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Big Ten Tonight: January 5th

Today I'm going to start a new feature here on the award winning Sippin' On Purple, in which I pick all of the day's Big Ten games against the spread, complete with my amateur armchair analysis. Hopefully I manage to annoy some of the fans of other Big Ten teams, as opposed to just irritating my fellow Northwestern fans. On that note, a thank you to go cats! for really ripping into me in the comments of my latest power rankings. I always enjoy arguing with people about sports, especially with someone who's clearly a big fan and knows the football team well. So please, to anyone reading this, do not hesistate to call me out in the comments, debate is a lot more entertaining than everyone agreeing with each other and playing nice.

Onto tonight's games, and remember the picks vs. the spread are for entertainment purposes only.

Minnesota at #4 Purdue (-9), 6 PM central on ESPN:

I'd expect a low scoring game here as both of these teams are better at defense than they are at offense. JaJuan Johnson had a huge game on Friday against West Virginia's athletic front line, but I think Minnesota's combination of Colton Iverson and Ralph Sampson III will be able to slow him down a little. Same thing for Blake Hoffarber, who's been hot of late but will have trouble getting open looks with Chris Kramer on him. I'd give the edge to Purdue here playing at home, however 9 points is too many give as this one should be close.

Pick: Minnesota

Iowa at Illinois (-14.5), 8 PM central on Big Ten Network

Illinois has played very well at home all season, and they'll be angry after giving away a game vs Gonzaga on Saturday. Meanwhile, Iowa has lost by double digits in their two home games in Big Ten play, so I'd expect them to get killed on the road in a hostile environment. Iowa just doesn't have the size or athleticism to guard Illinois.

Pick: Illinois

Stay tuned tomorrow for more analysis from around the Big Ten and a look at NU's next foe Texas-Pan American.