Shamelessly ripping off GoForThree's Sunday Morning Coming Down (without the 1000-comment shitshows!...unless that's something you're really into), it's your Monday shootyhoops retrospective of a weekend chock full of Big Ten squeakyfouls. Expect 1/100 of the writing quality but all the #hottaeks you've come to know and love from your OTE crew.
We'll have Gavitt Games coverage coming soon and hopefully more team-specific articles to come, but in the meantime, we want to help provide you, our friend, the humble OTE reader, with some hot takes to pass out around with water cooler (side note: do offices still do this? Is that still a thing?).
B1G Talking Points
- Wisconsin and Illinois both went down (to Western Illinois and North Florida, respectively) and looked bad doing it. Both rebounded well enough in their Sunday matchups, but don't go placing any bets on either right now.
- Purdue can score. The Boilermakers doubled by North Carolina A&T and put up a century mark on Vermont, and they don't even have AJ Hammons yet. Watch out for the old gold and black.
- We'll reserve judgment on Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State until further notice. AIN'T PLAYED NOBODY PAWWWWWWL
- The bottom of the B1G is right back to their unappealing brands of basketball. Now with more reminders to get a finger shoved up your butt, though!
- Minnesota is rapidly descending to the bottom of the Big Ten.
B1G Shootyhoops in Review
Lost to North Florida, 93-81
Illinois never led—NEVER LED—the Ospreys, who shot 17-of-33 from deep to rout the Illini at their home-away-from-home in Springfield while the State Farm Center renovations are completed. It’s not a great start (duh) for John Groce, who looks to be on the hot seat with a new AD (presumably) hired at the end of this season and the Illini failing to achieve during his tenure. Senior C Mike Thorne, Jr. was a bright spot for Illini, snagging 14 boards and dropping 25 points on 11-20 shooting, though the rest of the Illini left something to be desired.
Thumpasaurus edit 11/17: Should really mention another thing that happened during this game. Starting PG Jaylon Tate, promoted to that role after the season-ending injury to Tracy Abrams, suffered an open dislocation of the pinky requiring surgery early in this game. Our point guard rotation now consists of LaSalle transfer Khalid Lewis and freshman shooting guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, who hadn't been a full participant in practice for months due to a stress fracture.
Thumpasaurus’ Self-Loathing Live Thoughts:
Lol this is how I can tell nobody was paying attention to Illinois
You see why I've been so down on basketball season?!
THIS IS WHY
I scored this game as a loss in my season predictions
North Florida did two things we didn't last year
Beat North Dakota State, 80-74
Thorne helped the Illini regain their footing as Illinois escaped the Bison, 80-74. Senior C Maverick Morgan chipped in with 10 points, and the Illini look to be developing an inside presence they’ll sorely need come Big Ten play. In the short time, the Illini have to find their defense—especially from the guards—ahead of a stiff Gavitt Games test in Providence. Right now it looks like this Illini team will make noise in the NIT…but nothing more.
This week: @Providence (Wed. 6pm, Gavitt Games), vs. Chattanooga (Sat. 7:30pm)
Beat Eastern Illinois, 88-49
THIS is how Top 20 teams beat Direction Illinoises, Wisconsin. Yogi Ferrell struggled from deep (1/5) but scored 13 anyways while dishing out 6 assists, James Blackmon Jr. added 17 of his own, and the Hoosiers cruised. Not much to take away from this, and Indiana will be able to continue to ease into a December 2 matchup with #5 Duke.
Candystripes for Breakfast’s #tepidtake: I totally forgot Indiana even had their home opener Friday. A quick check of the box score shows that we won by almost 40 points, so I'm going to say things went perfectly well and no one should bother checking to see if I am wrong or not.
[ed. note: We’ll take your take for it, CfB.]
This week: vs. Austin Peay (Mon. 6pm), vs. Creighton (Thurs. 6pm, Gavitt Games)
Beat Gardner-Webb, 76-59
Beat Coppin State, 103-69 (nice)
Jarrod Uthoff will have to fill Aaron White’s shoes in 2015-16, and the former Wisconsin transfer poured in 21 first-half points against Gardner-Webb before taking a seat to allow Fran McCaffery to empty his bench during a big weekend for Iowa athletics. Human eye hazard Adam Woodbury dominated an undersized Runnin’ Bulldogs squad, grabbing six boards and turning in 11 points. The Hawkeyes needed these blowouts in a big way, as there weren’t any smiles in Iowa City after an exhibition loss to NAIA Augustana (Sioux Falls, SD). Expect the Hawks to put up 90+ on a Marquette team which struggled in a home loss to Belmont.
Stewmonkey13’s hottaek: Iowa looked rusty in the first half against Gardner Web on Friday, only leading by 4 at half. Fears from the exhibition loss to Div II's number 1 rated team, Augustana returned. However, Iowa clamped down on defense, and the offense went on a run to put the game well in hand.
Sunday they jumped on Coppin State from the word go. Opening up a 20 point lead in the first few minutes allowing for lots of playing time for the new-comers.
Overall, Iowa isn't going to be quite the rebounding team they've been in the past, losing White and Olaseni will do that. However, it does appear they'll be shooting the 3 much more, and much more effectively with those newcomers.
Peter Jok rolled his ankle against Gardner Webb and didn't play against Coppin State, however it sounds like he'll be fine, and return to the starting lineup Thursday against Marquette.
This week: @Marquette (Thurs. 8pm, Gavitt Games)
Beat Mount St. Mary’s, 80-56
DJ Carver: From the box score (fuck off games on BTN Plus) and highlights I've seen, Maryland played well against the VCU style havoc defense that MSM employs. Jake Layman led all scorers and Maryland's interior played well too. It's obvious the guards are still learning to play with competent bigs so the non-conference will serve for the gel time there. I'm leaning more and more towards thinking Melo Trimble being a 3-4 year player since he is more a facilitator, not distributor. That's quite ok with me. Georgetown is next and I'll be there to watch. They're coming off an upset so it'll be interesting to see how they respond.
This week: vs. Georgetown (Tues. 8pm, Gavitt Games), vs. Rider (Fri. 6pm)
Beat D-II Northern Michigan, 70-44
Michigan easily handled a Division-II squad. I don’t like Big Ten teams doing this for season matchups, especially when they’re ranked teams. Ten players saw double-digit minutes for the Wolverines, include Caris LaVert, who led the Maize and Blue with 18 points. It was a solid day from the field (52%) and average day from deep (38%) for Michigan. Expect more of the same from John Beilein’s club.
This week: vs. Elon (Mon. 6pm), vs. Xavier (Fri. 8pm, Gavitt Games)
#13 Michigan State
Beat Florida Atlantic, 82-55
Human Invisalign Ad Denzel Valentine turned in a solid performance for the Spartans, who boatraced Florida Atlantic 82-55. Not much to take from this, as Sparty emptied the bench and F Deyonta Davis turned in a double-double.
One Player to Watch this season for Michigan State? Senior F Matt Costello. The 6’9" Michigan native, who averaged 7ppg in 20mpg in 2014-15, will be called upon to be an inside presence for the Spartans in 2015-16, and he lived up to expectations against the Owls, dropping 15 points and picking up 7 rebounds. With Davis, he’ll provide a consistent force inside for Michigan State, which looks forward to a titanic showdown with #4 Kansas in New York on Tuesday.
This week: vs. Kansas (Tues. 9pm, Champions Classic in Chicago), vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Fri. 6pm)
Beat UM-Kansas City, 76-58
Beat Louisiana-Monroe, 69-56
Joey King’s career high 22 points paced the Gophers to a win over the Kangaroos. It’ll be all hands on deck for this year’s iteration of Minnesota, who got 20+ minutes from seven players and are still struggling to find a fifth starter, as neither Gaston Diedhiou nor Bakary Konate look to challenge for anything save "Cool Name Team." That’s going to be an issue for the Golden Gophers, who can’t go any taller than 6’9" inside. /gulp.
The Gophers followed that showing up with an uninspiring 69-56 win over the Warhawks, as King went for 20 and 8 to help Minnesota stave off Louisiana-Monroe while shooting an abysmal 38% from the field and 14% from deep. Better start using those facilities for recruiting while you can, Little Richard. Beth Goetz may be encouraging you to seek other employment.
This week: vs. Temple (Thurs. 11:30am, Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
Beat Mississippi Valley State, 97-51
Jesse Collins: Nebraska scored 97 points, went 10-22 from 3, and the new guys looked good. Before the game, Miles said nobody is redshirting, and I’m thinking that’s because he likes his depth in 2015. For a team with new bodies everywhere, 2015-16 is going to be a rollercoaster, but I like our chances. We’ll know a whole lot more on Tuesday.
This week: @ #11 Villanova (Tues. 7:30pm, Gavitt Games), vs. Delaware State (Thurs. 7pm)
Beat UMass-Lowell, 79-57
The ‘Cats…well, let’s call this an incomplete for the Purple and White. There’s nothing wrong with beating a cupcake by 22 to open the season, but the Wildcats trailed the River Hawks by two at the half. Alex Olah remembered that he was about 4" taller than anyone else UMass-Lowell could throw at him and provided a quiet double-double of 21 and 12, while freshman phenom Aaron Falzon is showing you what the ‘Cats could be in years to come—long, fast, and athletic as hell. In his debut the freshman dropped 20 on 8/11 shooting, though that productivity will be tested by more athletic B1G teams.
Is This the Year? Watch:
This week: vs. Fairfield (Wed. 7pm), vs. Columbia (Fri. 7pm)
Beat Mount St. Mary’s, 76-54
Enjoying a later start to the season, the Buckeyes dominated the Mountaineers [creative naming, MSM. You and Rutgers-Newark should talk.] from start to finish, riding Marc Loving’s 15 and 11 and forward Keita Bates-Diop’s 10 and 10. Not much to take from this, save that the Buckeyes won’t be tested for a while.
This week: vs. Grambling State (Tues. 6pm), vs. UT-Arlington (Fri. 6pm)
Beat VMI, 62-50
The Nittany Lions struggled with an undersized Keydets squad, relying on the 15 points of G Shep Garner to ease past VMI. Penn State struggled from the field, shooting just 43% on field goals and 61% from the line. Pat Chambers needs to find inside play in a hurry, as C Jordan Dickerson was a non-factor in 18 minutes (0 pts, 5 rebounds) and Donovon Jack is as close as Penn State gets to a secondary "presence" inside. This team looks like they’ll be eaten alive in B1G play and will need to use games against DePaul and Duquesne to prove otherwise.
Aaron Yorke: Penn State shot 43 percent from the field but still managed to beat VMI handily. That's a credit to a defense that was the strength of the Lions last year and will hopefully continue to be so in 2015-16. With D.J. Newbill gone, the offense is going to struggle against stronger competition, but at least we're seeing more balanced point distribution with Brandon Taylor, Payton Banks, and Shep Garner all scoring in double figures during the opening game. Freshman Josh Reaves only scored four points on six shots, but he was very active on defense with three blocks and two steals. Hopefully his role will continue to grow this week versus DePaul. Meanwhile, the other top-100 freshman Mike Watkins is ineligible to play per the NCAA. Welp.
This week: vs. DePaul (Tues. 4pm, Gavitt Games), vs. Duquesne (Fri. 6pm, in Pittsburgh)
Beat North Carolina A&T, 81-40
Beat Vermont, 107-79
The Baby Boilers pounded North Carolina A&T in Purdue’s home opener. Not much to take from this—both teams cleared their benches with plenty of time in the second half, though Caleb Swanigan (11 pts, 11 rebs) and Isaac Haas (12 pts, 10 rebs) got double-doubles.
The Boilers followed that up by dropping a cool 60 in the first half against Vermont, cruising to a 107-79 victory behind Haas and G Kendall Stephens.
Conspicuously absent was AJ Hammons, who still is "[taking] care of some business," as Matt Painter has apparently mentioned. Getting the big man motivated has always been a struggle for Purdue, who will need Hammons if the Boilermakers are going to make strides in the NCAA Tournament this year.
This week: vs. Incarnate Word (Wed. 6pm), vs. Old Dominion (Sat. 12pm, Hall of Fame Tipoff – Uncasville, CT)
Beat D-II Rutgers-Newark, 72-59
Beat Howard, 82-70
Opening with the D-II Scarlet Raiders [sidebar: real creative team-naming, Rutgers U. What, Scarlet Eagles was taken?] Rutgers gave plenty of cause for concern, shuffling between sets defensively but sputtered on offense, shooting just 28% from deep and 58% from the stripe. Guard Mike Williams (8/18 FG for 18 points and 11 rebounds) was a revelation, but this team is going to struggle in non-conference. Anything .500 or better going into B1G play would be huge for Rutgers.
They did partially redeem themselves, keeping it together to beat Howard in the Men Who Speak Up main event. Look out for junior F Deshawn Freeman. The 6’7" NC native poured in 13 in just 17 minutes against RU-N, then followed it up with another 17 on 7/11 shooting against the Bison. Rutgers basketball: reminding YOU to get a finger shoved up your ass to make sure you’re healthy.
(Seriously, men, follow the link above and get regular prostate exams. Cancer ain't nothing to fuck with, and we've seen far too many figures, both in the sports world and no doubt in several of our personal lives, affected by cancer. Do your part to help change that.)
This week: @ St. John’s (Thurs. 6pm, Gavitt Games), vs. Central Arkansas (Sat. 4pm)
Lost to Western Illinois, 69-67
Beat Siena, 92-59
Wisconsin is overrated. Sorry, Badgers, but Sam Dekker ain’t walking through that door, and Bo’s plug’n’play system has a lot of growing to do. Garret Covington hit a pair of FTs with 10.2 seconds left, and the Leathernecks shocked the #17 Badgers at the Kohl Center. Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes each had 17 for Wisconsin, but the Badgers’ three-headed PF/C combination of junior Vitto Brown, freshman Ethan Happ, and freshman Charlie Thomas left a lot to be desired, combining for 19 points and 16 rebounds on 7/18 shooting in a collective 58 minutes. That’s not good.
Brown improved against Siena, going for 16 points and 7 rebounds, and the Badgers held the Saints to 39% from the field and 19% from deep while shooting 59% and 42% themselves. It was a return to Bo-Ball, as the Badgers spread the ball around, controlled the game, and ran off an inferior team.
The Western Illinois loss exposed some of the issues with Wisconsin going forward, though: with an experienced lineup, especially a strong center, the Badgers have dominated lesser competition. Without an inside-outside presence that horses (literally) like Jared Berggren and Frank Kaminsky have provided, though, teams will force the Badgers to do more from the outside-in. It’ll be interesting to see the Badgers grow in 2015-16.
From Thomas Speth’s Slack Stream of Consciousness on Friday:
This team is crazy young. I'm not super worried about some tight non conference games. Especially when they're shooting lights out from 3
jessecollins Western Illinois is a bad team that you paid to come in and beat you, so that’s fun.
Something something at least my football team is bowling this years
TS: They played like shit the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half
Ugh him [Nigel Hayes] and Koenig are this entire team
GIDDAMNIT DEKKER WHY U NO STAY SENIOR YEAR
This week: vs. North Dakota (Tues. 7pm), vs. Georgetown (Fri. 4pm, 2K Classic in New York)