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Wednesday Random Thoughts and Picks

- It wasn't pretty, but Illinois got a much needed win at Michigan and solidified their NCAA position. Okay, not pretty is being too generous for that game, downright ugly probably works better. We'd almost made it through the season without two teams combining for fewer than 100 points in a Big Ten game, and Michigan and their 24% shooting had to go and ruin in. Hopefully you bet Illinois +2.5 with me and teased it with the under.

- Welsh-Ryan Ramblings had a long but interesting post about the Northwestern seniors. What I found most interesting was the future of Jeff Ryan. It's unclear whether he'll be back next year, as there may not be a scholarship available for him. While a credible commentor on that post says Ryan will be back next year with or without a scholarship, I find it annoying how many scholarships are being all but wasted. Can we maybe get Nick Fruendt or Ivan Peljusic or Mike Capocci to transfer instead, and open up a scholarship for a potentially talented freshman who will actually contribute? I can't imagine those three are very happy riding the pine every night; Capocci has played a bit this year but since Capocci is basically a poor man's Ryan, he should find himself back on the bench next year.

Ohio State at Penn State (+7.5), 6:30 PM central, BTN

This game should be interesting, as Penn State looks to play spoiler and end Ohio State's Big Ten title hopes. The Nittany Lions are coming off two straight road wins, and played the Buckeyes tight in Columbus, getting within three with about 3 minutes left before fading and making the final margin a deceptive 13. This really seems like a trap game for Ohio State coming off a win at Michigan State, so I'll take Penn State and the points.

Pick: Penn State

Purdue at Minnesota (+2.5), 8:30 PM central, BTN

I'm really looking forward to this one, as Purdue looks to stay ahead of the field in the Big Ten title race, while Minnesota badly needs a win to keep their NCAA at-large hopes alive. It's generally a bad idea to pick against desperate teams at home, especially when that desperate team is getting points, but I'm taking Purdue here because they have been playing fantastic ever since losing to Northwestern. I think Minnesota will have trouble scoring, as long as JaJuan Johnson doesn't get in foul trouble, because the thought of Patrick Bade getting substantial minutes against the Gophers' athletic front line should be enough to give Purdue fans nightmares.

Pick: Purdue

Overall record: 38-34-2
Northwestern games: 14-4