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1/6 Big Ten basketball preview: Nebraska at Wisconsin

The Huskers look to build their tournament resume while the Badgers want to keep rolling.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

We’re still some time away from the league’s standings taking shape and making some sense, but Big Ten play is here and in full swing.

Purdue started out 0-1 but is beginning to separate itself from the pack while other teams could cool off from a hot start. Saturday’s game present some opportunities for multiple teams to get right or establish themselves.

Here’s what to watch:

Game of the Day

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 2:15 p.m. on Big Ten Network
  • KenPom spread: Badgers by 9

This isn’t the primetime game and it’s on BTN rather than a national network. But I assure you this will probably be more interesting than Ohio State-Indiana.

Nebraska is looking to build an NCAA Tournament resume after blowing out Indiana at home and Wisconsin looks leaps and bounds better than last year’s unit after a few key additions in the offseason.

The Huskers play an interesting style and star guard Keisei Tominaga is coming off of one of the best games of his career with 28 points. They take a lot of 3s, especially for a Big Ten unit and are dangerous if they get hot.

Wisconsin looks like an entirely different team after adding AJ Storr, who was dominant at home against Iowa the other night.

If you’re around a TV in the afternoon, it’s one worth having on.

  • Pick: Nebraska

The Rest

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: Noon on Big Ten Network
  • KenPom spread: Hawkeyes by 6

It’s strength on strength in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes search for their first win. Iowa’s fast-paced offense will contend with Rutgers’ typically stout defense.

This one is a great opportunity to get one in the win column for Fran McCaffery. Rutgers’ defense is enough to keep it in games but the Knights just can’t score the ball. I don’t think they’ll be able to score enough to keep up with the Hawks, especially on the road.

It’ll come down to whether or not that defense can stop, not slow down, Iowa’s offense. Slowing down probably won’t be good enough.

  • Pick: Iowa

Ohio State Buckeyes at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 8 p.m. on FOX
  • KenPom spread: Buckeyes by 3

Indiana is reeling a bit after a disappointing road drubbing at the hands of Nebraska and has to contend with Ohio State as a get-right win at home.

If it results in a loss and the Hoosiers move to 2-2 on the year it could be the start of a snowball in Bloomington. The schedule isn’t favorable and things could get pretty ugly pretty quickly.

Ohio State, on the other hand, is 12-2 and looks remarkably better than they did during last season’s disappointing finish. A few offseason additions and development from the backcourt have the Buckeyes looking like a top-half Big Ten team.

The Hoosiers have the advantage in the frontcourt so look for the Bucks to exploit their porous 3-point defense.

  • Pick: Ohio State