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2/13 Big Ten Preview: Triple-Header Saturday

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Game of the Day:

-No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 2:30 p.m. EST (FOX)

The Spartans finally come into a game on a winning streak for the first time since a last-second loss to Purdue on Jan. 8 kicked off a long losing streak for MSU. Iowa, meanwhile, is coming off its own two-game win streak after defeating Indiana and Rutgers.

The Hawkeyes have put their backs against the wall to an extent. If Iowa hopes to have any shot at even a share of the Big Ten title at this point, they likely need to win out. A task that is far from easy with the team’s remaining schedule. Meanwhile, MSU gave the Hawkeyes a serious challenge in Iowa City just a week and a half ago. If Garza doesn’t get quite the benefit of the doubt off his home court and the Spartans play with the same tenacity, this one could be a huge upset for Michigan State.

Then again, after finally finding its offense against Iowa on the road, MSU proceeded to have two duds in comparison against Nebraska and Penn State in East Lansing. Still, if Iowa cannot come out defensively, this game could be another February defeat for the Hawkeyes under head coach Fran McCaffrey.

  • Pick: Iowa

The Rest:

- Indiana Hoosiers at No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: Noon EST (ESPN)

This game was a close second in my pick for game of the day. However, given the challenge MSU game Iowa in game one, the first, and only meeting between the Buckeyes and the Hoosiers this regular season.

No. 4 ranked Ohio State is seemingly the hottest team in the league right now as they ride a five game win streak into this home matchup against the Hoosiers. E.J Liddell and Duane Washington Jr. offer a huge tandem scoring wise for Ohio State, averaging 14.9 and 14.8 points each, but the Buckeyes have seven players averaging at least 6.3 points per game.

The Hoosiers enter this one on a two game win streak of their own, including a close win over the Iowa Hawkeyes. But also the Hoosiers escaped a double-overtime scare at the hands of Northwestern. Indiana is solidly in the bubble conversation life, however, and hoping for a statement win to help solidify the resume. It doesn’t get much bigger than a road win at the No. 4 team in the country.

Can enough Hoosiers step up to help Trayce Jackson-Davis put the team over the edge for the win?

  • Pick: Ohio State

- Northwestern Wildcats at No. 25 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 5:00 p.m. EST (BTN)

Northwestern just gave the Hoosiers all they could handle in Evanston and almost snapped a losing streak, but couldn’t pull off the win. Rutgers, meanwhile, snapped a four game winning streak with a double-digit loss to Iowa.

The two teams met already earlier this season and saw Rutgers win 64-56. NU is good enough defensively to likely keep this game from getting out of hand. However, RU is not an elite enough offensive team to probably be able to truly put this game out of reach. Instead the Scarlet Knights will likely have to win it the hard way with taking advantage of the glass, play good defense of their own, and create turnovers.

Overall, this game is probably going to end up being a season sweep for Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights look to try and improve seeding for the first NCAA tournament appearance since 1991.

  • Pick: Rutgers