Fans may be denied a sideline rematch of last year’s Big Ten Tournament tussle between Juwan Howard and Mark Turgeon tonight after Turgeon parted ways with Maryland earlier this season, but there is still plenty of quality Big Ten action on the court for fans as the Terps visit Michigan. In addition to the highlight game of the night, Ohio State has a non-conference game added in and No. 8 Wisconsin visits Northwestern.
Let’s take a look at the games.
Game of the Day:
-Maryland Terrapins (9-8, 1-5) at Michigan Wolverines (7-7, 1-3)
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM EST (ESPN2)
- ESPN Pick Center: Michigan -6.5
Many fans may remember the alleged death threat Juwan Howard made to Mark Turgeon last year before being ejected from the game in the Big Ten Tournament. However, any bad blood that may linger over that will not be aired in this first matchup between the two basketball programs since that incident as Turgeon stepped away from Maryland last month. Despite the lack of that drama added in, this is a high stakes game for both teams who are in need of wins this season.
Maryland comes into this one having blown a double digit lead over Rutgers at home on Saturday and lost by double digits at the final buzzer while Michigan enters the game with its own double digit defeat at Illinois last time out on Friday night following cancelled games due to COVID-19 issues in the program. A win by Maryland would be just the second in league play for the Terps, but the same applies for Michigan. The big question mark for both teams’ chances likely comes down to Hunter Dickinson, however.
As of the time of this writing, the elite center for the Wolverines is listed as a game-time decision. Dickinson would be one of many opponents this season UMD has faced and given up 20+ points to, the most recent being Ron Harper Jr. of Rutgers who the Terps saw score a career-high 31 points against them. Dickinson would have little resistance down low against a smaller lineup in Maryland’s squad with the most capable player by size being 6-foot-11 Qudus Wahab.
If Dickinson does not play, Maryland would likely be able to spread the floor more defensively and take advantage similar to how the team played against Illinois when Kofi Cockburn had to sit due to foul trouble for long stretches. With that kind of advantage, Maryland may pick up a coveted road win in Big Ten play.
- Pick: Michigan (Maryland if Dickinson can’t play)
-Ohio State Buckeyes (11-4, 5-2) vs. IUPUI Jaguars (1-14, 0-7 away)
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
- ESPN Pick Center: Ohio State -32.5
After having to cancel numerous non-conference games due to COVID-19 issues among the roster, the Buckeyes have squeezed in a rare mid-January non-conference matchup against the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars of the Horizon League. The game will not mean much in the grand scheme of things beyond a padding of the win column as IUPUI is ranked No. 356 of 358 programs in KenPom right now. The most interesting aspect of it should be whether Ohio State can manage to cover that huge spread.
- Pick: Ohio State
-No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (14-2, 5-1) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (9-6, 2-4)
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
- ESPN Pick Center: Wisconsin -2
Northwestern is coming off a huge road win at then No. 9/10 Michigan State and will be hoping to trend of knocking off top-10 teams continues in Wisconsin’s visit to Evanston tonight. The Badgers enter the game hoping to extend the team’s win streak to seven straight including the 10 point win over Ohio State last Thursday.
NU’s Pete Nance is still questionable against Wisconsin tonight at time of writing. With his return then it may pose a challenge to a stingy Badgers defense on the road. However, Wisconsin opponents average 12.6 points fewer per game than Northwestern’s season average and Wisconsin shoots 2.6 percent higher from the field on average (42 percent) than the Wildcats give up (39.4 percent). So this one should have the makings to be a competitive matchup for fans tuning in to watch.
- Pick: Wisconsin