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1/26 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Indiana Looks to Bounce Back

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight there is a doubleheader on BTN starting at 6:30. Let’s take a look at the action set for later today.

Game of the Night

Penn State Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Indiana -8.5

Indiana followed up their biggest win in years with...an 18 point home loss to a not so great Michigan team. The inconsistency was a staple of the Archie Miller era and fans were hoping to leave that behind in the Mike Woodson era. Now Indiana needs to bounce back and pick up a win at home against Penn State.

The last time they took the court Indiana hit 39.3% of their shots and shot only 5 of 19 from three. They did limit turnovers, but didn’t do much else. Rob Phinisee, big in the win over Purdue, scored 2 points in 18 minutes. Now they need to avenge an earlier road loss to Penn State. In that game they had a similar performance to their Michigan loss, shooting 39.7% from the field and hitting 4 of 17 from three.

Penn State had their win against Indiana and a big win over Rutgers while hanging around with Purdue and Ohio State. Their road trip to Iowa last weekend didn’t go so well, though, losing by 17. In that game Penn State shot 33.3% from the field and was 7 of 25 from three. The Nittany Lions aren’t a super talented team, but when they can start hitting from three they’re more than capable of hanging around. In their win against the Hoosiers they did just that, shooting 11 of 22 from beyond the arc.

There’s plenty of guys on Penn State that can step up, but it’s been hit or miss at times this season. So far this season they’re averaging only 65.5 points per game and that offensive inconsistency has reared its head time and time again. If they want to knock off Indiana again they’re going to need guards Sam Sessoms and Myles Dread to hit some big shots from three. On the other side, Indiana will need to continue to find additional production away from Trayce Jackson-Davis if they want to continue to make a push for the postseason.

Indiana’s inconsistency isn’t likely going to go away over night, but considering how poor they played last time out I’d expect Woodson to have his team ready to go. Unless Penn State gets hot from outside, the Hoosiers should bounce back with a win tonight.

Pick: Indiana

The Rest

Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Michigan -8.0

Michigan has underwhelmed this year but they’re coming off a pair of wins, including a nice road win at Indiana. If the Wolverines want to try to salvage their season they cannot afford to lose a game at home against Northwestern. The Wildcats are 1-6 over their last seven games, but they almost knocked a slew of top teams in the Big Ten and knocked off Michigan State on the road. Last time on the court they finally couldn’t keep things close, getting blown out by Purdue.

In a 20 point loss the game could have been worse if not for Boo Buie’s 5 of 8 shooting performance from three. Buie and Pete Nance have carried Northwestern most of the season, but the Wildcats don’t have enough offensive weapons to pull off some of the near upsets as of late. Michigan could be playing better, but there’s still plenty of talent on hand. Most notably is Hunter Dickinson, who will look to follow Zach Edey and Trevion Williams’ success (24 points and 20 rebounds) inside against the Wildcats.

Against Indiana the Wolverines finally found their stroke from beyond the arc, if they can continue to do so today winning at home shouldn’t be much of a problem. Michigan should pick up their third win in a row tonight.

Pick: Michigan