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12/8 Big Ten Preview: Showdown In Iowa

Preview all of Thursday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Jimmy V Classic-Iowa at Duke Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There are three games tonight with a pair of Big Ten games and an in-state rivalry showdown from the two predominant schools from the state of Iowa.

Game of the Night

#20 Iowa State Cyclones at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET FS1
  • Line: Iowa -5.0

In the main game tonight the Hawkeyes will host bitter in-state rival Iowa State. The Cyclones are 7-1 and ranked 20th in the nation, but their best win is against a North Carolina team that has struggled immensely. They’ve also lost to UCONN by 18 points, so the jury is out on the Cyclones.

Iowa is 6-2, but their two losses came against a pretty good TCU program and a loss to Duke. Iowa is once again an offensively sound team, this year led by Kris Murray, though their defense is once again a weak point. That’s not particularly new under Fran McCaffery, though, so Iowa should be used to relying heavily on their offense.

The good news is Iowa State doesn’t have a great offense, ranked outside of the top 100 by KenPom. While they do have a pretty solid defense, their inefficient offense going up against a solid Hawkeye offense on the road proves problematic. Iowa is flawed but has more then enough firepower to knock off their rival.

Pick: Iowa

The Rest

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET ESPN2
  • Line: Ohio State -6.0

In the first game tonight Rutgers is set to travel to Columbus to face off against Ohio State. The Scarlet Knights are a defensively sound team coming off of an upset of Indiana but lost their only prior road game. The Scarlet Knights haven’t found their offense like in years past, but they’re a defensively sound team. Of course that defensive advantage typically fades outside of Jersey, problematic as tonight’s game is in Ohio.

Ohio State has lost two games, both to ranked teams, but bounced back nicely against St. Francis last weekend. Ohio State has been humming alone nicely offensively and even versus a stout Rutgers defense should have enough weapons on offense to take care of business against the Knights.

Pick: Ohio State

Michigan Wolverines at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Michigan -4.5

Michigan has lost back to back games, though those losses came against Virginia and Kentucky. Tonight’s outing against Minnesota should allow the Wolverines the chance to get back in the win column and start off conference play with a victory.

Minnesota is on a three game losing skid, dropping consecutive defeats to UNLV, Virginia Tech and Purdue. The team has Jamison Battle back in the mix alongside Dawson Garcia, but there hasn’t been much success elsewhere on the roster. They’re set to face a Michigan squad led by Hunter Dickinson and Jett Howard, the only two Michigan players averaging at least 10 points per game.

Michigan has some flaws but they’re the more talented team and with tonight’s game taking place in Ann Arbor it’s hard to see Minnesota pulling out a victory. Michigan should bounce back nicely with a win tonight.

Pick: Michigan