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3/19 Big Ten NCAA Tournament Preview: Round of 32 Continues

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Today two Big Ten teams are set to play with the conference looking at the very real possibility of not having a single team make it past the opening weekend. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.

#7 Michigan State Spartans vs #2 Marquette Golden Eagles

  • Time/TV: 5:15 PM ET CBS
  • Line: Marquette -2.5

In the first Big Ten game today the Spartans will face off against Marquette. Marquette has played two Big Ten teams this season, losing to Purdue and Wisconsin in the first month of the season. Since that Wisconsin loss the Golden Eagles have gone 23-3 on their way to winning the Big East and earning a 2 seed.

Michigan State’s recent offensive explosion only partially carried over in the opening round, with Michigan State shooting 48.1% from the field but only hitting five threes and having to rely on a 25-8 free throw advantage (while hitting only 60% of said free throws) in a win against USC.

If Michigan State wants to make it to the next weekend they’ll need their offense to keep rolling as their opponent today ranks in the top ten offensively per KenPom. The offense has started to slow down a bit the last couple of games and that doesn’t fare well heading up against arguably one of the hottest teams in the country. This game will likely play out more like a Big Ten slugfest, but Marquette should find a way to do just enough to sneak out a win.

Pick: Marquette

#4 Indiana Hoosiers vs #5 Miami Hurricanes

  • Time/TV: 8:40 PM ET TNT
  • Line: Indiana -2.0

In the second game involving a Big Ten team the Hoosiers will face off against Miami. Indiana closed out the season on a roller coaster ride that included a blowout loss to Iowa, a no-show in the Big Ten tourney against Penn State, 15 point loss to Michigan State and a narrow victory against Michigan. Of course they also managed to knock off three tourney teams, showing the potential Indiana has. They didn’t exactly light the world on fire against Kent State, but they managed to win when everything was said and done.

Their opponent is a Miami team that has gone 10-2 the last 12 and outside of a dreadful loss to Florida State, has looked good down the stretch. A top 15 offense per KenPom, Miami should be able to score plenty of points. Their defense has been a weak point all year, so Indiana will need a more rounded approach from their team like in the opening round. We all know Trayce Jackson-Davis is going to cook, but Indiana will need solid performances from Race Thompson and Jalen Hood-Schifino if they want to keep pace with the Hurricanes.

Taking that into consideration we’re right back to the main talking point for Indiana basically all season...will the rest of the team step up? They’ve done so plenty of times this season while faceplanting more often then most IU fans would prefer. Any chance of winning today will require Indiana to see solid performances from all of their starters and just not Jackson-Davis and/or Hood-Schifino.

Miami continues their recent surge and keeps the Big Ten from getting to the Sweet 16.

Pick: Miami