BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Christmas Day games are very rare for Big Ten teams, but because of a condensed schedule and COVID-19 bubble protocols, many of the league's players were all for playing on the holiday in front of what should be large national television audiences.
There are four Big Ten games on Friday, and it should be full day of fun matchups. The day starts with a battle among two of the best teams in the league this season. Both have been ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation already this season, and these matchups are always great. The Badgers won by a point last year in the only meeting.
The second game comes from Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, where Purdue hosts Maryland. The Boilermakers are tough to beat at home, and are 49-9 in Big Ten home games in the past six seasons.
The third game, Michigan at Nebraska, allows us a chance to see super Michigan freshman Hunter Dickinson, who's been named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week twice already and leads the Wolverines in both scoring (15.7) and rebounding (7.3). He's scored in double figures in all six Michigan wins, all in Ann Arbor. This is their first road game.
The nightcap is the annual border war between Iowa and Minnesota, live from The Barn. Iowa is currently the league's highest-ranked team (No. 4), and has the league's best player in Luka Garza, who was the Big Ten Player of the Year last season and a first-team All-American.
Here are all the details on the four Christmas Day games:
Wisconsin at Michigan State
- Who: Wisconsin Badgers (7-1, 1-0 in the Big Ten) at Michigan State Spartans (6-1, 0-1 in the Big Ten)
- When: 12:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Dec. 25.
- Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Mich.
- Latest Line: Wisconsin is favored by 1.5 points according to the DraftKings.com website as of 6 a.m. on Friday morning.
- Poll rankings: Wisconsin is ranked No. 9 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls this week, and Michigan State is No. 12 in the AP and No. 11 with the coaches, but both have been in the top-four earlier this season.
- Kenpom.com rankings: Wisconsin is ranked No. 4 in the Kenpom.com rankings and Michigan State is No. 27, which is head scratching.
- Series history: Michigan State leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 83-65. The Spartans have won eight of the past nine meetings. The home team is 22-4 in the past 26 games.
- Last meeting: Wisconsin won 64-63 on Feb. 1, 2020 in Madison, Wis.
- TV: FOX
- Announcers: Brendan Gaudin and Jimmy Jackson.
Maryland at Purdue
- Who: Maryland Terrapins (5-2, 0-1 in the Big Ten) at Purdue Boilermakers (6-3, 1-1 in the Big Ten)
- When: 2:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Dec. 25.
- Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.
- Latest Line: Purdue is favored by 6.5 points according to the DraftKings.com website as of 6 a.m. on Friday morning.
- Poll rankings: Neither team is ranked, but Purdue is receiving votes in both polls. Purdue would rank No. 35 in the AP poll and No. 45 in the Coaches poll.
- Kenpom.com rankings: Purdue is ranked No. 33 in the Kenpom.com rankings, and Maryland is No. 47.
- Series history: Purdue leads the overall series, 5-4. Maryland has won the last two games. The teams have played four times in West Lafayette, with Purdue going 3-1 and winning the last three.
- Last meeting: Maryland won 57-50 on Jan. 18, 2020 in College Park, Md.
- TV: FOX Sports 1
- Announcers: Lisa Byington and Stephen Bardo
- Radio: Purdue Radio Network
- Announcers: Rob Blackmon and Bobby Riddell
Michigan at Nebraska
- Who: Michigan Wolverines (6-0, 1-0 in the Big Ten) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-4, 0-1 in the Big Ten)
- When: 6 p.m. ET, Friday, Dec. 25.
- Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Neb.
- Latest Line: Michigan is favored by 8.5 points according to the DraftKings.com website as of 6 a.m. on Friday morning.
- Poll rankings: Michigan is ranked No. 19 in both the Associated Press and Coaches Poll. Nebraska is not ranked.
- Kenpom.com rankings: Michigan is ranked No. 4 in the Kenpom.com rankings and Nebraska is No. 116. The Cornhuskers are the only Big Ten team ranked outside the top 53.
- Series history: Michigan leads the all-time series 18-3.
- Last meeting: Michigan won 82-58 on March 5, 2020 in Ann Arbor. Michigan's defense forced 22 Nebraska turnovers in that game.
- TV: Big Ten Network
- Announcers: Kevin Kugler and Nick Bahe
Iowa at Minnesota
- Who: Iowa Hawkeyes (7-1, 1-0 in the Big Ten) at Michigan State Spartans (7-1, 0-1 in the Big Ten)
- When: 8 p.m. ET, Friday, Dec. 25.
- Where: Williams Arena, Minneapolis, Minn.
- Latest Line: Iowa is favored by 7.5 points according to the DraftKings.com website as of 6 a.m. on Friday morning. (Nugget to know: Six of the last seven games in Minneapolis in this rivalry have been decided by six points or less.
- Poll rankings: Iowa is ranked No. 4 this week in the Associated Press poll and is No. 5 in the Coaches Poll. Minnesota is not ranked, but is receiving votes in both polls. They would be ranked No. 40 in the AP, and No. 44 in the Coaches Poll.
- Kenpom.com rankings: Iowa is ranked No. 5 in the Kenpom.com rankings and Minnesota is No. 50.
- Series history: Minnesota holds a 106-97 advantage in the series. The 203 meetings are the most Iowa has played against any opponent. The two teams have split the last 10 contests, dating back to 2014. Now that's a rivalry.
- Last meeting: Iowa closed the game on an 11-0 run over the final 5:24 to post a 58-55 win on Feb. 16, 2020 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. It is Iowa’s first win at Williams Arena since Jan. 15, 2015.
- TV: FOX Big Ten Network
- Announcers: Dave Revsine and Robbie Hummel