If Tuesday night’s game between Illinois and Nebraska — when the 25th-ranked Fighting Illini needed to scratch and claw its way past a 6-11 Cornhuskers team — was any indication, Big Ten basketball fans better get ready to be entertained this week.
The news wasn’t all positive for the conference as Tuesday’s game between No. 7 Purdue and Michigan was postponed. But as of right now, there will be two Big Ten games on the schedule each day for the rest of the week. Six of those games feature at least one team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Thursday’s game between No. 16 Ohio State and No. 13 Wisconsin could be the one to watch.
Ohio State (+500) came into the season with the third-best odds to win the Big Ten title and looks every bit the part of a conference championship contender. Wisconsin (+3300) was behind seven other teams in the Big Ten title odds coming into the season and the Badgers have certainly been proving to be much better than that.
With Keegan Murray of Iowa, Kofi Cockburn of Illinois and Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis all among the top five scorers in Division I, there will be show-stoppers on display through this week’s slate of Big Ten contests.
Here’s a look at the top games to watch with some information for those who bet online.
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan State Spartans
Date, time, TV: Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
No. 10 Michigan State (13-2, 4-0 Big Ten) has won six of the last seven games against Minnesota (10-3, 1-3) and covered against the college basketball spreads in each of the victories.
Eight straight games between the teams had gone under the total before Michigan State’s 75-67 win at Minnesota earlier this season.
The average margin of victory for Michigan State in its last four home games against Minnesota is 19½ points.
Minnesota has failed to cover in its last four games despite winning two of those two contests.
The total has gone over in five of Michigan State’s last six games
Michigan State has won its last 11 home games
Maryland Terrapins at Northwestern Huskies
Date, time, TV: Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Northwestern is looking for its first sweep of a season series against the Terrapins after winning at Maryland when listed by the Las Vegas odds as a 5½-point underdog on Dec. 5.
Maryland (8-7, 0-4) had won five in a row in the series before Northwestern took the last two meetings and covered in the last three.
The total has gone under in five of Maryland’s last six road games
Northwestern (8-5, 1-3) is 1-4 against the spread in its last five home games and 1-5 in its last six home games against Maryland.
Ohio State Buckeyes at Wisconsin Badgers
Date, time, TV: Thursday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Seven of the last nine meetings between Ohio State and Wisconsin have gone over the total.
The series between the Buckeyes and Badgers has been a streaky one. Wisconsin won three in a row, Ohio State took the next two and Wisconsin bounced back to win three straight. Ohio State has won the last two games by 12 and 18 points.
No. 16 Ohio State (10-3, 4-1) is looking to cover in back-to-back games for just the second time this season
The last five games have gone over the total for No. 13 Wisconsin (13-2, 4-1). The game features national player of the year candidates EJ Liddell of Ohio State and Johnny Davis of Wisconsin.
Indiana Hoosiers at Iowa Hawkeyes
Date, time, TV: Thursday, 9 p.m. ET FS1
Indiana has covered in seven of the last eight games against Iowa and has won six of those games.
Indiana (12-3, 3-2) has won five of the last seven games played at Iowa.
The Hoosiers have won five of their last six games and have covered in each of the wins
Four of Iowa’s last five games finished over the total.
Indiana will try to slow down Keegan Murray, the nation’s leading scorer, but the best results for Iowa 11-4, 1-3) have come when Murray’s teammates get more involved offensively.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Purdue Boilermakers
Date, time, TV: Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Purdue has won seven of the last nine games against Nebraska and only two of those nine meetings were decided by single digits.
Nebraska’s last win at Purdue came in 2013
Nebraska (6-11, 0-3) has lost nine of its last 10 games, although it has covered in four of the last five.
No. 7 Purdue (13-2, 2-2) has failed to cover in seven of its last eight games despite going 6-2 during that stretch. With No. 1 Baylor and No. 5 Southern California knocked from the undefeated ranks on Tuesday, there is a chance for Purdue to move back up the Associated Press Top 25 poll rankings if the Boilermakers take care of business.
Michigan Wolverines at Illinois Fighting Illini
Date, time, TV: Friday, 9 p.m. ET, FS1
Illinois (12-3, 5-0) has won the last three meetings against Michigan (7-6, 1-3), with all three games going under the total. The Wolverines had won six of the previous seven contests.
The teams have split the last six games played at Illinois, although Michigan is just 1-3 on the road this season.
Five of Michigan’s last six games have gone over the total, with the Wolverines 2-3 in the games that went over the total. Meanwhile, eight straight Illinois games had gone over the total before wins over Minnesota and Maryland went under the total
Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan State Spartans
Date, time, TV: Saturday, Noon ET, Big Ten Network
Michigan State has dominated the series, beating Northwestern 13 of the last 14 times and covering in nine of those games.
Northwestern’s last win at Michigan State came in 2009 as 12-point underdogs.
The Spartans are 4-2 against the spread in its last six games while the total has gone over in four of Northwestern’s last six games.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Maryland Terrapins
Date, time, TV: Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Rutgers (9-6, 3-2) has won two of the last three meetings with Maryland. The Scarlet Knights’ win in 2020 snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Terrapins
Three of the last four games in the series have gone over the total.
Maryland is 5-11 in its last 16 games against the spread.
Rutgers is 0-5 on the road and the Scarlet Knights never led during Tuesday’s 66-49 loss at Penn State.
Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio State Buckeyes
Date, time, TV: Sunday, Noon ET, Big Ten Network
The last six games between Penn State and Ohio State have gone over the total.
Ohio State has won five of the last six meetings, with only one of the last five being decided by less than 10 points
Ohio State is one of two Big Ten teams still undefeated at home while Penn State (8-6, 3-3) is only 1-2 in true road games.
Sam Sessoms came off the bench to score 17 points in the Nittany Lions’ win over Rutgers on Tuesday.
Sam was COOKIN last night ♨️
— Penn State Men’s Basketball (@PennStateMBB) January 12, 2022
Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Date, time, TV: Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Iowa has topped Minnesota three times in the last four meetings and covered in all three of the victories
Three of the last four games between the Golden Gophers and Hawkeyes went under the total
Four of the Golden Gophers’ last six games went over the total.
Iowa has lost its last three road games