The Big Ten has two games on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The biggest will be a rivalry battle between Michigan and Ohio State in Ann Arbor. Iowa nad Minnesota will meet later on.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines
- Time/TV: 12:00 PM ET (FOX)
- KenPom Spread: Ohio State by 1
For much of the last decade, this has been one of the better regular season games for the Big Ten. Two rivals battling it out for position near the top of the conference standings. Some of the more memorable meetings include matchups during the 2012-’13 season with Trey Burke and Aaron Craft and the meetings in the 2020-’21 COVID-19 season, when they had an epic duel in Columbus and a rematch in Indianapolis in the postseason.
Unfortunately, this one comes with less fanfare. Michigan has struggled for much of the season and enters Monday’s matchup with a 6-10 overall record. And while Ohio State has fared much better, the Buckeyes are only 2-3 in league play and 42nd on KenPom. In many ways, this one is more about pride than anything else.
The key for Ohio State in this one will be slowing down Dug McDaniel in the backcourt. McDaniel has an odd suspension ongoing, but is expected to play on Monday. He eats up a massive amount of Michigan’s possessions. If Bruce Thornton holds up, Michigan is going to have a really hard time upsetting the Buckeyes. Jamison Battle should also have a big advantage on the wing, at least on the offensive side of the floor. If Battle can play up to his typical standard, Ohio State should be in good shape.
For Michigan, the team needs most of the traditional things for an upset, i.e., good perimeter shooting, some key turnovers, and clutch free throw shooting. Unfortunately, those have all been issues for the Wolverines this season. Expect a comfortable win for Ohio State to help build its NCAA resume.
- Pick: Ohio State
-Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Time/TV: 6:00 PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Iowa by 1
This is expected to be another close one on Monday, at least according to the numbers. Iowa enters coming off arguably its best week of play of the season while Minnesota is trying to rebound from a tough loss to Indiana on Friday. This is the first of two meetings between these teams this season.
Much of this one will hinge on Dawson Garcia. Iowa’s offense is going to do enough to keep the Hawkeyes in this one, but can Garcia score enough down low to keep pace? While Owen Freeman isn’t an elite defensive player, he’s been showing some encouraging signs over the last few weeks. Look for Freeman to be the difference. If Garcia is uncomfortable, it’s hard to see Minnesota grabbing the win.
- Pick: Iowa
Picks Record This Season: 62-20