The weekend is upon us, and that means Big Ten basketball. Here's a few quick previews for the games. Feel free to treat this post as an open thread for the games. We'll try to have a post like this as a place for bball commenting every weekend.
All times in EST. All games will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Purdue at #18 Michigan State, 12 PM
The Boilers look for their second upset of the early conference season, but beating Illinois at Mackey is a lot easier than beating State at Breslin. MSU looks to even their conference record after the Minnesota loss. I'd be shocked if Purdue wins this, but if they make it competitive Purdue might be better than I thought going into conference play.
#8 Ohio State at #11 Illinois, 2:15 PM
The Buckeyes beat up on Nebrasketball earlier this week. Illinois is coming off of a disappointing loss at Purdue. Groce was an assistant for Matta, so he might have some added insight into Matta's mind (probably not, though). As of this writing, over 90% of people on espn.com have Ohio St. winning this one, but I don't think it should be that lopsided. Last season the Buckeyes were better and the Illini worse, but Illinois still won behind Brandon Paul's 43 points.
Iowa at #2 Michigan, 12 PM
The Hawkeyes have a tough early schedule. After hanging tough at home with Indiana, Fran's crew goes on the road against the undefeated Wolverines. Michigan just got through dominating a depleted Northwestern squad, so this should be their first real conference challenge. I like the job that McCaffery is doing at Iowa, but I don't think they're quite ready to start beating the conference's top teams on the road.
Wisconsin at Nebraska, 4:30 PM
The Badgers were disappointing in the non conference, and Nebraska was embarrassed by Ohio State in their last game. If the Huskers pull this off, it would be an impressive first Big Ten win for Tim Miles. The score will be low, and the Badgers will probably win, but it's far from a sure thing.
Northwestern at #9 Minnesota, 7 PM
If Minnesota wants to continue on their "program-changing" ways, beating a Drew Crawford-less Northwestern team at home is a necessity. I guess there is some sort of potential for a let-down game here for the Gophs, and the Cats probably won't be as awful as they were on Wednesday, but I don't see this upset happening.