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3/5 Big Ten Preview: Michigan at Indiana

Preview all of Sunday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has a loaded slate on Sunday, as the league wraps up the 2022-’23 regular season. It figures to be a massive day from top to bottom as seeding is set for this year’s Big Ten Tournament.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-Michigan Wolverines at No. 15 Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 4:30 PM ET (CBS)
  • KenPom Spread: Indiana by 5

Just over three weeks ago, Indiana traveled to Ann Arbor to face off against the Wolverines. The game would be highly competitive, with Michigan controlling early and Indiana clawing back thereafter. Ultimately, the game as decided by a single point in a contest that easily could have gone either way. It was a crushing blow to Michigan’s postseason hopes.

On Sunday, the teams will meet again. And for the second time this season, Michigan will hope to leverage an upset over Indiana to build its NCAA hopes. It figures to be another even matchup, though Indiana will have home court on its side this time around.

The battle to watch will be upfront between Hunter Dickinson and Trayce Jackson-Davis. They’re two of the better big men in the nation and should put on quite a show in this one. Jackson-Davis went off in the first meeting, finishing with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Dickinson had 16 points and seven rebounds. Whoever performs better here could easily determine the outcome.

Indiana will also hope Jalen Hood-Schifino keeps up his recent play and exposes what has often been an underwhelming defensive backcourt for the Wolverines. Dug McDaniel and Kobe Bufkin will try and slow down the talented Hoosier freshman. Expect a lot of scoring from both sides in that battle.

All told, Michigan has enough talent and desperation to keep this thing competitive. However, Indiana’s simply a better team. And with Indiana’s loss to Iowa earlier this week, the Hoosiers are going to be motivated to come out on top in this one.

  • Pick: Indiana

The Rest:

-No. 21 Maryland Terrapins at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 12:00 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State by 1

Before the season started, few would have expected Penn State to enter the final day of the regular season with postseason implications on the line. However, that’s the case here as Penn State will hope to beat Maryland in a game that could determine whether the Nittany Lions make the cut for the NCAA Tournament. The Terps will also be motivated to grab a vital win for Big Ten and NCAA Tournament seeding.

For both teams, the key will be winning the backcourt matchup. Jalen Pickett has been excellent for Penn State so far this season and Jahmir Young has done work for the Terps as well. They also both dominate usage for their respective sides. In short, their teams live and die with their success, so how each plays is crucial.

Overall, this figures to be a game decided by home court. Both sides have been atrocious away from home, so this projects as a Penn State win.

  • Pick: Penn State

-Illinois Fighting Illini at No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 12:30 PM ET (FOX)
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue by 9

This game decided the Big Ten title last year and nearly did the same this time around. However, a narrow Purdue win over Wisconsin on Thursday gave the Boilers the program’s first outright Big Ten title since 2017. Obviously, it was a tremendous achievement for Matt Painter, Zach Edey, and the entire Boilermaker squad.

Still, while this game lost some sizzle thanks to Purdue’s win over Wisconsin, there’s still plenty of intrigue here. Both teams are coming off quality wins on Thursday and hoping to take some momentum into Chicago. Like most of Purdue’s games, things will be decided down low as Illinois tries to slow down Edey. Few teams have done it successfully, but Illinois showed it can stop elite big men earlier this week against Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson. Fans will hope Coleman Hawkins can hold up against Edey.

Illinois will also be hoping guard Jayden Epps returns to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game against Michigan. The Illini will certainly need him against a young, but feisty Purdue backcourt.

Still, even if there are reasons for hope for Illinois, it’s hard to see the squad going on the road and winning in Mackey on Senior Night.

  • Pick: Purdue

-Nebaska Cornhuskers at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 2:00 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Iowa by 10

This figures to be a fun rivalry games for both sides and quietly puts two of the hotter Big Ten teams against one another. Nebraska enters the game having won five of the team’s last seven games and Iowa is coming off a massive win over Indiana and has won 7 of the team’s last 10 games. For Nebraska, this one could very well determine whether the Huskers go to the NIT. Iowa will be hoping to bolster its NCAA resume and get revenge after a loss in Lincoln in December.

The matchup here will be on the wing. Nebraska completely destroyed Iowa’s offense in the first meeting, but the Hawkeyes are playing significantly better now. Can the Huskers hold up against Kris Murray and Connor McCaffery there? They’ve torched plenty of teams lately, so Nebraska will have its work cut out. It’s why Iowa is the reasonable pick here.

  • Pick: Iowa

-Northwestern Wildcats at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 7:30 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Rutgers by 5

A few weeks ago, these were two of the hotter teams in the country. Northwestern had knocked off multiple marquee opponents and Rutgers was quickly moving toward another NCAA Tournament appearance. Unfortunately, that momentum didn’t hold. Northwestern has now lost three straight and Rutgers is coming off an embarrassing loss to Minnesota on Thursday night. The Wildcats remain a safe bet for the NCAAs, but Rutgers now finds itself with some work to do.

The game itself will likely play out like the first meeting in early January. It’s going to be a defensive slugfest that will come down to a few 50-50 balls and some outside shots. A lot will depend on Cam Spencer and Boo Buie. Both are going to get high usage and are going to attempt some questionable looks. The question is who makes more of their “prayer” shots. That’s probably going to determine who wins this one. All told, Rutgers seems more likely to edge things out.

  • Pick: Rutgers

-Wisconsin Badgers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 7:30 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin by 7

While this game puts two rivals against each other, there isn’t a ton of intrigue in this one otherwise. Wisconsin enters as a significant favorite with a spot on the NCAA bubble on the line and should cruise to an easy win. Minnesota has shown some fight here or there, but the Badgers are clearly the superior squad.

If Minnesota is going to keep things close, it’s going to take quite an effort from the Gophers offensively. Wisconsin boasts one of the league’s best defensive groups and they should be well equipped for this matchup. We’ll see if Jamison Battle can surprise. Otherwise, this looks like a Wisconsin win.

  • Pick: Wisconsin


Picks Record: 89-39-0