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11/15 Big Ten Preview: Michigan State and Kentucky Face Off

NCAA Basketball: Armed Forces Classic-Michigan State vs Gonzaga Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight there’s a solid mix of action with a pair of Gavitt Tipoff Games, two buy games and the State Farm Champions Classic showdown between Kentucky and Michigan State.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Night

#4 Kentucky Wildcats vs Michigan State Spartans

  • State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis, In.)
  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET ESPN

Anyone that has followed Michigan State under Tom Izzo is used to seeing Izzo schedule up in the non-conference slate and that is once again the case this season. Following last weekends outing against Gonzaga the Spartans are now set to face off against another top five team in Kentucky. Tonight’s game in Indianapolis isn’t the last difficult outing for the Spartans, with Villanova up at the end of the week before the Phil Knight Invitational and a road trip to Notre Dame.

The Spartans had a double digit lead in the second half before Gonzaga ended up coming back and winning by a point. Michigan State played somewhat sloppy, committing 16 turnovers and hitting only 18.8% of their 16 three pointers. They also couldn’t convert from the free throw line, shooting 18 of 28 from the line. When everything was said and done, though, they had the ball with a chance to win at the end of regulation.

In two games Kentucky is 2-0, though they’ve only played Howard and Duquesne. The Wildcats once again are heavily talented but the Spartans will prove to be their first challenge of the season. Michigan State is typically a solid team year in and year out, but they do have a tendency to lose games like this. Michigan State’s offense is still a question mark, shooting 42.7% from the field, 66.7% from the line and 27.9% from three. There’s been some parity offensively as well, with six players averaging 8-10.5 points per game, but no dominating force on offense.

That of course pales in comparison to Kentucky, who has shot 50.4% from the field and 51.2% from three. Antonio Reeves and CJ Fredrick are averaging 37 points per game while shooting above 50% from beyond the arc.

Both of these teams should be good this year but Kentucky is the more talented team and has their offense figured out compared to the Spartans work in progress. Kentucky should have enough firepower to keep Sparty at bay.

Pick: Kentucky

The Rest

Northwestern Wildcats at Georgetown Hoyas

  • Gavitt Tipoff Games
  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET FS1
  • Line: Even

FS1 has a doubleheader of Gavitt Tipoff Games tonight, with the first seeing Northwestern heading east to Georgetown. Somewhat surprisingly the line is even, while ESPN gives Georgetown a 67.3% chance to win. The Hoyas have underwhelmed during Patrick Ewing’s tenure, bottoming out at 6-25 and not winning a single conference game last year. That has put a lot of pressure on Ewing this season to produce some results. Things almost got to a disastrous start as the Hoyas need overtime to beat Coppin State, but they managed to beat Green Bay by 34 last time out.

Chris Collins hasn’t done much of anything since getting the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament, with five straight losing seasons heading into 2022-23. Northwestern is 2-0, but those wins have came against Chicago State and Northern Illinois. Tonight will provide a bigger challenge and while Georgetown hasn’t been great, the Hoyas at home should have the advantage. Guards Primo Spears and Brandon Murray are averaging 43 points per game and will be key for the Hoyas chances of improving to 3-0.

Pick: Georgetown

Binghamton Bearcats at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET BTN

There’s a doubleheader of buy games tonight on BTN, with Binghamton heading to Maryland in the first game. The Bearcats are 2-0 on the season, but those wins came against Cazenovia College and Marist. Binghamton has averaged 82.5 points per game while shooting just under 50% from the field but should have a more difficult time against the Terps.

Maryland has taken care of business in their first two games, though the offense has been somewhat uninspired shooting the ball. Hitting only 28.2% of their threes, Maryland will need to find some range if they want to contend in the Big Ten. There’s enough talent that Maryland should be fine tonight, though.

Pick: Maryland

Marquette Golden Eagles at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Gavitt Tipoff Games
  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET FS1
  • Line: Purdue -9.0

In the second Gavitt Tipoff Game tonight Purdue is set to host Marquette. The Golden Eagles are 2-0 this year, with a narrow win over Radford before a more comfortable win against Central Michigan. Marquette went 19-13 last year and made it to the NCAA Tournament. While they’re currently 2-0, they’re only shooting 31.6% from three and committing 16 turnovers per game. Those turnovers could prove deadly with a Purdue defense looking solid through the first week of the season and with today’s game taking place at Mackey Arena.

Purdue took care of business against Milwaukee but their offense tapered off against Austin Peay. Even with the offensive struggles, Zach Edey continued to impress with 30 points, absolutely dominating inside. Through the first two games the tallest starter for Marquette measured in at 6’9” so they will be at a considerable size disadvantage.

The Boilermakers have a pair of true freshmen in the backcourt and the shooting from the perimeter has been inconsistent. Against Milwaukee it eventually flourished but they couldn’t buy a bucket versus Austin Peay. If this game was on the road there might be more concern, but Purdue is difficult at home and should feed off of their home crowd on their way to a 3-0 start.

Pick: Purdue

Green Bay Phoenix Phoenix at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Wisconsin -28.5

In the late game tonight Wisconsin hosts in-state opponent Green Bay. The Badgers are almost 29 points favorites and ESPN Analytics give the Phoenix are whopping 2.5% chance to win. In their first two games Green Bay lost by 27 points to Indiana State and 34 points to Georgetown while averaging only 55.5 points per game. Wisconsin won their last time out against Stanford and shouldn’t face much of a challenge from a team KenPom ranks as 356th out of 363 schools.

Pick: Wisconsin