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1/29 Big Ten Preview: Michigan at Michigan State

Preview Saturday’s Big Ten action.

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The Big Ten slate day is a fully packed one throughout Saturday. Four games are on tap for today, including two in-state rivalry matchups.

Let’s take a look at the games.

Game of the Day:

-Michigan Wolverines (10-7, 4-3) at No. 10 Michigan State Spartans (15-4, 6-2)

  • Time/TV: 12:30 PM EST (CBS)
  • Tallysight Spread: Michigan State -4.5

Take two on the mitten state showdown after the first was postponed as a result of COVID-19 issues as the Wolverines visit East Lansing today to take on the Spartans. Michigan is riding a three-game win streak heading into this one while Michigan State has lost two of the last three. However, throw out the record books when it comes to big rivalries like this one. After all, just look at how last season went when the teams split the series despite Michigan State’s struggles.

Michigan State is always hungry under head coach Tom Izzo for a win over Michigan no matter the record of either team. Juwan Howard, meanwhile, looks to try and clinch his first win in East Lansing as head of the Michigan program, having lost the past two attempts by an average of 12 points.

Michigan State’s Marcus Bingham and Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson will likely be the focal point of this one. Bingham will need to help slow down Dickinson on Michigan’s offensive possessions if the Spartans hope to come home with a win. However, Bingham continues to be limited in minutes after losing his conditioning as a result of COVID-19 infection. The Wolverines will face a stifling defense against MSU, but if the team’s leading scorer can get Bingham in foul trouble then the team loses its best shot blocker and size advantage down low to battle Dickinson.

While these games don’t often have quite the hatred one finds on the grid iron between these programs, the hate is still strong on both sides. The line on this one is close for a reason and it is unlikely to disappoint viewers who tune in.

  • Pick: Michigan State

The Rest:

-Indiana Hoosiers (15-5, 6-4) at Maryland Terrapins (11-9, 3-6)

  • Time/TV: 2:30 PM EST (FOX)
  • Tallysight Spread: Indiana -1.5

Indiana is on the road today after winning three of the last four and five of the last seven, including wins over two top-15 opponents. Maryland is riding a two-game win streak of its own, but has lost five of the last eight games. The Terps are only 5-7 at home while the Hoosiers have only won a single true road game this season, a single-digit victory at Nebraska.

Senior guard Fatts Russell leads Maryland in scoring with 12.5 points per game, scoring 23 against Rutgers in the last outing. Sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis leads IU with 18.4 points per game. The Terps average 73.1 ppg and give up 71.3 ppg, while the Hoosiers averaged just 69.7 ppg but hold opponents to 64.5 ppg. It will be a clash of styles with IU featuring the big lineup down low and Maryland playing more small-ball lineups.

  • Pick: Maryland

-No. 24 Illinois Fighting Illini (14-5, 7-2) at Northwestern Wildcats (9-9, 2-7)

  • Time/TV: 4:30 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
  • Tallysight Spread: Illinois -3

The spread on this one is a lot closer than it likely should be. In-state foes Illinois and Northwestern meet today for the first time this season with the Illini having snapped a two-game losing streak against No. 10 Michigan State on Tuesday night. Northwestern also recently defeated MSU, but has lost three in a row since, most recently to Michigan on the road Wednesday night.

No word yet on whether Kofi Cockburn or Andre Curbelo will be back for this game, however. With them, the spread should be no problem. Without them, it may be a little tighter on the road. However, Trent Frazier and Alfonso Plummer should manage the Wildcats.

  • Pick: Illinois

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights (11-8, 5-4) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-14, 0-9)

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
  • Tallysight Spread: Unavailable at time of writing

The Cornhuskers are reeling with 12 straight losses in Big Ten play dating back to last season. The good news at least? Nebraska’s last win was at home against Rutgers on March 1, 2021. The bad news? A quality Rutgers team got absolutely demolished in that one, losing 72-51. While the Scarlet Knights won by an even larger margin, 93-65, earlier this month in Piscataway, that blowout last season surely still stings.

To Nebraska’s advantage is the Huskers played quality defense at times against Wisconsin on Thursday and Rutgers only has one win on the road. The Scarlet Knights struggle offensively away from home and the team’s stout defense at home also struggles on the road. Nebraska might just finally end the losing streak in this one. The spread may not have been out at time of writing, but the score predictor only gives Rutgers 50.8 percent odds to win.

  • Pick: Rutgers