Zach Edey squaring off with Kofi Cockburn is just one of the enticing individual matchups to watch when Purdue and Illinois meet up on Monday to get the Big Ten Conference’s slate of games off to a rousing start.
A showdown between Michigan State and Wisconsin is set as part of a Big Ten doubleheader airing on FS1 on Friday night.
There will be weeks with more showdowns between the championship contenders, but this week’s schedule is enough to whet the appetite of Big Ten basketball fans.
Definitely keep an eye on Wisconsin, which came into the season with the eighth-best odds to win the Big Ten title but the Badgers enter the week just a game out of first place.
Purdue Boilermakers at Illinois Fighting Illini
- Date, time, TV: Monday, Noon, ET, FOX
This could be rather entertaining as Purdue is second in the Big Ten in scoring at 85.6 points per game while Illinois is third (79.7). The teams also happen to be Nos. 1 and 2 in the conference in scoring margin.
No. 25 Illinois (13-3, 6-0 in the Big Ten) has won the last three meetings with Purdue and covered all three times. The Fighting Illini have won four of the last five games when playing host to Purdue while the Boilermakers haven’t covered at Illinois in eight years.
The last four Purdue games have gone over the total
Illinois is tied with Wisconsin for the longest active winning streak in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini have won their last six games and have covered in eight of the last 10 games
No. 7 Purdue (14-4, 3-2) will play host to Northwestern on Sunday afternoon. The Boilermakers will be looking for their 10th win in a row against Northwestern.
Indiana Hoosiers at Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Date, time, TV: Monday, 6 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Indiana (12-4, 3-3) leads the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing just 62.2 points per game, and also leads the way in field goal percentage defense. Nebraska (6-12, 0-7) is the only Big Ten team to allow more points than it has scored.
Four of the last five games between Indiana and Nebraska have gone over the total.
Indiana has beaten Nebraska five straight times and covered against the college basketball odds in each of the last four contests. The Hoosiers had more than 80 points in four straight meetings before their 68-55 win earlier this season.
Indiana has lost four of the last five games decided by single digits. The Hoosiers are 0-4 on the road and failed to cover in all four losses.
Five of Nebraska’s last six games have gone over the total. The Cornhuskers have lost their last five games, but have covered in three of those losses.
Indiana will return home to face Michigan on Sunday in a game airing on CBS. Michigan has won eight straight matchups with Indiana and has covered in all eight contests.
Maryland Terrapins at Michigan Wolverines
- Date, time, TV: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Michigan leading scorer Hunter Dickinson and senior forward Brandon Johns Jr. missed the loss to Illinois due to COVID-19 protocols, and those who bet online will need to monitor the availability of that duo.
Hunter Dickinson and Brandon Johns Jr. were on the bench for Michigan’s loss at Illinois, but were ruled out before the game.
Juwan Howard explained why as his team continues to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak.https://t.co/8lYB1j1Ppo
— Andrew Kahn (@AndrewKahn) January 15, 2022
Offensive struggles have slowed Maryland in the early portion of the season as the Terrapins (9-8, 1-5) are 11th in the Big Ten with an average of 70.9 points and 13th in field goal percentage.
Michigan (7-7, 1-3) has won seven of the last eight matchups with Maryland and is 4-0 at home during that span.
The last five meetings between the Terrapins and Wolverines have gone over the total.
Maryland has lost four of its last five games, although two of those losses were by five points or less.
Michigan lost three of its last four games and the Wolverines were favored in three of those contests. Five of Michigan’s last seven games have gone over the total.
Wisconsin Badgers at Northwestern Wildcats
- Date, time, TV: Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
No. 13 Wisconsin (14-2, 5-1) is proving to be more than just a one-player team. In a game when leading scorer Johnny Davis missed 14 of his 18 shots, it was Brad Davison and Tyler Wahl combining for 45 points in a win over Ohio State. Davis (+550) has the top odds to win the national player of the year award. Northwestern is coming off a win over nationally ranked Michigan State behind 18 points from Ryan Young.
Wisconsin has won the last six games against Northwestern, including the last three by an average of 16 points. Each of the last three matchups has gone under the total.
The Badgers’ last six games have gone over the total, with Wisconsin winning each of those matchups.
Northwestern (9-6, 2-4) snapped a four-game losing streak with an upset of nationally ranked Michigan State on Saturday. The Wildcats were listed by the Las Vegas odds as 9½-point underdogs and returned home with a two-point win.
Four of Northwestern’s last five games have gone over the total.
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Penn State Nittany Lions
- Date, time, TV: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
With some of the nation’s top scorers in the conference, Minnesota’s Jamison Battle has flown a bit under the radar, but is contributing 18 points per game for the Golden Gophers (10-5, 1-5). He is also leading the Big Ten with an average of 36.9 minutes per game, just ahead of teammate Payton Willis. Penn State’s Jalen Pickett is third at 36.5 minutes per contest.
Six of the last seven games between Minnesota and Penn State (8-7, 3-4) have gone over the total.
Penn State has won the last two meetings but Minnesota took the previous five and covered in four of them.
The Nittany Lions will also travel to face Iowa and the nation’s second-leading scorer, Keegan Murray, on Saturday. Iowa has won three of the last four games against Penn State.
Iowa Hawkeyes at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
- Date, time, TV: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Keegan Murray is no longer the nation’s leading scorer, but the Iowa sophomore has scored more than 20 points in five of his last six games. Speaking of scoring prowess, Ron Harper Jr. had 31 points to lead Rutgers past Maryland the last time out for the first road win for the Scarlet Knights.
Iowa (13-4, 3-3) has won the last three matchups with Rutgers, although the Scarlet Knights have covered in two of the last three meetings, both decided by five points or less.
It took a pair of Jordan Bohannon free throws with 20 seconds to play, but Sunday’s matchup against Minnesota was the fifth straight Iowa game to go over the total. It was also the fifth time in the last seven games that Iowa (13-4, 3-3) covered.
Rutgers (10-6, 4-2) has won five of the last six games and the Scarlet Knights have covered in four of the last five.
Purdue Boilermakers at Indiana Hoosiers
Date, time, TV: Thursday,7:30 p.m. ET, FS1
Coming off a game against Illinois, it won’t get much easier for Purdue as the Boilermakers travel to meet one of the nation’s top defensive teams. Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis is the Big Ten leader with an average of 3.1 blocked shots per game.
One of the key contributors for Purdue is the play of Sasha Stefanovic, who is the conference leader in assist/turnover ratio and is also one of the four players in the Big Ten with at least 40 three-pointers.
Purdue has defeated Indiana nine straight times and has covered in the last four. The Boilermakers have won five straight games at Indiana, although three were decided by seven points or less.
Purdue is 1-3 against the spread in road games . Indiana failed to cover in each of its last six games a season ago. The streak hit seven after the Hoosiers’ season opener against Eastern Michigan. Since then, Indiana hasn’t failed to cover in back-to-back games.
Illinois Fighting Illini at Maryland Terrapins
- Date, time, TV: Friday, 7 p.m. ET, FS1
Just a piece of advice: Don’t send Illinois’ Alfonso Plummer to the foul line as he is 46 of 47 on free throws. Maryland has a pretty good shooter of its own as Eric Ayala leads all Big Ten players with 44 three-pointers.
Illinois snapped a three-game losing streak to Maryland with a 12-point win at home earlier this month. It was just the second win in the series for Illinois in the last nine matchups. Three of the last four games between the teams went under the total.
Nine of the last 11 Illinois games have gone over the total while four of the last six Maryland games have gone over the total.
Maryland has lost five of the last six games decided by eight points or less.
Michigan State Spartans at Wisconsin Badgers
- Date, time, TV: Friday, 9 p.m. ET, FS1
Wisconsin has committed the fewest turnovers per game (8.2) while Michigan State has turned the ball over more than any other conference team, but the 10th-ranked Spartans also are among the conference leaders in assists.
Wisconsin has won the last two meetings against Michigan State after the Spartans won the previous eight matchups. Five of the last seven matchups between the Spartans (14-3, 5-1) and Badgers were decided by less than 10 points.
Wisconsin 8-1 at home, including 3-0 against Big Ten opponents.
Michigan State has failed to cover in four of the last five games.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio State Buckeyes
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, TBD
Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell is averaging 26 points in his last two outings while Nebraska’s Alonzo Verge Jr. is second in the Big Ten with an average of 5.6 assists per game.
The Buckeyes have won the last six meetings with Nebraska, although it is just 3-3 against the spread over that stretch.
Seven of the last nine matchups between Nebraska and Ohio State have gone under the total.
Nebraska is 0-5 on the road and failed to cover in all five of those games
Ohio State is 1-4 against the spread in its last five games.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Date, time, TV: Saturday, Noon ET, Big Ten Network
This has a chance to be one of the most competitive of the conference games this week considering that Rutgers ranks 10th and Minnesota 11th in the Big Ten in scoring margin.
Rutgers has defeated Minnesota four straight times and covered in three of those four games. The last time three straight games between the teams went over the total came from 2015-16.
Rutgers is just 1-5 on the road while Minnesota is 5-3 at home.