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12/10 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Iowa Set to Host Michigan

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a triple header set for today, with a pair of Big Ten games and one non-conference matchup. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.

Game of the Day

Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 4:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Iowa -4.5

In the marquee game today two disappointing teams look to get things turned around.

In one corner is a Michigan team that has gone 1-5 over their past six games, including losses to Long Beach State and a conference opening loss at home to Indiana. Michigan hasn’t looked particularly good and without a quick turnaround this could be a long season. Iowa is also in an interesting spot because while none of the four teams they lost to were bad in anyway, Iowa looked pretty bad in all four defeats.

Iowa is known for being good offensively so it’s somewhat alarming in their last three losses they’ve scored only 67, 68 and 65 points. Fran McCaffery’s teams don’t typically play defense and if Iowa can’t get rolling offensively it’s going to be a long winter. The Hawkeyes have some guys that can score, but no one has seemingly emerged as the leader and there isn’t enough consistency. If the offense isn’t rolling Iowa is beatable by almost anyone in the league with their defensive issues.

Michigan has seen flashes from Dug McDaniel but needs him to be more consistent down the stretch. In their loss to Indiana McDaniel shot only 3 of 14 from the field and missed all four three pointers. Forward Oliver Nkamhoua has been pretty good so far, but there hasn’t been much else there offensively.

Iowa only gets the slight edge because today’s game is on their home court. Each team is desperately in need of a win and it remains to be seen if Michigan has enough firepower to take advantage of Iowa’s defense.

Pick: Iowa

The Rest

Detroit Mercy Titans at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 2:00 PM ET BTN Plus
  • Line: Northwestern -24.5

In the first game today Northwestern is set to host a winless Detroit Mercy squad.

The Titans are 0-9 so far this year and while they have a few close losses (including a one point loss at Ole Miss), it’s been a rough start to the season. Jayden Stone is pacing the team with 21.3 points per game, while Marcus Tankersley is the only other play reaching double figures. Detroit is averaging 14 turnovers per game, only 61.6 points per game and a relatively poor 29.1% from three and 65.6% from the line.

This is the first Northwestern game since last weekend and the first of three pushovers with Chicago State and DePaul up next this week. The Wildcats are sitting at 6-1 and are coming off of their two best offensive performances. Boo Buie has looked good and while the frontcourt has been underwhelming, there’s no reason to think the Wildcats will have any issues here.

Pick: Northwestern

Michigan State Spartans at Nebraska Cornhuskers

The late game today is one both teams need heading towards 2024.

Michigan State got off to a rough start when they unexpectedly lost in their season opener to James Madison. Tom Izzo has normally scheduled up and that has led to some slow starts, so a 4-4 opening isn’t that crazy (especially when you realize the last three losses have came to Duke, Arizona and Wisconsin). Of course that also means State has no quality wins outside of maybe Butler and a loss today could be followed up with a loss to Baylor next week that would leave the Spartans at 4-6 and 0-2 in conference play. Izzo needs to stop the bleeding as soon as possible.

Nebraska was 7-0 but that was based on a weak schedule. The 29 point home loss to Creighton wasn’t pretty but not completely unexpected. Blowing a double digit halftime lead against a bad Minnesota squad without their best player was unexpected, however, and spoiled a chance to start league play off with a win.

The Cornhuskers are only shooting 31.6% from three and the offense has slowed a bit when their opposition improves. There are definitely some pieces here, but it looks like the success through the first seven was based more on the laughable strength of schedule. Of course the Spartans have shot even worse from three (27.5%) and haven’t excelled offensively, partially due to playing a much more difficult schedule.

Michigan State is the more talented team and Nebraska’s 29 point loss at Creighton shows they don’t have a particularly massive homecourt advantage. Look for the Spartans to add to Nebraska’s recent misery.

Pick: Michigan State