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12/20 Big Ten Preview: Northwestern and Purdue Return

Preview all of Monday’s Big Ten action.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Big Ten has two games on Monday night. Northwestern hosts Illinois-Springfield and Purdue faces off against Incarnate Word. The Wildcats and Boilmakers will be heavy favorites at tip and should be in good position to gain momentum heading into the new year.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN+)
  • KenPom Spread: N/A

After a weekend cancellation against DePaul, Northwestern will finally return to action on Tuesday. The Wildcats have been off for a week after taking down NJIT at home on the 12th. Tuesday will present a nice opportunity to tune up before Big Ten play resumes in January.

On the court, it’s hard to believe things will be competitive. The Wildcats sit at 7-2 while Illinois Springfield is under .500 in Division II. Northwestern should be in good position to score a win. However, fans should pay attention to Chris Hamil, who’s been playing well for the Prairie Stars.

Notably, a win would match Northwestern’s best start through 10 games since 2016, when the Wildcats made the program’s first (and only) NCAA Tournament appearance. It will also help to set up a key matchup against Michigan State on January 2nd at home. That’s starting to look like a potential coming out party for the Wildcats. We’ll have to see if Northwestern can keep up its momentum heading into that game.

  • Pick: Northwestern

The Rest:

-Incarnate Word Cardinals at No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue by 39

Purdue enters this game with plenty of momentum. The Boilermakers have won two straight and boast a (well deserved) top five national ranking. And the latest win was particularly impressive, as Purdue crushed a decent Butler squad in the Crossroads Classic on Saturday. The win pushed the team to 10-1 overall.

Fortunately, Purdue should be able to keep that going on Monday at home against Incarnate Word. The Cardinals are 354th on KenPom and enter this game as nearly a 40-point underdog. This should be a great opportunity for the Boilers to put the bench to work.

  • Pick: Purdue