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2/22 Big Ten Preview: Michigan State at Iowa, Nebraska at Northwestern

Preview Tuesday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It is a night packed with plenty of action as the Big Ten features four games on the schedule tonight headlined by two games of top-20 teams battling it out.

Let’s take a look at the games.

Game of the Day:

-Michigan State Spartans (18-8, 9-6) at Iowa Hawkeyes (18-8, 8-7)

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM EST (ESPN)
  • TallySight Spread: Iowa -7

The Spartans are in Iowa City tonight for the lone regular season matchup with the Hawkeyes. Michigan State enters the matchup on a two game losing streak while Iowa is coming off a road win at Ohio State. The teams meet for the 134th time in history hoping to ensure better NCAA Tournament seeding.

Michigan State’s offensive woes continue following losses at Penn State and to Illinois last week. MSU needs to focus on its inside defensive presence to prevent easy baskets for the Hawkeyes and keep the game within hope of striking distance. On the flip side of the court, the Spartans need to put a big time emphasis on second chance points. Iowa is a lackluster rebounding team, and even if this version of a Tim Izzo team is less than up to snuff on the glass standard for MSU, a weak Iowa team helps. Penn State and Maryland both helped ensure victories over the Hawkeyes with lots of rebounds while Ohio State managed just 11 on the offensive end and lost at home.

As for Iowa, continue to rely on the three-point shot and Michigan State can’t hope to keep up. The Hawkeyes are a fast paced offense and don’t have to worry about turnovers with the Spartans as MSU struggles to force turnovers on defense. This means Iowa can just focus on high-volume shooting from deep and expect to hit enough shots at home that a lackluster MSU offense can’t hope to match late in the game.

Expect Michigan State to focus on the glass and keep this one close until late. However, the struggling Spartans just won’t be able to find the buckets when needed.

  • Pick: Iowa

The Rest:

-Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-19, 1-14) at Northwestern Wildcats (12-13, 5-11)

  • Time/TV: 8:00 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
  • TallySight Spread: Northwestern -11

The two NUs battle it out tonight once again with Nebraska riding a two-game losing streak to Northwestern’s three. Of course, Northwestern already beat Nebraska 87-63 in Lincoln this season, handing the Huskers a 12th straight Big Ten loss at the time. The main difference between the two teams now is that Northwestern has a path to sit out Wednesday’s first round action in the Big Ten Tournament with a win tonight and Nebraska is for all practical purposes eliminated from that hope.

C.J. Wilcher had 15 points off the bench for Nebraska in the last outing, including three three-pointers. However, NU hit 10 three-pointers as a team in just the first half. Only two Huskers finished in double-figures scoring while three Wildcats did. With home court advantage, this one seems no more unlikely to end with another Nebraska loss.

  • Pick: Northwestern