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11/17 Big Ten Preview: Three Big Ten Teams Set for Action

Preview all of Thursday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska Omaha at Nebraska Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

There are three games scattered throughout the day, including a Gavitt Tipoff Game, an early season tournament and a buy game to close out the night.

Game of the Day

Nebraska Cornhuskers at St. John’s Red Storm

  • Gavitt Tipoff Games
  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET FS1
  • Line: St. John’s -10.5

In the only Gavitt Tipoff Game tonight Nebraska heads east to face St. Johns. The Johnnies have been in a holding pattern under Mike Anderson, going 17-15, 16-11 and 17-15 in his first three seasons. The Red Storm are looking to make the jump to the NCAA Tournament and if they want to get there they’ll need to take care of business against teams like Nebraska.

St. John’s haven’t played anyone difficult this year but they’ve coasted to large double digit wins in all three games. Forward David Jones is averaging 18.7 points and 8 rebounds per game while hitting 40% from three. The team is averaging 90.3 points per game while hitting 54.8% of their field goals and just over 41% from deep. Offensively they do more than enough to give this Nebraska time fits.

In two games Nebraska have avoided any dreadful non-conference upsets but haven’t wowed anyone against Maine and Omaha. Sam Griesel, C.J. Wilcher and Emmanuel Bandoumel are averaging 46 points per game in the backcourt, though the Cornhuskers are lacking in the frontcourt. Offensively Nebraska isn’t a prolific three point shooting team and struggle from the line, though they’ve limited turnovers so far this season.

It’s unlikely that Nebraska’s offense will keep pace with St. John’s and with the game taking place on the road it’s hard to see them landing the upset tonight.

Pick: St. Johns

The Rest

Furman Paladin vs Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic (Charleston, SC)
  • Time/TV: 11:30 AM ET ESPNU
  • Line: Penn State -2.0

In the opening round of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic Penn State will face off against Furman, with the winner set to play either Old Dominion or Virginia Tech tomorrow. The Nittany Lions will then play again on the 20th against either South Carolina, Davidson, Charleston or Colorado State.

Last season Furman went 22-12 and is currently slotted just outside of the top 60 in the KenPom ratings, making this potentially a solid win for the Nittany Lions. The Paladins ran past Belmont last weekend to improve to 2-0 and could find themselves contending in the Southern Conference this season. Guard Mike Bothwell is pacing the team with 20.5 points per game while Furman has averaged 90 points per game in two outings.

Penn State improved to 3-0 with a big win against Butler earlier in the week. With five players averaging 10-14.3 points per game, Penn State has spread the ball around and found plenty of players to contribute on offense (something Penn State has struggled with in years past). In three games they’re also hitting 47.8% of their three pointers, even more notable when you realize more than half of their field goals come from beyond the arc.

If the Nittany Lions can keep the offensive fireworks going for at least another day they should be more than capable of winning in the early afternoon.

Pick: Penn State

Central Michigan Chippewa at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Minnesota -11.0

In the late game tonight Minnesota will look to bounce back from their loss on Monday against DePaul. It’s been an up and down start to the season, with only a one point win over Western Michigan to open the season and a 16 point loss to DePaul last time out. In that game the Gophers shot 33.3% from the field, 25% from three and only 13 of 23 from the line. The Gophers are trying to find an identity with a fresh roster once again this year and not much has been working besides Dawson Garcia. With Jamison Battle out for the time being things haven’t gone well for Minnesota.

Luckily for them they’re facing a Central Michigan team ranked by KenPom outside of the top 300. Shooting 28.9% from three and averaging 21 turnovers per game so far this season, the Chips play sloppy and that doesn’t fare well for a road trip to Minnesota. The Gophers are a hot mess but more than capable to pick up a win tonight.

Pick: Minnesota