The Big Ten has two games on Thursday night and both look intriguing. Purdue goes on the road to face Rutgers in the early game and Iowa faces rival Iowa State in the late game. It’s a great opportunity for the Boilermakers and Hawkeyes to prove their worth on the road.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-Iowa Hawkeyes at Iowa State Cyclones
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: Iowa by 3
After two straight losses, Iowa will head on the road to face an undefeated Iowa State squad. The Cyclones sit at 8-0 with some quality wins already under their belts, including wins over Xavier and Memphis around Thanksgiving. Both of those teams currently sit in KenPom’s top 40 nationally, so there’s little debating Iowa State is a pretty tested team.
On the court, Iowa and Iowa State play vastly different styles of basketball. While Iowa relies on a high-powered offense, Iowa State has won most of its games this year thanks to its quality defense. This includes holding an immensely talented Memphis squad to just 59 points on Black Friday. It’s still Memphis’ worst offensive showing of the season.
Iowa State is led by some players that will be familiar to Big Ten fans as well. Former Minnesota and Penn State players Gabe Kalscheur and Izaiah Brockington have done plenty of damage for the Cyclones so far this year. Iowa will have their hands full trying to slow them down.
All told, this feels like a game that could go either way. Both sides are going to play with fire. However, it’s unlikely Iowa State’s truly going to be able to slow down Iowa’s offense. As such, the Hawkeyes will probably be able to edge out the win.
- Pick: Iowa
-No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Purdue by 12
Purdue will put its perfect 8-0 record and No. 1 ranking on the line in this one, going on the road for the first time this season to face a feisty Rutgers squad. And while the Boilermakers project as clear favorites in the matchup, the Scarlet Knights have some weapons and won’t go down easy. Geo Baker and Ron Harper are experienced players with plenty of pride. Baker is still questionable with a hamstring injury and we’ll have to wait and see if he ends up making it on the court, but he could make quite an impact if he does end up seeing time.
The key for Purdue is going to be staying comfortable in a hostile environment and ignoring the external pressure of the No. 1 ranking. Rutgers also still boasts a quality defense, so the Boilermakers are going to need to do work on the boards and avoid bad shots. This feels like a matchup where Zach Edey and Trevion Williams can have an impact.
- Pick: Purdue