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12/30 Big Ten Preview: Three Teams In Action

Preview all of Friday’s Big Ten action.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Big Ten has three games set for Friday evening. None look particularly great on paper, but fans will get to see Michigan State, Rutgers, and Wisconsin in action one more time before conference play restarts. It’s a final check in for those teams.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-Buffalo Bulls at Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 6:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State by 15

This isn’t a particularly great Game of the Day selection, but it gets the nod here as the closest spread of the evening in Vegas. The game figures to be an opportunity for the Spartans to continue to build momentum heading into January, where the team opens with what is progressively looking like a tougher game against Nebraska.

On the court, Buffalo enters the game with an underwhelming roster and few accomplishments on the court. The team’s best win came against George Mason in late November and it hasn’t shown much else. When the Bulls have faced tough competition, the games have largely been one-sided, including an 18-point loss to West Virginia earlier this month. The team is ranked 190th nationally on KenPom.

The key players for Buffalo are Armoni Foster and Zid Powell. The latter is arguably the team’s best player, but it’s unclear whether he’ll play on Friday night after missing Buffalo’s most recent game. As such, expect the team to turn to Armoni Foster. The senior guard has played a lot of minutes this season and is a decent player at getting to the line.

Unfortunately for Buffalo, it’s hard to see the Bulls holding up on the glass as the game continues. Michigan State simply has too much size for Buffalo to hold up much there. It should be a nice opportunity for Mady Sissoko to have a good evening.

  • Pick: Michigan State

The Rest:

-Western Michigan Broncos at No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET (BTN+)
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin by 21

After winning four straight, including two on the road, Wisconsin enters Friday night hoping to score one final win before restarting conference play next month. Fortunately for the Badgers, the team gets an awful Bronco squad coming to town who rank a dreadful 319th nationally on KenPom. The only question here should be whether Wisconsin can cover the spread. Expect the bench to get unloaded. It should be a nice opportunity for Connor Essegian to get extended playing time.

  • Pick: Wisconsin

-Coppin State Eagles at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Rutgers by 24

Like Wisconsin, Rutgers enters this one as a significant favorite hoping to close out non-conference play with an easy win against an overmatched opponent. Coppin State enters the game ranked 296th nationally on KenPom, though the team has shown some spark, highlighted by a win over a decent James Madison team earlier this month.

The key for Rutgers in this one will be slowing down Sam Sessoms in the backcourt, who fans might remember from Penn State the last two seasons. He’s a solid shooter that’s improved his passing considerably over the last few years. Cam Spencer will have his hands full trying to slow down Sessoms. However, when all is considered, there probably isn’t enough else around Sessoms to get the job done.

  • Pick: Rutgers


Picks Record: 58-18-0