Meanwhile, Nebraska Omaha is 326th and a dreadful 1-4 overall. This should be a good opportunity for Purdue to unload the bench.
- Pick: Purdue
-Portland State Vikings at Iowa Hawkeyes
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN+)
- KenPom Spread: Iowa by 22
Iowa enters this game with a perfect 5-0 record and fans shouldn’t expect that to change here. The Hawkeyes are clear favorites and it’s hard to see Portland State competing with Iowa’s explosive offense. Keegan Murray will be the player to watch as he looks to continue his 20+ point scoring streak.
- Pick: Iowa
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (CBSSN)
- KenPom Spread: LSU by 7
After opening the season at 3-1, Penn State will get its most challenging test yet of the young season on Friday against LSU in Florida. The Tigers enter at 5-0 and are led by forward Tari Eason. The sophomore has scored double-digits in four of the team’s first five games after transferring in from Cincinnati.
If Penn State is going to win this game, it’s going to need its best defensive effort of the season. The Nittany Lions lost to UMass earlier this month because the team’s defense didn’t show up, allowing 1.25 points per possession. A lot of pressure is going to be on Seth Lundy and John Harrar to slow things down upfront. Sam Sessoms also needs a great game.
- Pick: LSU
-UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros at No. 14 Illinois Fighting Illini
- Time/TV: 8:00PM ET (BTN+)
- KenPom Spread: Illinois by 27
After mixed results earlier this week against Cincinnati and Kansas State, Illinois returns home to face an overmatched UT Rio Grande Valley at home. This figures to be a good opportunity for Kofi Cockburn to get back into rhythm after a rough showing earlier this week against the Bearcats.
- Pick: Illinois