The Big Ten only has two games on Monday night, but both pack quite a punch. Wisconsin goes on the road to face Purdue in the early game and Iowa hosts Maryland in the evening game. Both have significant Big Ten and NCAA Tournament implications.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-No. 24 Wisconsin Badgers at No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Purdue by 11
Talk about teams heading in opposite directions. While Purdue sits at 12-1 overall and has won four in a row by double-digits, Wisconsin has shown some serious hiccups as of late. The Badgers are 3-1 over the team’s last four games, but need a miraculous comeback to beat Indiana and barely got past underwhelming Nicholls State and Illinois State squads. The loss was also a complete blowout on the road against Ohio State. For perspective, Wisconsin has dropped 13 spots on KenPom in just four games.
Still, when conference play begins, a lot needs to be thrown out.
And both of these teams are more than capable of getting a win here.
For Purdue, the key is simply doing what the team does best. The Boilermakers need to play disciplined basketball, let Jaden Ivey go to work in transition, and lean on the big men. Wisconsin will make it tougher than usual, but Purdue clearly has the deeper and more talented roster. Let it carry you in a game like this. Purdue’s defense is also good enough to force Wisconsin into some tough spots. Focus on Johnny Davis and the rest will fall into place. We’ve seen the strategy work well as of late.
On the other side, Wisconsin should be looking to muck things up with solid defense and quality play in the paint. Slowing down Zach Edey and Trevion Williams will be challenging, but we’ve seen those two get frustrated in the past. If Wisconsin can stay disciplined, there’s an opening. After all, Rutgers knocked off Purdue just a few weeks ago.
Expect a hard fought game on both sides. However, home court and Wisconsin’s recent struggles suggest this will be a Purdue win.
- Pick: Purdue
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Iowa by 8
Unlike the early game, this one is a question mark on both sides. Iowa and Maryland have shown exceptional play at times this season, but both have also suffered some serious setbacks. While Iowa can score, it has trouble on the defensive end. And even though Maryland has knocked off quality teams like Florida, it’s also suffered some serious upsets. The Terps are also without the program’s long-time head coach Mark Turgeon.
Because of this uncertainty, this feels like a really important game. It’s an opportunity for both sides to get a statement win. For Iowa, it’s a chance to show the team can win in Big Ten play after suffering some early losses. And for Maryland, it’s a chance to show this isn’t a lost season. Turgeon may have left, but this roster still has talent.
On the court, it’s likely going to come down to Maryland’s backcourt. If the Terps can get solid production from that unit, it should have enough to hang in with Iowa. Keegan Murray is a monster, but the Hawks haven’t gotten much from the backcourt. We’ll see how it shakes out. This feels like a game that will come down to the closing minutes.
- Pick: Iowa