What a week it was for college sports in the Big Ten. Last week, Michigan finally toppled Ohio State in football. On top of that, the Big Ten Football Championship is scheduled to be played between Michigan and Iowa on Saturday, December 4th. So, while Michigan football finally finds itself in playoff contention, their Big Ten basketball program is having a rough start to their season.
Juwan Howard’s men have fallen twice early in the year to unranked Seton Hall and a good Arizona team that is off to a 6-0 start. On top of that, Ohio State has lost twice as well. Their first loss came about two weeks ago to in-state rival Xavier. Then, after beating Seton Hall, the Buckeyes lost the next game to Florida on a buzzer-beater.
However, there are a couple of Big Ten basketball teams who are impressive every time they play. So, with that being said, let’s talk about Purdue.
Purdue Continues to Impress
The Boilermakers would likely be number one in the country right now had Duke not taken down Gonzaga last Friday night in Las Vegas. Sophomore guard Jaden Ivey has been incredible, averaging 15 points per game (ppg) through six games this year. His stock has surely risen in NBA Draft circles. However, big man Zach Edey might be the most important player on the team. The seven-footer is averaging over 17 ppg and hauling in double-digit rebounds nearly every night. Purdue, right now, is the best Big Ten basketball team and it really isn’t all that close.
Another nice surprise is that, in his first season, Indiana head coach Mike Woodson has his Hoosiers off to an undefeated start. Up in Minnesota, first-year head coach Ben Johnson has his Gophers out to a 5-0 record to start the year. That’s incredibly impressive, considering Marcus Carr transferred to Texas.
Here’s an updated look at the Big Ten basketball standings.
Updated Big Ten College Basketball Standings
|Team||Record (Conference Record)|
|1. Iowa||7-0 (0-0)|
|2. Purdue||6-0 (0-0)|
|3. Indiana||6-0 (0-0)|
|4. Minnesota||5-0 (0-0)|
|5. Northwestern||5-1 (0-0)|
|6. Wisconsin||5-1 (0-0)|
|7. Nebraska||5-2 (0-0)|
|8. Illinois||5-2 (0-0)|
|9. Michigan State||5-2 (0-0)|
|10. Maryland||5-2 (0-0)|
|11. Ohio State||4-2 (0-0)|
|12. Michigan||4-2 (0-0)|
|13. Penn State||4-2 (0-0)|
|14. Rutgers||3-3 (0-0)|
As you can see in the table above, we now have only four Big Ten teams left with no losses. Purdue has been the most impressive team thus far. Matt Painter’s squad has beaten a good North Carolina team this year, along with beating Villanova in Connecticut last week. It’s going to be a huge week ahead for the Big Ten, as this week we have the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Both the number one and number two teams in the country will begin things off tonight in Indiana and Ohio.
Big Ten/ACC Challenge Tuesday Games To Watch
Duke vs Ohio State
Spread: DUKE -2.5 (-110) | OSU +2.5 (-110)
Moneyline: DUKE (-145) | OSU (+120)
Total: 147.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
I, for one, am shocked by how small this spread is. Duke has been dominant so far this season on Coach K’s march to retirement. They’ve taken down Gonzaga and Kentucky early in the season. Paolo Banchero is the best player in the country not named Chet Holmgren, but his teammates are great as well. Trevor Keels is averaging over 12 ppg and nabbing two steals. Forward Wendell Moore has also been a big factor early in the season. He’s putting up nearly 18 ppg. When Duke gets it going, there really isn’t anyone that can stop them with all the firepower they have.
As for Ohio State? Well, this sure could be a disappointing result. E.J. Liddell has been tremendous all season, averaging 22.5 ppg, as an undersized big. Having Kyle Young back in the lineup healthy seems to have helped the Buckeyes through some of their early games. However, after losing to Xavier early and to Florida on a buzzer-beater, the morale can’t be high for the Buckeyes. Duke should win this one by double-digits, even in Columbus. On top of that, the Blue Devils could put a flurry of different defenders on Liddell to slow him down. I don’t see this one going in favor of the Buckeyes.
Prediction: Duke -2.5
Florida State vs Purdue
Spread: FSU +11.5 (-110) | PUR -11.5 (-110)
Moneyline: FSU (+425) | PUR (-600)
Total: 142.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Florida State, in any other year, would probably match up with Purdue very favorably. However, Edey and Ivey have been great for the Boilermakers, so I expect Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton to put as much pressure on the ball, and on entry passes, as he possibly can.
However, I don’t think it will be enough to beat the Boilermakers. Over the years, Hamilton’s teams have always been athletic and long. This year, they are not so much so. However, they still play great defense, and Ivey and Edey will need help tonight if the Boilermakers want to win.
Prediction: Under 142.5