clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

12/21 Big Ten Basketball Preview: #1 Purdue Back In Action

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

There are six games tonight with the Big Ten set to host a number of cupcakes across BTN and Peacock. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.

Game of the Night

Jacksonville at #1 Purdue

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Purdue -30

In the first game of a BTN doubleheader the Boilermakers are set to host a Jacksonville team coming in at 273rd in the KenPom ratings. Purdue enters as a 30 point favorite and the only potential reason to think this game could be somewhat close is if Purdue is checked out over winter break with Christmas rapidly approaching. Even if Purdue overlooks their opponent tonight, it’s hard to see them finding a way to actually lose this game tonight.

The Dolphins are committing over 14 turnovers per game and only shooting 30.8% from three. Last time out no one above 6’9” played for Jacksonville, likely set to put them at a considerably height disadvantage.

Purdue is back at the top of the ratings after knocking off then top ranked Arizona this weekend. Zach Edey has been his usual self, while Purdue has gotten a lot out of guards Braden Smith and and Fletcher Loyer. Purdue could use some more consistency from Lance Jones and maybe some more production in the frontcourt outside of Edey, but they have enough firepower to coast to a win tonight.

Pick: Purdue

The Rest

New Orleans at Ohio State

Ohio State bounced back from a surprising loss to Penn State with a win over UCLA. Ohio State also has a win over Alabama and almost knocked off Texas A&M, quietly positioning themselves as one of the better teams in the league. Their last non-conference opponent is West Virginia, so this will be the last cupcake for the Buckeyes. Unless they sleepwalk through tonight with the holidays approaching they should be fine against New Orleans.

Pick: Ohio State

Stony Brook at Michigan State

Michigan State got things turned around last weekend when they blew out a sixth ranked Baylor in their best game of the year by far. They followed that up with a 17 point win over Oakland and will look to close the year with two more mid-major wins. Tonight’s game against a Stony Brook program with a sub-200 KenPom rating should provide State the opportunity to pick up another easy victory. Tyson Walker has had a strong start this year, averaging 20.1 points per game and shooting 38.5% from three. Look for the Spartans to keep rolling and picking up momentum heading into conference play.

Pick: Michigan State

Le Moyne at Penn State

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET Peacock
  • Line: Penn State -19.5

Outside of an improbable win over Ohio State, Penn State has gone 1-6 the past seven games. Of course they’ve been close, with overtime losses to Georgia Tech and Maryland, as well as single digit losses to Butler and Bucknell. Even their two double digit losses were 12 point neutral site losses to a ranked Texas A&M and VCU. Nonetheless they’re sitting at 5-6 and really need to close out the year with a pair of non-conference wins. Thankfully they face off against a Le Moyne school ranked 344th in the KenPom ratings. Penn State has been getting close but incapable of getting over the hump. They should be fine against one of the weakest opponents in the country.

Pick: Penn State

Ball State at Minnesota

  • Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET
  • Line: Minnesota -12

Minnesota will try to make it four in a row tonight if they can knock off Ball State. While there are plenty of issues for the Gophers heading forward, they’ve mainly taken care of business out of conference and Ball State ranks 244th in the KenPom rankings. Minnesota will still likely be without star Dawson Garcia, but they still have enough talent to land a win tonight.

Pick: Minnesota

North Alabama at Indiana

  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Indiana -13.5

In the late game tonight Indiana looks to turn things around after a dreadful one point win over Morehead State on Tuesday. Outside of a close loss to Kansas the Hoosiers have looked pretty awful this year, getting blown out by Auburn and Connecticut and struggling with mid-major after mid-major. Their inability to shoot from three and a backcourt that has underwhelmed has hurt Indiana and could prove problematic heading forward.

Their opponent tonight is a sub-200 North Alabama and on paper Indiana should win easily. Their inability to handle lesser opposition makes this game a bit more interesting but it’s still hard to pick against the Hoosiers.

Pick: Indiana