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12/30 Big Ten Preview: Indiana State at Michigan State

A Bird vs. Magic rematch highlights today’s Big Ten action.

Oakland v Michigan State Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

As the nonconference slate draws to a close and league play appears ever closer on the horizon, the Big Ten still has a few interesting games left on the schedule.

Multiple teams have dropped buy games while signature wins are few and far between among conference members. It’s going to be an interesting season in the league for postseason implications alone.

Let’s get into it.


Game of the Day

Indiana State Sycamores at Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 2 p.m. on FS1
  • KenPom Spread: Spartans by 9

This is one of the more interesting games in the entirety of the conference’s nonconference slate.

For the sake of storylines, Magic Johnson’s Spartans bested Larry Bird’s Sycamores back in 1979 in one of the most-watched basketball broadcasts in the history of the sport. Both went on to duel in the NBA, but the two programs haven’t met until now.

On top of that, Indiana State is legit this year. The Sycamores are the class of the Missouri Valley, led by versatile big man Robbie Avila and third year head coach Josh Schertz, Indiana State has one of the more efficient offenses in the country.

This isn’t a game that Michigan State can afford to take lightly, lest they allow Indiana State revenge after all these years. I’m going with the storyline.

  • Pick; Indiana State

The Rest

Stonehill Skyhawks at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: Noon on Big Ten Network
  • KenPom Spread: Scarlet Knights by 24

Stonehill is one of the worst teams in the country, by far. The Skyhawks have just two wins to their name on the season. Nothing to worry about, ideally.

Rutgers has been the usual stout defensive unit but the offense has taken a clear step back without Paul Mulcahy and Cam Spencer around. This game should give the bench some valuable minutes before the conference slate, that’s it.

  • Pick: Rutgers

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

  • Time/TV: 7 p.m. on FOX
  • KenPom Spread: Buckeyes by 11

Ohio State is in the midst of a comeback year after a disappointing finish in 2021-22. The Buckeyes are a better all-around unit and have just two losses, against Texas A&M and Penn State.

Latter result strange as it may be, Ohio State is 2-0 since with wins over a struggling UCLA squad and New Orleans. West Virginia presents different issues.

The program has been reeling throughout the offseason since the firing of Bob Huggins following a DUI arrest. The Mountaineers have struggled under interim Josh Eilert with two-time transfer waivers having been up in the air throughout the season.

It’s a shot at another Power Six win for Ohio State, one I think they get with ease.

  • Pick: Ohio State