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2/16 Big Ten Preview: Super Tuesday of MSU-Purdue, Neb-UMD, & NU-Illinois

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Michigan State Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Game of the Day:

-Michigan State Spartans at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 7:00 p.m. EST (ESPN)

The Spartans are 2-1 in their last three games, though the most recent was a record setting home loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Purdue, meanwhile, won three straight following the last second win at Michigan State in January, but has lost three of its last five games.

The Spartans have been anything but consistent this season. They have also been anything but quality basketball for a number of months at this point. However, Purdue kicked off an impressive run for a period with a last second win with the final game winning play at MSU coming down mostly to coaching error. The frustration among the Spartans has to be festering, along with some sense of urgency on the players and coaching staff to come up with a last ditch effort at preserving the NCAA tournament streak.

Purdue has the advantage down low, though. The Boilermakers are a better team rebounding than the Spartans, though. Given MSU’s lack of a reliable scorer, the advantage on the glass will be an issue for any revenge result on the Spartans part. On its home court as well, Purdue is unlikely to shoot just 13 percent from three like the team did in East Lansing.

Both teams have been reliably inconsistent and unreliable during this season. Purdue should probably get the nod for the win from me, and I have zero confidence in my pick for the winner, but for at least a little longer there is still the notion the Spartans have an idea for how to figure out just enough to win games against the middle and bottom tiers of the league.

  • Pick: Michigan State

The Rest:

- Nebraska Cornhuskers at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 7:00 p.m. EST (BTN)

The Cornhuskers finally got their first win in Big Ten play at Penn State on Sunday. Not just that, but their first league win since Jan. 7, 2020 and the first road win dating back to at Indiana on Jan. 14, 2019. However, the team still is facing its sixth game in 11 days entering game one of a back-to-back series at Maryland tonight. The Terps, meanwhile, have an odd record on the season with wins at Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, but a 2-5 record at home in conference play.

Nebraska gets a somewhat helpful opponent in the Terps in that Maryland is one of the worst teams in the league at defending against the three point shot while the Huskers like to prioritize shots from deep in their offense. Additionally, Maryland relies on a number of players to score as just two average double figures, helping a Nebraska team that is not the most amazing defensively.

Maryland, meanwhile, has averaged home wins by 8.2 points overall and beaten teams they are favored to by 14 points this season. While the Huskers average 70.5 points per game to the Terps 69.6 per game, the tired legs, potential win hangover, and home court advantage likely play into Maryland’s advantage at least for game one of this series.

  • Pick: Maryland

- Northwestern Wildcats at No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: 9:00 p.m. EST (BTN)

It is probably a good thing for Northwestern the team doesn’t have to play for the hat in basketball, too. After their hot start in hoops, the Wildcats have been anything but for quite some time. Illinois, meanwhile, barely avoided the most embarrassing loss by a Big Ten team in arguably years Friday night at Nebraska after needing overtime to escape Lincoln with a win.

Northwestern doesn’t have a lot going for it in this matchup, including home court advantage. The Wildcats best advantage is likely the fact the team can shoot okay from three point range and Illinois struggles at defending shots from deep. However, they struggle to draw fouls and are not a great rebounding team.

Illinois, meanwhile, had no trouble beating the Wildcats in Evanston back in January in an 81-56 blowout. The lethal duo of Dosumnu and Cockburn should prove lethal for the Illini’s offensive attack.

  • Pick: Illinois