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1/3 Big Ten Preview: Michigan State Set to Host Nebraska

NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Michigan State Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a conference double header tonight on BTN, with Michigan State set to host Nebraska, followed by Minnesota at Wisconsin. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.

Game of the Night

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Michigan State -7.0

It’s early but tonight’s game could be huge for both teams involved.

The Spartans sit at 9-4 and 1-1 in conference play and desperately need a win as their schedules is about to go off the deep end with Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue, Rutgers and Indiana all on deck. A loss here would be a huge blow if the Spartans are going to compete at the top of the conference.

On the other side of the court Nebraska just wrecked Iowa, but at 1-2 and 8-6 overall they still need some wins if they want to make any push in the Big Ten. It’s easy to see that this is probably Fred Hoiberg’s best team here, but there’s still a lot of work needed if the Cornhuskers are going to compete and contend for a potential postseason bid.

Michigan State brings a well rounded offense and defense to the table, though they could use some more consistency on the offensive side of the ball and lack a true playmaker that could get them to the next level. Their opponent is a Nebraska team that has looked solid defensively but once again has a laundry list of offensive deficiencies, including poor shooting from three and the free throw line.

If this game was at Nebraska there might be a chance of another upset, but Michigan State is a tough out at home. The Cornhuskers should be capable of competing tonight but look for Michigan State to pick up a much needed win.

Pick: Michigan State

The Rest

Minnesota Golden Gophers at #14 Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Wisconsin -13.5

In the second game of the night Wisconsin will host rival Minnesota. The Badgers have been a bit up and down and have played in a laundry list of close games this year, but it’s hard to think they’re going to struggle with a considerably overmatched Minnesota.

The Gophers are the last ranked team in the KenPom rankings, coming in just inside the top 200. They’ve bounced back from a five game losing streak by winning their last two, but a three point win over Chicago State doesn’t inspire much hope. Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia are a relatively formidable duo in the frontcourt, but the Gophers don’t have many (if any) playmakers past that outside of some flashes from guard Talon Cooper.

Heading on the road to Madison to face a stingy Badgers defense and it’s hard to see Minnesota being capable of scoring enough points to land the upset. They might play a bit better than their numbers would indicate, but Wisconsin should have little issue picking up another win.

Pick: Wisconsin