The Big Ten has four games on Wednesday and each of the matchups presents as a major challenge. The highlight will be a game between Purdue and Marquette in the afternoon, which could be a potential Elite Eight or Final Four preview.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers vs. No. 4 Marquette Golden Eagles
- Time/TV: 5:00 PM ET (ESPN)
- KenPom Spread: Purdue by 3
It’s been a wild few days in Honolulu so far. Purdue knocked off Gonzaga on Monday and followed it up with a massive win over Tennessee on Tuesday night. The wins pushed Purdue to 5-0 overall and into another marquee matchup on Wednesday against Marquette. Both teams look like Final Four contenders and the winner will likely be ranked No. 1 next Monday, since the Eagles knocked off No. 1 Kansas on Tuesday.
In many ways, Wednesday will be a clash of styles. While Purdue rides with its frontcourt and Zach Edey down low, Marquette uses a more balanced approach and relies significantly on its backcourt to get the job done. It seems likely Edey will punish Oso Ighodaro down low. The question is whether Purdue’s backcourt can do enough to slow down Tyler Kolek and Kam Jones. It’s a major opportunity for Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer to prove they’ve taken steps from last season. Things have been encouraging so far, it’s just whether the team can keep the momentum up.
Expect a tight game that comes down to the final minutes. If Edey and Loyer can deliver, this should be a win for the Boilers. However, expect some drama along the way.
- Pick: Purdue
-Michigan Wolverines vs. Memphis Tigers
- Time/TV: 5:00PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: Memphis by 1
It’s been an inconsistent start for the Wolverines. The team performed well through its first three games, but dropped an egg on Friday, losing at home against Long Beach State. Michigan is now hoping to rebound with a win in the Bahamas against a talented Memphis squad. KenPom projects it as a tossup.
The matchup to watch will be on the wing as David Jones battles against Olivier Nkamhoua. Both have been impressive for their respective sides so far. Whoever performs better could easily win this one. The battle in the frontcourt could also be intriguing. Memphis and Michigan both rotate heavily there. It’s a big opportunity for Tarris Reed to prove his worth. All told, this should be a competitive game, though Memphis seems to have the advantage.
- Pick: Memphis
-Duquesne Dukes at Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Time/TV: 8:00PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Nebraska by 7
This may not be a matchup between name brands, but don’t be fooled — this is a quality game. Both teams are in the top 100 on KenPom and it presents an important opportunity for Nebraska to add a valuable win to its resume.
Duquesne has a solid offense, so the key on Wednesday will be Nebraska’s defense. Slowing down guard Jimmy Clark will be imperative. He’s been lighting it up so far this season and he dominates usage for the Dukes. It’s a chance for players like CJ Wilcher and Brice Williams to get a chance to prove themselves defensively.
- Pick: Nebraska
-Wisconsin Badgers vs. SMU Mustangs
- Time/TV: 8:30PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Wisconsin by 8
The Badgers had a tremendous performance on Tuesday, blowing out Virginia in dominant fashion. The team will now return to action on Wednesday against an SMU squad that looks significantly weaker than the Cavaliers, at least on paper.
Perhaps the lone similarity between Virginia and SMU is that SMU is another squad that relies on aggressive defense. The Mustangs have a pretty good defensive unit and are led by Shuric Phelps on the wing and Keon Ambrose-Hylton down low. Wisconsin should win this game. The key will be another great performance from Steven Crowl, who had a double-double in the win over Virginia on Tuesday.
- Pick: Wisconsin
Picks Record This Season: 28-9