The Big Ten has a packed afternoon of hoops action for fans looking to distract from the pain of not making it to Indianapolis in football tonight. The highlight of the day goes to an in-state border clash, though individuals such as myself might argue there are two depending on where you fall in the outcome of the Great Toledo War.
Let’s take a look at the opening night’s schedule.
Game of the Day:
-Marquette Golden Eagles at No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers
- Time/TV: 12:30PM EST (FOX)
- Tallysight Spread: Wisconsin -6.5
The Badgers face off against in-state foe Marquette at the Kohl Center tonight as new Golden Eagles head coach Shaka Smart gets his taste of this battle of I-94. Marquette comes into the matchup at 7-1 and having beat Jackson State on Tuesday night while Wisconsin was just up in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday, besting Georgia Tech to move to 6-1. The Golden Eagles also feature wins over fellow Big Ten member Illinois to go with other Power Six wins over West Virginia and Ole Miss.
Forward Justin Lewis leads the team in points (16.1 ppg) and rebounds (8.0 rpg). Meanwhile, guard Darryl Morsell should be a player Badgers fans are familiar with as he is playing his final season in college this year at Marquette after four years in College Park, Maryland for the Terps. Morsell is the only other Eagle in double figures, averaging 15.3 ppg. Guard Tyler Kolek leads the team in helpers (5.0 apg) and steals (1.4 spg) while averaging a third best on the team 8.1 ppg.
Wisconsin could be an upset alert in this one despite being favored. The Golden Eagles pose a tough out and could spoil Wisconsin’s weekend. However, Wisconsin’s defense has more than enough stopping power to keep this game in striking distance for the team’s lowe scoring offense and ensure a home win.
- Pick: Wisconsin
- Time/TV: Noon EST (BTN)
- Tallysight Spread: Indiana -11.5
The Cornhuskers head to Bloomington to kick off early Big Ten action against Indiana for Mike Woodson’s first conference game as head coach in Bloomington. The Hoosiers were the last team Nebraska faced in January last season before an almost month long pause caused by COVID-19 hit the Huskers. This season, both teams come in after multiple overtime losses in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. IU fell on the road at Syracuse Tuesday night in double-overtime, while Nebraska took NC State to four overtimes in Raleigh before finally falling short. The shorter turnaround on more tired legs returning to the road should see Nebraska struggle with shooting in a raucous Assembly Hall environment.
- Pick: Indiana
-San Diego State Aztecs at No. 24 Michigan Wolverines
- Time/TV: 1:00PM EST (CBS)
- Tallysight Spread: Michigan -7.5
This game would be quite the intriguing football matchup given the current Aztecs head coach on the gridiron. However, this game should not pose much of a challenge for the Wolverines. Michigan will look to play a clean game and try to clean things up some ahead of early Big Ten action while rebounding from the blowout to North Carolina on Wednesday night.
- Pick: Michigan
-Toledo Rockets at No. 22 Michigan State Spartans
- Time/TV: 5:00PM EST (BTN)
- Tallysight Spread: Michigan State -13.5
Toledo, some might say an in-state foe if ignoring crooked 1820 political backroom deals, comes to the Breslin Center for a buy game against the Spartans. Four players for the Rockets are averaging double figures,and the Rockets come in at 6-1 with wins over Charlotte, Tulane, and Coastal Carolina in the Baha Mar Hoops Championship in the Bahamas last week. Michigan State should have no problems moving to 6-3 all-time against the Rockets, however.
- Pick: Michigan State