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1/31 Big Ten Preview: Northwestern at Purdue

Preview all of Wednesday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has two games on Wednesday, highlighted by a marquee meeting between Northwestern and Purdue. Penn State and Rutgers will also tangle.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-Northwestern Wildcats at No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Purdue by 14

Just shy of two months ago, Purdue headed west to face Northwestern to open Big Ten play. The Wildcats then shocked the world, knocking off Purdue and establishing themselves as a team of note in the Big Ten. Both teams have scored quality wins since then, including three top 10 wins for the Boilermakers.

The teams will now meet again on Wednesday night. However, this time, it’s Purdue who has the home court advantage. Purdue remains undefeated at home and is looking to get revenge for December’s loss to Northwestern. The Wildcats will hope to get another shocking victory and help secure an NCAA Tournament bid.

The key to this game, as always with Purdue, will be Zach Edey. He’s likely the best player in the country and should be poised for a big night against a decent, but not great Wildcat frontcourt. He had 35 points in the first meeting and it’s hard to think much else will happen this time. The key for Northwestern is preventing him from opening up other parts of the offense and/or getting the team’s bigs in foul trouble. He will dominate, just hope you can slow them down enough to give the guards a chance.

If Northwestern can prevent Edey from absolutely destroying it down low, the game then becomes about how Purdue’s guards defend Boo Buie. He torched them last time and is on track for a heck of a season. Braden Smith and Lance Jones need to do a better job this time around. However, that’s probably reasonable to expect, especially with home court. As such, Purdue’s the pick here.

  • Pick: Purdue

The Rest:

-Penn State Nittany Lions at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Rutgers by 5

Things haven’t gone well for these teams this season, particularly of late. Penn State had a horrific five-game losing streak early in the season, which destroyed much of its hopes, and Rutgers has struggled closing games out against quality opponents. It’s all led to records right around .500 heading into Wednesday night.

Still, these teams are hoping to build momentum heading into March and this offseason and this game will be an important part of that. Expect a battle between Rutgers’ defense and Penn State’s backcourt with Ace Baldwin and Kanye Clary. Rutgers should have the edge here, but if Clary has a big night from deep, Penn State can win this one.

  • Pick: Rutgers

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Picks Record This Season: 64-23