The Big Ten kicks off today with four afternoon games. The league has been disappointing in the non conference, having dropped to 5th in conference RPI rankings. But, the grind of league play will allow us to separate the B1G's true contenders and pretenders.
Iowa (9-4) at #17 Ohio State (11-2) 1PM, Columbus, OH, ESPN2
The Hawkeyes travel to Columbus to set off their Big Ten season. Iowa has struggled against solid competition, as they are 1-4 versus top 30 teams. Ohio State has looked better overall, but they are 0-2 against the two NCAA Tournament caliber teams they have played so far, albeit versus UNC and Louisville. So, like the Big Ten in general, both of these teams have plenty to prove entering conference play. Prediction: Ohio State 72, Iowa 67
#15 Maryland (12-1) at Michigan State (9-4) 5PM, East Lansing, MI, ESPN2
Maryland has probably been the surprise team in the Big Ten so far. Coach Mark Turgeon had come under fire from many of the Terrapins faithful, but he seems to have answered his critics after a 12-1 start that is tied for the best record in the league. There is also more good news in Terpland, as Dez Wells is back in the line-up after being out with a wrist injury. The Spartans have struggled, for the most part, this season. Their best win to date was versus Marquette and they were beaten at home by Texas Southern ten days ago. This is a huge opportunity for the Spartans to get their first true quality win. Prediction: Michigan State 68, Maryland 67.
Other games of note...
Illinois (10-3) at Michigan (6-5) 3PM, Ann Arbor, MI, ESPN2
Cincinnati (8-3) at NC State (10-3) 4PM, Raleigh, NC, ESPNU
Florida (7-4) at Florida State (7-5) 7PM, Tallahassee, FL, ESPN2
Mississippi (8-3) at Dayton (9-2) 8PM, Dayton, OH, CBSS
Other Top 25 games...
Virginia Tech (8-4) at #22 West Virginia (11-1) 2PM, Morgantown, WV, ESPNU
Long Beach State (4-9) at #4 Louisville (11-1) 4PM, Louisville, KY, ESPN3
Davidson (8-1) at #3 Virginia (11-0) 6PM, Charlottesville, VA, ESPNU
William & Mary (4-4) at #12 North Carolina (9-3) 7PM, Chapel Hill, NC, ESPN3
Hartford (6-5) at #14 Notre Dame (12-1) 7:30PM, South Bend, IN, ESPN3
Norfolk State (6-5) at #25 Baylor (10-1) 8PM, Waco, TX
Kent State (7-3) at #16 Kansas (9-2) 8PM, Lawrence, KS, ESPN3
Carroll at #11 Utah (9-2) 9:30PM, Salt Lake City, UT, P12N