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1/12 Big Ten Preview: Iowa Set to Host Michigan

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

There are two games this evening, with Michigan traveling to Iowa and Ohio State set to host Minnesota. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.

Game of the Night

Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET ESPN2
  • Line: Iowa -4.0

Michigan has fell on hard times, going 2-3 over their past five games. Even with a 7-3 start to the season, things have looked excessively bleak when you remember the team struggled to win against schools such as Eastern Michigan, Ohio, Jackson State and Lipscomb. Of course the loss to Central Michigan was the Wolverines (likely) bottoming out, immediately followed by a blowout win over Maryland and ten point win against Penn State. This weekend they couldn’t get the offense going and lost to Michigan State, their first loss in conference play.

While their overall record is rough at 9-6, they’re still sitting at 3-1 and positioned nicely in conference play. Their opponent is an Iowa team that started 0-3 in conference play but has won their past two leagues games, even if one was under somewhat dubious circumstances thanks to an officiating blunder against Indiana.

Iowa’s gotten their offense up and running, important because they don’t play much defense and there’s been no signs of that changing at all this season. They do get somewhat of a benefit playing against a Michigan team that relies heavily on two players (Hunter Dickinson and Jett Howard), with the Wolverines needing more production from the rest of their roster. Iowa got 22 points from Payton Sandfort in their win at Rutgers and his emergence alongside Kris Murray and Filip Rebraca rounds out a team that finds plenty of ways to score.

This would definitely be a bounce back game for Michigan in years past, but the juries still out if a beaten down Wolverines squad will make a run down the stretch and emerge as a viable postseason team like they have in years past. Iowa has stopped the bleeding, but a loss to open up a three game homestand is the last thing they want to see happen.

Ultimately it’ll likely come down to if Michigan can find some offensive production outside of Dickinson and Howard. If they can they should find themselves in position to land an upset, otherwise Iowa makes it three in a row.

Pick: Iowa

The Rest

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET FS1
  • Line: Ohio State -15.0

In the first game tonight Ohio State hosts Minnesota in a game they badly need to win. The Buckeyes have lost their last two games, including a tough road loss to Maryland. Last week dropped them to 2-2 in the Big Ten and with four of their next five conference games taking place on the road, a misstep tonight would be catastrophic.

The Gophers have struggled down the stretch, going 2-7 their last nine games. They’ve kept things close the past couple games, losing at Wisconsin by three and to Nebraska in overtime by two, but have been largely overmatched all season. While their frontcourt has been alright, led by Dawson Garcia and Jamison Battle, their backcourt has been missing in action most of the season.

Ohio State has a talent advantage in both the frontcourt and backcourt. Freshman Brice Sensabaugh has also been fantastic, leading Ohio State in scoring the past six games. With tonight’s game taking place in Columbus there’s no reason the Buckeyes should lose.

Pick: Ohio State