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12/6 Big Ten Preview: Nebraska at Minnesota

Preview all of Wednesday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Nebraska Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has a pretty loaded slate on Wednesday, with six teams in action. The biggest matchups will feature four teams in conference play, including an intriguing road trip for Nebraska against Minnesota.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-Nebraska Cornhuskers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Nebraska by 2

It’s been a divergent start for these two teams this season. While Nebraska jumped out to a 7-0 start, the Gophers stumbled to a 5-3 record and have yet to beat a competent opponent. Husker fans are now dreaming about March, while Gopher fans hope the program can get back on track.

That puts plenty of pressure on both sides for Wednesday’s meeting. Nebraska is hoping to keep things rolling and grab an important road win while Minnesota desperately needs the win to keep some level of positivity around the team. It’s hyperbolic to describe it as a “last stand” or a “must win” on other side, but we’re probably not too far removed from that.

The matchup to watch here will be in the frontcourt. Dawson Garcia has carried the Gophers offensively this season and Nebraska’s primary goal needs to be slowing him down. If the Huskers can do that, a win seems likely. We’ll have to see if Rienk Mast and Josiah Allick can make an impact there after a rough last outing. Minnesota’s main goal needs to be producing on defense, as Nebraska enters with impressive offensive numbers.

All told, Nebraska is the better team and has more than enough to get the job done. And after a rough loss against Creighton on Sunday, expect the Huskers to play better.

  • Pick: Nebraska

The Rest:

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

  • Time/TV: 6:00 PM ET (ACC Network)
  • KenPom Spread: Wake Forest by 2

Like Nebraska above, Rutgers is another team who had shown promise this season, but is coming off a rough loss over the weekend. The Scarlet Knights fell short against Illinois and are looking to rebound in this one on the road against a respectable Wake Forest squad.

In many ways, this feels like a good matchup for Rutgers. Wake Forest’s defense is suspect, so the Scarlet Knights and Derek Simpson should be able to get some things going offensively. And Rutgers’ defense is always solid, so it should be able to hold up against an ok, but not great Wake Forest offensive outfit. The key player to slow down is Hunter Sallis in the backcourt. Rutgers will need some big efforts from Simpson and Gavin Griffiths.

  • Pick: Rutgers

-Penn State Nittany Lions at Maryland Terrapins

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Maryland by 8

Heading into the season, this looked like it could be an intriguing meeting between two teams hoping for things in March. Unfortunately, after a rough starts, neither team is in good position to make the Big Dance. Maryland has limped to a 4-4 mark through eight games and Penn State is coming off an atrocious loss to Bucknell.

Given the weekend’s results, this one is absolutely bigger for the Terps. This is a game Maryland cannot lose if it hopes to get an at-large bid in March. Fortunately, Maryland is a much better team than Penn State. As long as Jahmir Young plays (there’s some question about that) and the team can slow down Kanye Clary, it should be a win.

  • Pick: Maryland

-Miami (OH) Red Hawks at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN+)
  • KenPom Spread: Ohio State by 20

There isn’t too much intrigue in this one. Ohio State enters as a sizable favorite and for good reason. Miami (OH) is one of the nation’s weaker teams and the Buckeyes should be in position to roll. The player to watch for the Red Hawks is Darweshi Hunter on the wing. As long as Ohio State holds up against him, it should be a comfortable win.

  • Pick: Ohio State

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Picks Record This Season: 40-14