Day Three of the Big Ten Conference tournament is this Friday. We weren’t gifted with any upsets on Thursday, but some of the better teams were challenged by underdogs. We should be in for more exciting matchups ahead of the weekend, and the action should be headlined by the rematch between Purdue and Ohio State. Let’s go over all the things you should look forward to seeing during Thursday’s Big Ten games.
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 8 Maryland, 11:30 a.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Point Spread: Michigan -8.5
Point Total: 133
We missed out on the in-state rivalry everyone was waiting for when Maryland held off Michigan State in the first round, and this matchup probably won’t be as fun. The Wolverines have been waiting for a challenge, but beat the Terrapins by an average of 17.5 points in two regular-season matchups. Michigan is an impressive 16-6 against the spread, while Maryland is 11-15.
The pick: Michigan -8.5
No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 5 Ohio State, 2:00 p.m., Big Ten Network
Point Spread: Ohio State -1.5
Point Total: 142.5
Ohio State hasn’t looked dominant in a while, and limped to a 79-75 win over Minnesota in the first round. The Buckeyes haven’t won by more than five points since they topped Penn State by 10 in mid-February.
Purdue has won five straight games, and won 67-65 in Columbus already this season. Both teams entered Thursday 14-11-1 against the spread, but the Boilermakers have far more momentum.
The pick: Purdue +1.5
Point Spread: Illinois -7.5
Point Total: 137
Illinois has a chance to go all the way. The Illini were one of the top teams Michigan State upset down the stretch in the regular season, but have turned things around with four straight wins since. Star wing Ayo Dosunmu is back healthy, and Illinois is looking to avenge itself after shooting a ridiculous 52% from the field and 60% from three against Rutgers last December, but still losing 91-88. The Illini are hungry and ready for payback. A legitimate title contender shouldn't have a problem covering in this game.
The pick: Illinois -7.5
No. 3 Iowa vs. No. 6 Wisconsin 6, 9:00 p.m., Big Ten Network
Point Spread: Iowa -4
Point Total: 145.5
The Hawkeyes have rattled off three straight wins since falling to Michigan, and have won seven of their last 10 contests. Having the odds-on favorite for the Wooden Award in Luke Garza gives Iowa a major edge, as he’s averaged a double-double against Wisconson during the regular season. Garza’s averages of 25.5 points and 12 boards in two wins make it hard for me to make a compelling case for Wisconsin.
The pick: Iowa -4
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