By Adam McGill
Game 1: Iowa vs. Michigan State (8) 12:00 PM ET
Matchup to Watch: G Matt Gattens, Iowa vs. G Keith Appling, Michigan State – Gattens has been the best player in the conference not to get any press. He has averaged a staggering 20.9 points over the last eleven games and will be a tough matchup for Appling. The Spartans’ guard is more of a scorer than a defender, so Gattens could end up being guarded by several different players over the course of the game.
Player to Watch: F Draymond Green, Michigan State – Few people in the nation are as explosive as Green is. He is averaging 16.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, and he is doing it playing above the rim. Green will prove to be too hard for Minnesota to guard, as the senior easily eclipses 20 points.
Prediction: Michigan State 68 – Iowa 62
Game 2: (15) Indiana – (12) Wisconsin 2:00 PM ET
Matchup to Watch: G Jordan Hulls Indiana vs. G Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin – Hulls is coming off a huge 20-point performance yesterday in a 75-56 victory over Penn State, while Taylor and Wisconsin got the bye and were able to take notes from the sideline. Both guards will be taking their fair share of shots, so it just winds down to who can hit the most shots.
Player to Watch: F Cody Zeller, Indiana – Zeller had a historical first season, as he won Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Zeller is an extremely versatile forward, who can not only rebound, but can also steadily score from the field. He is one of the best young players in the conference and is worth the TIVO space to get a look at him.
Prediction: Wisconsin 55 – Indiana 50
Game 3: Minnesota – (13) Michigan 6:30 PM ET
Matchup to Watch: G Andre Hollins, Minnesota vs. G Trey Burke, Michigan – Hollins and Burke have been two of the best freshmen in the entire conference, with the exception of the aforementioned Zeller. Hollins has really heated up recently, with 55 points and 9 3-pointers in his last three contests. Burke has been impressive all season, with high basketball awareness and even more athleticism. Both youngsters will featured heavily in their team’s game-plan, so they are two guys to keep an eye.
Player to Watch: G Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan – THJ is the life-force of this Michigan team. Hardaway is extremely creative around the rim and can make anyone miss in the open court. The sophomore is the natural leader of this Michigan team and his NBA pedigree makes him look like a veteran on the floor. Hardaway will certainly be the guy to take any big shot the team needs.
Prediction: Michigan State 72 – Minnesota 58
Game 4: Purdue – (7) Ohio State 8:55 PM ET
Matchup to Watch: G Terone Johnson, Purdue vs. G Aaron Craft, Ohio State – Johnson and Craft will have a very tough matchup in the backcourt. They both are strong in the paint, offensively and defensively, with Johnson getting the advantage in the perimeter. Ohio State has the interior strength to be able to get Craft more room to operate, so expect the Buckeye to eventually win the matchup.
Player to Watch: F Jared Sullinger, Ohio State – Sullinger will be the next great NBA player to come out of the conference, but it is just a matter of when. He is a premier defender, but his jump shot has really come along nicely this collegiate season.
Prediction: Ohio State 79 – Purdue 68