The Big Ten has an exciting slate of games on Wednesday night, including marquee opportunities for Iowa and Michigan in nationally televised matchups. Ohio State also faces off against Eastern Illinois in a tuneup game.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-Iowa Hawkeyes at Seton Hall Pirates
- Time/TV: 7:30PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Seton Hall by 1
Over the last few years, Fran McCaffery’s program has adopted an intriguing scheduling approach, alternating between marquee opportunities and horrendously weak opponents. And this year has been no exception, as Iowa opened with two teams outside the top 290 on KenPom and now finds itself going on the road to face Seton Hall.
I mention the scheduling approach here because it makes it difficult to project Wednesday’s matchup. Iowa has looked great so far, but the two games have come against weak competition. Thus, in a lot of ways, Wednesday’s truly the opening night of the season for Hawkeye fans, as they learn about this year’s squad in a game that matters.
On the court, this is going to be a clash of styles. While Iowa relies on a high-powered offense, Seton Hall plays a physical style of basketball that relies on tough defense. The Pirates rank 22nd in defensive efficiency and second nationally in effective field goal percentage defense. And much of it comes from the frontcourt, which alternates a variety of players including KC Ndefo, Tray Jackson, and Tyrese Samuel. If Iowa is going to try and score at the hoop, it’s going to have its work cut out.
Expect this game to be a sloppy one for Iowa. There will be segments where the team seem like it can’t score, only to explode a few minutes later. It’s just the nature of these types of matchups. The question is going to be whether Iowa can get enough from Patrick McCaffery and Kris Murray to carry things. There won’t be many easy shots all night. Unfortunately, this feels like a growing pains type of game for the Hawkeyes.
- Pick: Seton Hall
-No. 20 Michigan Wolverines vs. Pittsburgh Panthers
- Time/TV: 6:00PM ET (ESPNU)
- KenPom Spread: Michigan by 8
The Wolverines opened the season with two wins, but will get their toughest test of the season to date with Pittsburgh in the Legends Classic on Wednesday night. While the Panthers aren’t expected to be anything great, Pitt is a top 100 team on KenPom and has some senior contributors in Jamarius Burton and Nelly Cummings capable of making some noise, even against quality competition.
Michigan’s defense will get most of the focus in this one. The Wolverines gave up 83 points to Eastern Michigan on Friday and will need a better performance in this one if the team is going to escape with a win. Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard will need to step up there. Both have had their moments, but are still young players going through growing pains. Ultimately, this feels like a competitive game that will end up being pretty close.
- Pick: Michigan
-Eastern Illinois Panthers at Ohio State Buckeyes
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Ohio State by 30
The Buckeyes opened the season with two dominant wins against underwhelming competition and will get another opportunity to add to that total on Wednesday at home against a struggling Eastern Illinois team. The Panthers are not only 0-3 on the season, but have lost two of those games by significant margins, including a loss by 16 points against Central Michigan on Sunday. Expect Ohio State to cruise in this one.
- Pick: Ohio State
Picks Record: 25-0-0