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1/9 Big Ten Preview: Wisconsin Heads East to Maryland

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

There are thee games scattered across the day airing on BTN, with a Wisconsin road trip to Minnesota highlighting the day.

Game of the Day

#23 Wisconsin Badgers at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 7:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Wisconsin -1.0

The difficult of winning on the road in the Big Ten has became apparent in the betting odds early in 2022, with Michigan being favored over Michigan State in yesterday’s postponed game and now Wisconsin only being a one point favorite over an inferior Maryland program.

Wisconsin has been a bit all over at times, but when they’re on they’re on and a lot of that stems from if Johnny Davis is playing good or not. When Davis scored 63 points in two games, you get wins against Purdue and Iowa. Without Davis the Badgers almost lost to Nicholls State and then on a day he went 6 of 23 from the field they needed overtime to beat Illinois State. Luckily for Wisconsin Davis has been great most of the year, leading the team with 22.6 points per game and shooting 46% from the field.

Maryland parted ways with Mark Turgeon early and the Terps have more or less became an afterthought within the conference. Committing 12.4 turnovers per game and shooting only 31.1% from three, the Terps have struggled most of the year on the offensive side of the ball. They have a pair of guards in Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell that can score plenty of points, but could be a bit more efficient if Maryland wants to have more success this season. Their problems on the offensive side of the ball will loom large against a Wisconsin team that is ranked as the 31st most efficient defensive unit per KenPom.

Maryland hung around in their last two road losses against Iowa and Illinois and have a win against Florida about a month ago. With this game taking place on their home court, it’d be irresponsible to imply that they can’t win this game. Wisconsin’s defense should be able to slow down Maryland enough and if Johnny Davis can keep up his recent hot streak, the Badgers will pick up another big win for a surging Wisconsin program.

Pick: Wisconsin

The Rest

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 12:00 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Indiana -11.0

Minnesota had a surprising 10-1 start this season, though the win at Michigan isn’t looking as good as it once did. They finally had an off night, getting blown out on their home court against Illinois last time out. As for Indiana, they bounced back from a rough road loss to Penn State with a 16 point win over Ohio State because that’s just how things go in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers are showing signs of improvement, but still have retained a number of the same flaws from last year so it’ll be interesting to see how things pan out down the stretch.

Fortunately for Indiana today’s game is at home. Considering the difficulty to win on the road, with a pair of road games coming up and then home games against Purdue and Michigan, Indiana really needs a win today. Their opponent is a thin Gophers squad coming off of their worst performance of the year after they failed to slow down Kofi Cockburn. Indiana will look to double down on that same strategy, relying heavily on Trayce Jackson-Davis to take care of business.

Two areas of criticism for Indiana the past couple of seasons have been their over reliance on Jackson-Davis and their inability to shoot. While their shooting has looked better this year, the Hoosiers went 2 of 15 from three in their home win against Ohio State. They also relied on Jackson-Davis, who scored 27 of their 67 points, with Race Thompson’s 11 points being the only other player to hit double figures. While Indiana hasn’t found a consistent second option for Jackson-Davis just yet, his success inside and this game taking place in Bloomington should be enough.

Pick: Indiana

Northwestern Wildcats at #13 Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 5:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Ohio State -7.5

Northwestern hasn’t had much success since Chris Collins got them to the NCAA Tournament. After a serviceable enough 8-2 start to the season, including a conference win over Maryland, the Wildcats blew a chance of an upset over top ten Michigan State. Then on Wednesday lost another close game at home against Penn State. Considering the difficulty in winning on the road, losing back to back winnable games at home when you’re trying to desperately improve is a huge wasted opportunity.

Pete Nance has looked legit good this year, averaging 15.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Boo Buie is adding 15.3 points and 5.8 assists per game, but struggles a bit shooting the ball (39.5% from the field, 33.3% from three). Past that they get some points out of Chase Audige and Ryan Young, but no one outside of Buie and Nance will put much fear in any Big Ten opponents.

Young will have his hands full with E.J. Liddell, who is leading the Buckeyes in points, rebounds and blocks. Similar to Indiana, the Buckeyes are riding Liddell on offense and getting scattered production from the rest of the players on the floor. One big difference, though, is Ohio State has shown the ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter, shooting just under 48% from the field and 38.7% from three. That didn’t happen against Indiana, though, with the team shooting an ice cold 30.8% from the field and committing 15 turnovers. Even then, Ohio State was still playing neck and neck with the Hoosiers before scoring six points over the last ten minutes.

Ohio State has more talent across the board, gets this game at home and has a player in Liddell that Northwestern won’t be able to slow down. That being said, Ohio State likes to keep things unnecessarily entertaining, beating Akron at the buzzer and needing overtime to edge Nebraska. Ohio State should win today, but don’t be surprised if Northwestern makes this game closer than it should be.

Pick: Ohio State