The Big Ten has two games on Friday, highlighted by a rivalry game in Lincoln between Iowa and Nebraska. Additionally, fans will get to enjoy what’s projected to be a hard fought game between Northwestern and Penn State as well.
Let’s take a look at the slate.
Game of the Day:
-No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes at Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Iowa by 13
This is the second meeting between Iowa and Nebraska this season with the first happening just 12 days ago in Iowa City. That game ended with a double-digit win for the Hawkeyes. And while most are projecting a similar result this time, it’s important not to underestimate the impact of home court advantage in this series.
Obviously, the game has substantially more implications for Iowa than Nebraska right now. The Hawkeyes are trending toward the NCAA Tournament and need to avoid a loss like this, which could very well cost them a full seed line drop in March. The team is also looking to maintain momentum after winning five of the team’s last six games. A loss here is the last thing Iowa needs.
On the court, the game’s likely going to come down to Nebraska’s offense against an improving Iowa defense. The Hawkeyes have often been undone by underwhelming defense in recent years, but the group has taken significant steps in recent weeks. Iowa is going to score, so the key for Nebraska will be playing keep up. We’ll have to wait and see if the Huskers can do that. Otherwise, it’ll be a lopsided win for Iowa.
Also keep an eye on Iowa’s strategy against Bryce McGowens. He’s scored double-digits in nine straight games, including 24 points against the Hawkeyes on February 13th, and is in serious play for Big Ten Freshman of the Year. If Nebraska’s going to be able to hang with Iowa, it seems like McGowens is going to need a big night.
- Pick: Iowa
-Northwestern Wildcats at Penn State Nittany Lions
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Penn State by 5
Like the game above, this is also the second meeting between these teams this season. However, unlike the Iowa-Nebraska matchup, the first meeting here didn’t happen a few days ago. Rather, it took place on January 5th with a four-point win for Penn State. These teams are in vastly different positions than they were then and Wildcat fans will be hoping for a different result this time on the road in State College.
The matchup to watch here will be upfront. Seth Lundy and John Harrar played solid games against the Wildcats last time around and it’ll be up to Pete Nance, Ryan Young, and Robbie Beran to slow them down this time. It won’t be easy, but Northwestern has shown some tough play in tough spots this season. We’ll see if they can pull off the upset here.
- Pick: Penn State