Mar 1, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Keith Appling (11) attempts to drive the ball against Illinois Fighting Illini forward Austin Colbert (31) during the 2nd half of a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Illinois won 53-46. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Staff Picks: Big Ten Basketball Week 3-3-14


In last week’s edition of Staff Picks we had a tie between Andrew and myself with a record of 7-5. Not terrible, not great. We both underestimated Illinois all week, who has shown they are an improving team that needs to be taken seriously. We also faltered by not picking the Penn State sweep over Ohio State this season, and we both picked one of the two Indiana upsets correctly last week.

We have a few more writers on staff now so the picks should be a little more interesting from now on. Here are the picks:

Tuesday:

16 Michigan @ Illinois

Rich- Michigan
Brad- Michigan
Jake- Michigan
Shaun- Illinois
Sammy- Michigan

This Michigan team has finally won me over. I do believe they are the best team in the Big Ten. I may be late to the bandwagon, but I love this team’s ability to shoot the ball. Illinois has held their last four opponents under 50 points, I don’t expect them to do the same to Michigan. I just don’t see this Illinois team having enough fire power to score with the Michigan shooters.

Wednesday:

Nebraska @ Indiana

Rich- Nebraska
Brad- Indiana
Jake- Indiana
Shaun- Nebraska
Sammy- Indiana

I have a ton of respect for Nebraska and what they have done this season. I think they are a tournament lock at this point in the season, and one of the most underrated teams nationally. However, Crean is finally getting this Indiana team to play to their potential that everyone saw in the preseason. A home game for Indiana makes me pick the Hoosiers to make it three in a row.

Purdue @14 Wisconsin

Rich- Wisconsin
Brad- Wisconsin
Jake- Wisconsin
Shaun- Wisconsin
Sammy- Wisconsin

Other than Wisconsin’s bad stretch of four straight losses, they have been one of the toughest and most consistent teams in the country. A home game for Wisconsin against a Purdue team that is coming off of a devastating overtime loss to Michigan leaves me no choice but to pick the Badgers to hold home court this week.

Thursday:

Penn State @ Northwestern

Rich- Northwestern
Brad- Northwestern
Jake- Northwestern
Shaun- Penn State
Sammy- Penn State

It’s senior night for Drew Crawford, and he deserves to end his great career with a win. As much as everyone wants to send him out the right way, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. Northwestern has lost six straight, and I think Penn State will make it seven.

20 Iowa @ 18 Michigan State

Rich- Michigan State
Brad- Michigan State
Jake- Michigan State
Shaun- Michigan State
Sammy- Michigan State

Iowa has been struggling of late, but so has the Spartans. MSU is finally playing all their guys again, and I think Appling is looking a little healthier every time he steps on the court. Look for Appling and Payne to put up an inspired performance for their last game in the Breslin. Senior night emotions have me picking the Spartans over the struggling Iowa squad.

Indiana @ 16 Michigan

Rich- Michigan
Brad- Michigan
Jake- Michigan
Shaun- Indiana
Sammy- Michigan

This was a tough choice for me. Michigan will probably already have the outright Big Ten Title locked up and will only be playing for seeding. Meanwhile, Indiana seems to have found a new groove and new tournament hopes. Another win over a top 25 team would really bolster their tournament resume. However, this Michigan team looks to be clicking on all cylinders and I think they will end Indiana’s recent dominance over them this week.

Illinois @ 20 Iowa

Rich- Iowa
Brad- Iowa
Jake- Iowa
Shaun- Iowa
Sammy- Iowa

I never pick this Illinois team, and they made me eat it last week. However, I think I’m going to continue my trend and go with the Hawkeyes this weekend. I think this will be a big game for them, they need to stop their slide. A home game might be just what the doctor ordered.

Penn State @ Minnesota

Rich- Minnesota
Brad- Minnesota
Jake- Minnesota
Shaun- Minnesota
Sammy- Minnesota

Minnesota still has a slim chance to make the tournament. Losing to Penn State at home will ruin any chance that they do have at getting an at large bid. I expect Minnesota to come out with sense and purpose and put this one away early on their home floor.

Sunday:

Northwestern @ Purdue

Rich- Purdue
Brad- Purdue
Jake- Purdue
Shaun- Purdue
Sammy- Purdue

This is a tough game to pick. I think Purdue has shown flashes of brilliance this year and almost pulled the upset against Michigan in Mackey, so I think Hammons will have a great game and lead his Boilermakers to victory on their home floor.

18 Michigan State @ 22 Ohio State

Rich- Michigan State
Brad- Ohio State
Jake- Ohio State
Shaun- Michigan State
Sammy- Michigan State

When I first saw this game on the schedule at the start of the Big Ten season, I thought it would have more Big Ten title implications. A couple months later, both teams are hoping this game will improve their seeding for the tournament. It’s an interesting match-up of senior point guards that are not ending their careers the way they had envisioned. As sad as it will be to watch, I have to pick one of college basketball’s greatest leaders to lose on his senior night. I think Appling has a much better supporting cast than Craft does this year and that will be the difference in the game.

14 Wisconsin @ Nebraska

Rich- Wisconsin
Brad- Wisconsin
Jake- Wisconsin
Shaun- Nebraska
Sammy- Nebraska

This could be the toughest game to pick of the entire season. Wisconsin is playing great basketball and wants to continue their run heading into the tournament. However, Nebraska has proven they are a very talented club, and they only have one home loss all season. It was a comeback victory by Michigan by one point. Nebraska will need this win more to solidify their tournament resume, I look for them to keep the home court dominance.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

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