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Saturday Picks

- Rumors of Minnesota's demise were greatly exaggerated, as they won easily at home over Wisconsin on Thursday and have put themselves temporarily back into the NCAA tournament discussion. As for the Badgers, their Big Ten title hopes are now dead, and Jon Leuer looked rusty in his return from injury, with just 4 points and 1 rebound in 26 minutes, although he should be able to turn things around against the porous Northwestern defense tomorrow. Just what the 'Cats need; an angry opponent coming off a loss, playing at home where they lose to unranked teams about once every 5 years.

- Three league games today with the home teams heavily favored in all three. I don't really feel strongly about any of these three, so wager carefully.

Illinois at Purdue (-12.5), 3 PM central, ESPN

The bookmakers don't seem to think too highly of Illinois despite their solid Big Ten record. Clearly Purdue should win this game, but 12.5 is a lot to give, especially since Matt Painter has been known to give his suspect second unit a lot of minutes late in blowouts. I'm interested in seeing the match-up between Mike Tisdale and JaJuan Johnson tonight, two very talented guys I believe should be putting up better numbers than they currently do, although Johnson has been dominating recently after a slow start to the Big Ten season.

Pick: Illinois

Penn State at Michigan (-8.5), 5 PM central, BTN

Michigan is showing they have some heart, winning at Minnesota and rallying to beat an improving Iowa team in overtime. 8.5 seems like a lot to give, since Penn State hasn't been blown out often this year, but this has letdown game written all over it coming off their first Big Ten win of the season.

Pick: Michigan

Indiana at Minnesota (-17), 7 PM central, BTN

I keep incorrectly picking Indiana to cover double digit spreads, but I'm going to that well again tonight. Minnesota is too inconsistent for me to rely on them to win by that many points; plus they have only had 1 day to prepare while Indiana has had 3.

Pick: Indiana

Overall Record: 36-31-2
Northwestern games: 14-3