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1/23 Big Ten basketball preview: Ohio State at Nebraska

Previewing Tuesday’s Big Ten action.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s a race at the top between Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue for the 2024 Big Ten title. But the teams at the middle and bottom of the standings still have something left to play for.

Two will do so this evening:

Ohio State Buckeyes at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 7 p.m. on Peacock
  • KenPom Spread: Cornhuskers by 2

This is more compelling than the conference title race, in my opinion.

Nebraska needs to add something other than that Purdue win to its March Madness resume. Ohio State needs a road win for the first time in over a year by the way if Chris Holtmann wants to feel good about his job status.

The Buckeyes have lost multiple questionable games after a strong start to the season, not unlike last year’s winter collapse. This has become a trend under Holtmann and one he desperately needs to reverse.

As for Nebraska? Keep winning games and the committee will have more than one thing to look at on your resume.

  • Pick: Nebraska

Wisconsin Badgers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 7 p.m. on BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Badgers by 6

Matchups at the top of the standings don’t win Big Ten titles. These do.

The team that emerges as conference champion will do so because it was able to get up and win the snoozers as well as those big games. That’s what Purdue did last year, taking care of business.

Wisconsin already has a big misstep against Penn State. Minnesota is a uniquely weird environment in which odd, unexplainable things seem to happen to the road team. And this is a better Gophers team than last year, forget about the record.

Ben Johnson needs to put something together this season to have a compelling case for more time in the Barn. If you ask me he’s already earned it from a style standpoint. But at some point you just have to win games.

  • Pick: Minnesota

Michigan Wolverines at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 9 p.m. on Peacock
  • KenPom Spread: Boilermakers by 17

Michigan is desolate. Juwan Howard is almost certainly being shown the door once the season ends and there isn’t much he can do. Dug McDaniel has the weirdest suspension of all time, road games only.

It’s a disaster in Ann Arbor. Red-hot seat.

Purdue is Purdue. They destroy teams like this one.

  • Pick: Purdue