We picked up another win yesterday when we backed Michigan laying six points against Purdue. I hate to lay a bunch of points in league play, but this Michigan team seems to just be on another level right now. This team looks significantly improved over last year’s team that made a run to the national finals. So, I laid a couple of points and backed Big Blue.
The Wolverines jumped out quick in this one and never looked back. The lead was at least double-digits all afternoon long and several times grew to more than twenty points. I said in my pick yesterday that if Michigan’s number one in the country rated defense could slow down Carsen Edwards that Purdue could get blown out. And that is exactly what happened. Edwards shot just 7-21 from the field and turned the ball over five times.
If you needed affirmation that this defense was the real deal, you got it in this game. Purdue now slides to 5-3 on the season, with all three of their losses coming against ranked teams. Things continue to be tough for the Boilermakers though as their next two games are against ranked teams as well. We have crushed Big 10 betting this week, to the tune of a 7-2 record. And if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Today we stay in the Big 10 and break down the game between the Nebraska and Illinois.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers host the Fighting Illini of Illinois today in a Big 10 conference game. Nebraska is lurking just outside of the top twenty-five nationally right now at 6-1 on the season. The lone loss on the season for Nebraska came against an undefeated Texas Tech team. The Illini have not enjoyed a great start to the season as they are just 2-5 on the year.
Illinois has played a murderer’s row of teams this season that has led to their bad record, including games against Gonzaga, Xavier, Georgetown, and Notre Dame. The Huskers are -12.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 147.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 PM PST from Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.
Look, I am not going to try and sit here and tell you that Illinois is any good this year. They aren’t great. They were picked to finish near the bottom of the Big 10 this year, and if their early start to the season is any indication, that is just where they will finish. But they have played the 16th toughest schedule in the country so far this season. So, it is hard to beat them up too much for having a rough start.
And when you look at how they have played in those losses, you might see that this team isn’t all that uncompetitive. Illinois pushed the nation’s top team, Gonzaga, to the absolute brink in Maui before dropping that game by just six points. They lost to Notre Dame by two points. Georgetown by eight, and Xavier by nine. This team hasn’t been able to get over the hump and beat any of these great teams, but they are staying competitive with some of the best teams in the country, and that has to mean something.
And when you look at this Nebraska team, I see them as one of the best teams in the country. This isn’t a team that I expect to cut down the nets or make a run to the Final Four, but I do see this as a tournament level team, and one that could possibly play on the second weekend. The Cornhuskers have never won an NCAA tournament game, and I think this is the year that nasty streak comes to an end.
James Palmer is one of the best guards in the Big 10. He is scoring eighteen points game and is filling up the stat sheet with four rebounds, three assists, and a steal and a block a game. The senior point guard wants nothing more than to lead his team to the tournament this year. He is joined by another senior leader is Isaac Copeland, who is going for fifteen and six himself.
The Big 10 is loaded this year. They could get as many as seven or eight teams into the tournament. But don’t sleep on Nebraska. I love these senior led teams that are full of experience. That being said, this number is too high. Illinois has shown us that they are capable of playing close games with good teams and that is what I see happening tonight. I would be quite surprised to see the Husker on a real upset alert, but I also think Illinois will find a way to keep this loss to single digits. Give me the Illinois Fighting Illini and the +12.5-points today in Lincoln!