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1/10 Big Ten Preview: Wisconsin at OSU

Preview all of Wednesday’s Big Ten action.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Big Ten has two games on Wednesday and both have some postseason implications. Northwestern battles Penn State in the early game and a ranked Wisconsin squad travels to face Ohio State later on.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin by 1

For much of this season, Ohio State and Wisconsin have been in similar positions. Both teams entered with underwhelming expectations, but overperformed early and got serious top 25 consideration into December. However, a few missteps have prevented them from getting much discussion among college basketball’s top tier. Wisconsin has fared better, but the gap hasn’t been massive.

That sets up an intriguing meeting between the two on Wednesday. Wisconsin is looking to capitalize on Purdue’s loss on Tuesday and extend its lead in the Big Ten standings. Ohio State is hoping to grab a marquee win and get back on track after a tight loss on the road against Indiana on Saturday.

For Wisconsin, the key here is slowing down Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle in the backcourt. The two account for a massive hunk of Ohio State’s offensive production. If Chucky Hepburn and Max Klesmit can hold up there, it should be a win. Ohio State’s route to victory here is likely converting from deep. The Badgers are an underwhelming three-point team, while the Buckeyes are one of the better groups in the conference. Get hot and a win is certainly possible, especially at home.

All told, expect a tight one. Both teams could easily pull this one out, but Wisconsin seems to be the pick here. The Badgers have simply been more consistent.

  • Pick: Wisconsin

The Rest:

-Northwestern Wildcats at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Northwestern by 2

Both teams enter this one coming off wins. Northwestern knocked off Michigan State at home on Sunday while Penn State beat Michigan in Philly. KenPom has the Wildcats rated rated nearly 60 spots higher than the Nittany Lions, but the game projection looks really close thanks to home court in Penn State’s favor.

Like most games featuring Northwestern, this one will hinge on how Penn State performs against Boo Buie in the backcourt. The Wildcat guard dominates Northwestern’s usage and initiates the offense, so if Penn State can catch him making some mistakes, there’s a chance to pull off the upset. It’s a big one for Ace Baldwin and Kanye Clary.

  • Pick: Northwestern

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Picks Record This Season: 59-19