The Big Ten has two games on Monday night, highlighted by a great matchup between Indiana and Ohio State in Columbus. Fans will also get to enjoy a feisty battle between Maryland and Penn State as well.
Let’s take a look at the slate.
Game of the Day:
-Indiana Hoosiers at No. 18 Ohio State Buckeyes
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Ohio State by 7
A few weeks ago, this game projected as one of the better ones on the league slate. Indiana had won four of its last five games and seemed to be a safe bet for the NCAAs. Ohio State was also rolling, having won three in a row and sitting in nice position for the Big Ten title.
Unfortunately, things haven’t been pretty since then.
While Ohio State has played decently, it’s struggled for consistency, going 3-3 over its last size, including a tough loss against Iowa at home on Saturday. Indiana’s also been on a slide, having lost four straight. The team’s NCAA hopes have accordingly suffered, as Indiana’s once promising resume now looks flawed. Both teams will need solid finishes over the next two weeks to reach their goals, which makes Monday’s meeting an important one.
The game itself is a bit of a contrast. Both teams boast powerful frontcourts with Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis and Ohio State’s EJ Liddell. However, the backcourts leave much to be desired. Xavier Johnson and Trey Galloway have been inconsistent all season and Jamari Wheeler has been limited for much of his career. Malaki Branham has shown considerable promise for the Buckeyes, but he’s also inconsistent.
This feels like a game where both sides will be able to do what they want offensively, especially upfront. It’s simply going to be on the backcourts to deliver elsewhere. Whoever does more there likely comes out on top. And that makes Ohio State the better bet, particularly with the game in Columbus where the team has played really well. It’s up to Indiana to prove it can win games like this before fans should believe.
- Pick: Ohio State
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: Maryland by 2
This is one of those late season games where perspective matters a lot. Generally speaking, there isn’t a whole lot on the line for either of these teams on Monday night. Neither is in postseason contention and it’d be a bit misleading to suggest either team really had any serious Big Ten Tournament implications on the line. Both are going to enter as low seeds and will need to win the whole thing to reach their goals, meaning Monday probably won’t influence things much.
However, there are some hard feelings on both sides of this series and it’s been one of the more enjoyable games in recent years. As such, it should be a fun watch. Keep an eye on the battle upfront between John Harrar and Qudus Wahab. Neither is explosive offensively, but they could make a real difference here. All told, I’m leaning with Penn State at home.
- Pick: Penn State