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2/14 Big Ten Preview: Michigan Returns

Preview all of Sunday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten is set to have a loaded slate on Sunday, featuring three games and the return of Michigan from a three-week pause. The Wolverines face Wisconsin in the early game, Penn State hosts Nebraska after that, and Minnesota travels to face Maryland in the late game.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-No. 3 Michigan Wolverines at No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 1:00PM ET (CBS)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan by 1

After the long wait, we’re finally here. Despite an incredible start to the season and no positive COVID-19 tests within its own program, Michigan has spent the last three weeks sidelined because of a shutdown across Michigan athletics. But the Wolverines have now met their requirements and are going to return to action on Sunday.

For both sides, this figures to be a key matchup. Michigan is looking to keep its lead in the Big Ten standings, while Wisconsin is hoping to score its first win over a top 20 opponent since non-conference play. This is the second meeting between the two programs this season. Michigan won the first in dominant fashion, at one point leading the Badgers by a 40-point margin.

There’s little debating the most intriguing thing to watch on Sunday will be how the Wolverines return from their pause. Do they look rusty? And if so, could that make them even more vulnerable to an upset? We’ve some teams return from pause and look sharp, while others have taken a few games to get back rolling.

The matchup to watch is going to be upfront. Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson had 12 points and six rebounds in the first matchup and will be looking to follow that up with a great performance on Sunday. It will be up to Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers to try and slow him down. The biggest question will be whether the Badgers try and double Dickinson like they did during the first matchup in January. It didn’t work out well then, so don’t be surprised if Wisconsin abandons that plan this time.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Wisconsin

The Rest:

-Nebraska Cornhuskers at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 3:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State by 12

Nebraska will continue its brutal stretch of make up games (five games in eight days) on Sunday with a road trip to Penn State. The Huskers nearly knocked off Illinois on Friday night, but fell short after a myriad of mistakes and defense lapses in the closing minutes. We’ll see if the loss has a hangover effect on Sunday. Meanwhile, Penn State is hoping to bounce back after a tough loss to Michigan State earlier in the week.

Keep an eye on the backcourt in this one. Trey McGowens has been playing really well recently, but can that maintain against a pretty good Penn State defense? The pressure will be on Jamari Wheeler and Myreon Jones to slow McGowens down.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Nebraska

-Minnesota Golden Gophers at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (FS1)
  • KenPom Spread: Maryland by 1

This is the second leg of two meetings between these two this season. Maryland won the first meeting on January 23rd and will hope for the season sweep on Sunday. However, the Gophers enter this one with momentum, having won two in a row, while Maryland enters amid a two-game skid.

Eric Ayala and Marcus Carr will be the players to watch here. Ayala had his way with Minnesota in the first meeting and Terp fans will hope for the same on Sunday. If Carr can perform better in this matchup, it bodes well for Minnesota.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Maryland

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Record Against The Spread: 21-17-2