The Big Ten has a lighter slate on Monday, but a massive matchup in Maui between Ohio State and San Diego State. It’s a chance for the Buckeyes to grab an early marquee win and begin building their resume for March.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 17 San Diego State Aztecs
- Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: San Diego State by 3
For the opening two weeks of the season, things have been quiet in Columbus. The Buckeyes opened with three convincing wins, but faced off against three body bags, taking out a lot of the value of those contests. Given the opponents, it’s hard to take away any large conclusions about Ohio State.
That will change this week, though, as Ohio State heads west to play in the Maui Invitational. It’s arguably the most prestigious early season tournament and should put the Buckeyes into several marquee matchups, beginning with San Diego State on Monday.
While the Aztecs may not get a ton of national attention, San Diego State is one of the nation’s better and more consistent programs. The team is coming off two straight NCAA Tournaments and it would have been three had 2020 been played. San Diego State has likewise finished each of the last three years ranked top 30 on KenPom.
For Ohio State, the challenge here is going to be scoring against a really talented Aztec defense. All five of the team’s starters can defend and the frontcourt is particularly strong with Keshad Johnson and Nathan Mensah. Jaedon LeDee has also been fantastic off the bench so far this season. A ton of pressure is going to be on Zed Key and Brice Sensabaugh to score against that front on Monday.
All told, this is a game that could easily go either way. This feels like a game where Chris Holtmann will be able to dial up enough to get the Buckeyes to a win. However, it’s really hard to tell given how unknown this squad is. It should make it a fun one.
- Pick: Ohio State
-Nebraska Omaha Mavericks at Iowa Hawkeyes
- Time/TV: 8:00PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Iowa by 29
After taking down Seton Hall on the road last Wednesday, Iowa will return home to face off against Nebraska Omaha on Monday night. The game projects as a complete blowout, particularly given Omaha’s horrendous 1-3 open to the season. Expect this one to get out of hand early and the Hawkeyes to never look back.
- Pick: Iowa
-California Baptist Lancers at Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Time/TV: 10:30PM ET (CBSSN)
- KenPom Spread: Minnesota by 1
While most glancing at this game would assume it would be a one-sided affair, the advanced stats suggest a close contest here. And based on how Minnesota has played to date, that probably isn’t too far out of line. The biggest question will be whether Jamison Battle plays, who has missed all of Minnesota’s action so far this season. The Gophers desperately need him to get on the court, as he projects as one of the team’s best offensive players this season.
On the court, there are two players to watch for the Lancers in Taran Armstrong and Riley Battin. They lead the usage for Cal Baptist. Armstrong is a solid point guard and Battin is an undersized big that can still make his presence felt. It’s going to be a big challenge for Ta’Lon Cooper and Dawson Garcia. All told, Minnesota should have enough to get the job done, especially if Battle sees time.
- Pick: Minnesota
Picks Record: 35-6-0