The Big Ten Tournament will open the first round Thursday after two teasers between the bottom four seeds of the conference. Minnesota and Penn State advanced to the second round with Wednesday wins, but there’s still plenty of basketball left. Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin are among the teams that have yet to play.
We’ve got everything you need to know for today’s action from Lucas Oil Stadium. This round of the tournament will air exclusively on the Big Ten Network.
No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Maryland: 11:30 a.m. ET, BTN
Point Spread: Maryland -1
Point Total: 130.5
Michigan State is the dark horse no team wants to play right now. The Spartans appear to have earned a spot in the NCAA tournament after beating Illinois, Ohio State, and Michigan down the stretch in the regular season. The Terps won by 18 over Michigan State during the regular season, but might want to consider hiding its old bay for the rematch. The Spartans will enter Thursday looking to grab whatever they can.
It’s Tom Izzo in March. You know the drill.
The pick: Michigan State +1
Minnesota vs. No. 5 Ohio State: 25 mins. after Game 1, BTN
Point Spread: Ohio State -11.5
Point Total: 146
If a hoard of Gophers knocks the Buckeyes from trees in a forest, will anyone hear it? In this case, people will because fans are allowed at the Big Ten Tournament. Minnesota avenged its regular-season loss to Northwestern in the first round, and will now look to beat Ohio State for the second time this season after thrashing them by 77-60 in The Barn on January 3rd.
Here’s a stat: Minnesota is 14-14, and hasn’t won a road game all year. They also lost seven in a row to finish the Big Ten season. But we’re on a neutral floor today, so... Ski-U-Mah!
The pick: Minnesota +11.5
Point Spread: Rutgers -2.5
Point Total: 130
Indiana fell apart so fast you’d think Tom Crean never left. The Hooisers have lost five straight when any two would have put them in the NCAA Tournament. Now they’ve got to get a few wins in Indianapolis this week to keep playing in Indianapolis next week.
Rutgers is 2-0 against IU this season, and the Hoosiers have played some good teams during their current five-game skid. But they’ve scored less than 60 points in three straight contests. Believe it or not, Trayce Jackson-Davis — Indiana’s leader in points, rebounds, and blocks per game — is just one man. I like the odds of the more well-rounded team covering here, and Rutgers won by 74-63 at The RAC two weeks ago.
The pick: Rutgers -2.5
No. 11 Penn State vs. No. 6 Wisconsin: 25 minutes after Game 3, BTN
Point Spread: Wisconsin -5.5
Point Total: 134
The advanced stats might have Penn State as the unluckiest team in college basketball. The Nittany Lions have the 34th-best adjusted offense and 44th-best adjusted defense according to KenPom... and are just 11-13 this season. They’ve played a brutal schedule, but that’s still some bad breaks.
These teams split during the regular season, and the matchup seems to be pretty even. We’ll take the points here, but for not that many units, and hope PSU can at least slow D’Mitrik Trice down.
PS: How is Myreon Jones only a junior? It seems like he’s been at Penn State since John Amaechi was there.
The pick: Penn State +5.5
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