The Big Ten had an interesting start to the season last night.
Purdue completely controlled Samford for every minute of their game while others like Illinois, Ohio State and Northwestern found themselves trailing to inferior competition.
A few other teams begin their season tonight, and we have the coverage:
Game of the Day
-Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at Indiana Hoosiers
- Time/TV: 6:30 p.m. on BTN
- KenPom Spread: Indiana by 12
Indiana is without Trayce Jackson-Davis for the first time in four years. Mike Woodson and co welcomed in three transfers and three freshmen, with a high-caliber talent in each group.
Kel’el Ware is a former five-star, top-ten recruit who played his freshman year at Oregon before entering the portal. He was knocked for his lack of motor in Eugene and has put trust in Woodson, and himself, to prove the talk wrong and head off to the NBA.
Woodson landed a commitment from five-star freshman wing Mackenzie Mgbako over Kansas this summer, adding another top-ten talent to the roster. Mgbako was one of the best offensive players in the class of 2023 and brings a clean shooting form at the three.
Add in Xavier Johnson as a sixth year point guard, another highly touted sophomore in Malik Reneau, and energy guy Trey Galloway and you have an intriguing group in Bloomington, albeit one that’s gonna take time to mesh.
They welcome a Florida Gulf Coast team coached by Pat Chambers, previously of Penn State. It’ll be a tougher challenge than it appears on paper.
- Pick: Indiana
-Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers at Maryland Terrapins
- Time/TV: 7:00 p.m. on Big Ten Plus
- KenPom Spread: Maryland by 21
Maryland is entering year two of the Kevin Willard era and doing so with an opponent they should beat handily by double digits.
The Terps retain much of the same talent that got them to the tournament in year one. Jahmir Young will be among the league’s best guards and they’ll be expecting a jump from Julian Reese in the frontcourt.
Worth keeping an eye on Reese and what lineups Willard deploys when up by a great many points.
-North Dakota Fighting Hawks at Iowa Hawkeyes
- Time/TV: 8 p.m. on Big Ten Plus
- KenPom Spread: Iowa by 18
What may at first look like a sleeper may prove to be an interesting watch.
Fran McCaffery is out of Murray brothers and Luka Garzas to build his offenses around, but that doesn’t mean you should count the Hawkeyes out. They added some intriguing new pieces in the portal, most of all Ben Krikke from Valpo, and should play the same watchable offense they usually do.
-UNC Ashville Bulldogs at Michigan Wolverines
- Time/TV: 8:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network
- KenPom Spread: Michigan by 12
There’s some cause for intrigue here.
For one, UNC Ashville is no pushover. That’s a decent team that could cause some trouble early if Michigan doesn’t start fast. Secondly, no Juwan Howard. The Wolverines’ head coach is still in recovery from heart surgery but has the exact kind of guy you’d what as an interim: Phil Martelli.
Martelli was a longtime successful coach at St. Joseph’s before being brought aboard in Ann Arbor on Howard’s staff. He’s already coached on an interim basis before and did so in a win over Tom Izzo himself.
It’s one to watch for sure.
- Pick: Michigan