There are three games tonight in the Big Ten as the end of the regular season nears. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.
Game of the Night
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET FS1
- Line: Purdue -4.0
In the late game tonight Purdue heads to Wisconsin for a game that would more or less seal the deal for the Badgers if they could land the upset. Wisconsin lost to Michigan last time out in a game they would have likely won if they had fouled Hunter Dickinson up three with just over a second left and now their status on the right side of the bubble has became a bit murkier. A season closing trip to Minnesota won’t do much of anything, either, so a loss tonight would mean Wisconsin would need to take care of business in the Big Ten Tournament if they want to reach the tourney.
Purdue has struggled a bit as of late, but that has mainly been due to issues with their backcourt more than anything else. Playing against an incredibly slow tempo Badgers it’s safe to say they shouldn’t get into a shootout tonight. The two teams style of play will likely allow Purdue to play to their style and feed Zach Edey inside repeatedly. If Wisconsin can’t find a way to slow down Edey it’s going to be a long night for the Badgers, regardless if Purdue’s backcourt can make shots or not.
If Wisconsin can slow down Edey just enough and force some turnovers they’ll have a chance. But Purdue should be focused after losing to Indiana. Last time Purdue lost to Indiana they rolled past Iowa and dropped almost 90 next time out. They won’t score that many points tonight, but they should be dialed in enough to lock up the conference outright.
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET ESPN
- Line: Illinois -3.5
This might be the biggest game of the night with Michigan currently on the outside looking in and much in need of a win. Both teams are still vying for a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament, but with Michigan’s rough start to the season they still need a few wins if they want to make it to the NCAA Tournament. That won’t be an easy task with their final two games on the road, though tonight and Indiana do both provide opportunities for quality victories.
They have to win these games, though. Michigan has heated up down the stretch but the offense has been a bit hit or miss the past couple weeks. Kobe Bufkin and Dug McCaniel have played better as of late, but Jett Howard’s status heading in tonight still hasn’t been confirmed just yet.
Illinois came out flat at Ohio State last weekend and suffered a brutal loss. They’ve had a few of these clunkers this year, most of the time taking place on the road. Illinois hasn’t lost at home since losing to Indiana and have typically played a lot better. With Terrence Shannon Jr. back up and running and a decent surrounding cast of weapons, the Illini should have just enough offensive firepower to take advantage of playing at home.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET FS1
In the first of a Big Ten doubleheader on FS1 Rutgers heads to Minnesota in a must win game for the Scarlet Knights. With the absolute massive log jam at the top of the conference, a loss tonight would likely end any chance of a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament. As for the Gophers, they’ve locked up the 14th seed in the tourney and last place finish in the conference.
The last time these two teams played Minnesota lost at Rutgers by 35 points. They’re in the midst of a 12 game losing streak and have not won since the first half of January. Even if Rutgers hasn’t played as good away from New Jersey, Minnesota’s offense hasn’t been great and the Scarlet Knights bring one of the best defensive units in the league to the table. It might be a bit closer this time around, but Rutgers should have no problem tonight.