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12/11 Big Ten Preview: Wisconsin at Ohio State tops a five game slate

Preview Saturday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has a packed slate of Saturday games for fans to catch with a good mix of conference and non-conference matchups.

Let’s take a look at the day’s schedule.

Game of the Day:

-No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers at No. 21 Ohio State

  • Time/TV: 12:00 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
  • Tallysight Spread: Ohio State -4.5

The Badgers hit the road for the team’s first Big Ten away game of the season, a top-25 showdown with Ohio State in Columbus. The Buckeyes are riding a three-game win streak that most recently featured a second half scoring jamboree of 52 points against Towson. Wisconsin came roaring back from a 22-point deficit against Indiana to make it 19-straight wins in Madison over the Hoosiers.

This game should be a low scoring one as both team’s strengths are their defenses. The Buckeyes will want to focus on slowing down guard Johnny David and his 20.5 points per game. The Badgers will want to focus on doing the same with E.J. Liddell and his 19.8 points per game. However, Wisconsin will also need to worry about Cedric Russell, Kyle Young, and Justin Ahrens who have each had an individual great game from three-point range over the past three games for OSU. The Badgers should likely be able to capitalize on turnover issues plaguing the Buckeyes to help even it out.

Ohio State should have a good shot at this one with home court advantage, but Wisconsin might just surprise and pull off the road upset in this one.

  • Pick: Wisconsin

The Rest:

-Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. No. 18 Auburn Tigers

  • Time/TV: 11:30 AM EST (ESPN2)
  • Tallysight Spread: Auburn -13.5

This matchup is a neutral court meeting in Atlanta and marks Nebraska’s first regular season SEC opponent since a win over Tennessee in 2016. What a mess this game is turning out to be before the ball is even tipped, however. On the Nebraska side, a growing list of players are out in addition to already injured Trey McGowens. Wilhelm Breidenbach will miss the game due to a knee injury, Trevor Lakes is also out due to a shoulder concern, and at least two Huskers are out and didn’t even make the trip to Atlanta after testing positive for Influenza A in the past few days. Auburn, meanwhile, will be playing with head coach Bruce Pearl serving a two-game suspension handed down by the NCAA yesterday. A familiar face will instead lead the Tigers. Wes Flanigan, an assistant coach from 2010-12 under former Husker head coach Doc Sadler at Nebraska, will serve as Auburn’s interim head coach. The shorthanded Huskers are unlikely to beat the spread in this one.

  • Pick: Auburn

-Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 19 Michigan State

  • Time/TV: 2:00 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
  • Tallysight Spread: Michigan State -11.5

Michigan State will look to remain perfect in Big Ten action while Penn State will look to right the ship after falling by double digits to Ohio State last weekend. MSU should be able to get the win here easily enough, but if the Nittany Lions are hot from deep and the Spartans struggle with the usual high number of turnovers this could get into upset alert territory quickly.

  • Pick: Michigan State

-No. 11 Arizona Wildcats at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: 5:00 PM EST (FOX)
  • Tallysight Spread: Arizona -1

Illinois has won five in a row after stumbling against Marquette and Cincinnati in back-to-back games last month. Arizona is riding an eight-game win streak coming into this one as well. The Illini are 7-0 when scoring at least 71 points, but faces a Wildcats squad that holds opponents to a mere 34.7 percent from the field, the third-lowest among DI teams. Arizona hasn’t faced a team with a Kofi Cockburn, to be fair, but despite the home court advantage, the old adage is defense travels and Illinois will likely struggle to score in this one.

  • Pick: Arizona

-Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM EST (FS1)
  • Tallysight Spread: Michigan -13.5

I was highly skeptical of Michigan given early season struggles earlier this week, and we all saw how that went. While Minnesota isn’t struggling in shooting nearly as much as the Huskers are, this game is a road matchup and the Gophers will likely struggle to outscore the Wolverines in this one.

  • Pick: Michigan