It's your favorite time of the week, where you can ignore football's existence and head straight to your couch for squeakyfouls! We've got the whole OTE basketball writing staff on hand this week ahead of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, recapping an underwhelming week of B1G shootyhoops.
B1G Talking Points
- Thanks for playing, Iowa, but you won't be ranked for quite some time. Nor you, Indiana. Really wanted to get all the learning experiences out of the way at once, huh?
- Don't bet on Illinois making a recovery. Or Ohio State. Or Minnesota. For shit's sake, is there anyone left in this conference?
- Oh yeah, Wisconsin's rebuilding, too. Oklahoma is a phenomenal team, and Bronson Koenig can't do it all himself.
- Sit in the corner, Rutgers and Penn State, and hopefully no one will notice you.
- This conference is quickly turning into the Big 3 and Little 11. Outside of Maryland, Michigan State, and Purdue, is there any Big Ten team you're actually afraid of playing? I'm not buying into the ESPN "sky is falling" narrative just yet, but I can honestly only make a case for 5 bids: Iowa, Indiana, and the three listed above. Maybe Michigan sneaks onto the bubble, but John Beilein's team needs to keep its hot shooting up.
- Northwestern played basketball this week. So did Nebraska. Thus ends your concern with either of those two squads.
- Hopefully the College Football Playoff distracts us from watching too much of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge this week...because it doesn't look like it's gonna be pretty. I'll take the ACC by 2.
Illinois (3-4, Kenpom #82)
Emerald Coast Classic (2nd Place): W vs. Chicago State, 82-79; W vs. Alabama-Birmingham, 72-58; L vs. #4 Iowa State, 84-73
Thumpasaurus' Self-Loathing Take of the Week: Illinois is much better with Kendrick Nunn, Leron Black and Jaylon Tate. Of course, with Mike Thorne Jr now injured, we're worse again.
Multiple sources say that Illini center Mike Thorne, Jr, who I described as the best post player we've had in 5 years, will require surgery on his knee and will miss the rest of the season
It never stops
In the 72 minutes we had the whole team together (minus Abrams of course) we looked pretty good, beating UAB convincingly and trading blows with Iowa State. But for some reason it's been ordained that Illinois must continue to suffer.
This week: vs. Notre Dame (Wed., 8:15pm, ESPN2); vs. Western Carolina (Sat., 2pm, ESPN3)
Indiana (4-2, KP #26)
Candystripes for Breakfast's Take: Maui turned out to be a serious wake up call for the Hoosiers. We have a talented team, but one still trying to figure out what exactly it can do. There is already unrest amongst the fanbase, which is bad news for the future of Tom Crean, Indiana basketball coach. I don't expect he'll be losing his job, but then again, I wasn't expecting us to go 1-2 in Maui either.
This week: vs. Alcorn State (Mon., 6pm, BTN); @ Duke (Wed., 8:15pm, ESPN); vs. Morehead State (Sat., 6pm, BTN)
Iowa (4-2, KP #18)
Stewmonkey13's Quest for Rationalization: Just as most people predicted, at the pyramid scheme supplement tournament, Iowa played Dayton, ND, and Wichita State on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. However, to everyone's surprise it was because all those teams lost the first few games. Iowa went 1-2, losing two close games against Dayton and the Feinting Irish (Fuck Notre Dame), then blowing out a VanVleetless Wichita State.
Iowa has trouble protecting the paint when Adam Woodbury sits out, and get really out of sync on offense without Mike Gesell. This team is going to absolutely blow the doors off a few more teams this year, but will also probably have more than a couple clunkers, and will likely be riding the bubble come March.
This week: vs. Florida State (Wed., 8:15pm, ESPNU); vs. UMKC (Sat., 2pm, ESPN3)
#2 Maryland (6-0, KP #21)
DJ Carver's Tepid Take: Maryland has clicked well this week after a colossal scare against Rider. They positively blew out URI and POS Dan Hurley and comfortably put away Cleveland State while getting solid minutes to all backups. Obviously the real test is UNC on Tuesday so we will know if MD just had a slow start or if they need some help.
MNW: Marcus Paige playing for UNC on Tuesday will make it even more HUGE than it already was. Can't wait to watch the Trimble-Paige showdown.
This week: @ North Carolina (Tues., 8:30pm, ESPN); vs. St. Francis-PA (Fri., 6pm, BTN)
Graham Filler's Take from On High: Make 3's, Michigan good. Don't make 3's, Michigan bad. It helps that Michigan has 4-5 legitimate three point threats and walking away from the Bahamas with a 2-1 record is definitely a win. Taking a broad view, Michigan should be thinking about getting a tournament bid and so early season losses (like last year's upsets) can derail that possibility quickly. Beat who you should beat (Charlotte) and play tough against the Texas's of the world.
One final thought: The Big Ten does't look stacked with immovably amazing teams this year. You've got MSU, Maryland...and then about 6-7 teams with talent, but major questions. The hopes of the Wolverines should be high.
This week: @ North Carolina State (Tues., 6pm, ESPN2); vs. Houston Baptist (Sat., 1pm, ESPNU)
#3 Michigan State (7-0, KP #8)
Andrew Kraszewski's BAJA BLAST SUPER BOLD TAKE: Michigan State is clicking much, much earlier than they traditionally do in the course of the season. As the folks on the staff Slack channel are aware due to my constant pontificating, Denzel Valentine is off to a Naismith-caliber start to the season, and his play has raised all boats. Perhaps most importantly, PG Tum Tum Nairn has shown a bit of an outside shot the last couple games. If that's not a mirage and MSU continues to get contributions in the scoring column from Javon Bess and Deyonta Davis to complement their shooting, there's a new top contender in town and it ain't the Terps. YEAH I SAID IT COME AT ME TURTLE-BROS, STRUGGLED WITH RIDER LATELY?
This week: vs. #24 Louisville (Wed., 6:15pm, ESPN); vs. Binghamton (Sat., 11am, ESPNU)
Minnesota (4-2, KP #93)
WhiteSpeedReceiver: We beat Nebraska on Friday! Everything is going to be OK for Minnesota after all.
I've just gotten word that it was Nebraska-Omaha, and we only won by 3. Gopher fans may resume panicking.
This week: vs Clemson (Mon., 8pm, ESPN2); vs. South Dakota (Sat., 2pm, BTN+)
Nebraska (5-2, KP #99)
Jesse Collins: Nebraska is beating opponents it should and flashing competence against ranked teams. The story - as always - is youth. Oh, that said, I see you Tai Webster. He's starting to be more assertive and those skills we hoped would come around may very well be coming around.
This week: vs. #21 Miami (Tues., 8pm, ESPNU); vs. Abilene Christian (Sat., 1pm, BTN+)
Northwestern (5-1, KP #67)
MNW: Northwestern is not a good team, but they are not a bad team, and we'll likely know very little more about them in the games following their matchup with Virginia Tech.
That said, Bryant MacIntosh is going to dunk on your team. He's yet to score fewer than 13 points in a game this season, averaging a ballin' 17.3 to go with 6.2 assists and a steal. Unfortunately, that led him to try a little too hard to drag Northwestern back against North Carolina, as he did go an awful 3/15 from the field. When he faces lesser-to-fair competition, though, especially those without the length and speed of North Carolina, he's excellent. I'm pegging him for 2nd Team All-B1G.
Meanwhile, this team still struggles, especially in the forward slot with Vic Law out for the season with a torn labrum. Freshman Aaron Falzon struggled against Mizzou and rode the pine for a significant part of Northwestern's rout over New Orleans as Scottie Lindsey made his case to start, and Sanjay Lumpkin is a glorified foul sponge with a funny last name who provides "grit" and "hustle" without the need to actually perform offensively. Check that, watching him play is indeed offensive. Regardless, Northwestern has yet to play a complete game against a worthy team, and that might haunt the Wildcats against VaTech and into the Big Ten slate.
Is This The Year? Watch:
This week: @ Virginia Tech (Tues., 6pm, ESPNU); vs. SIU-Edwardsville (Sat., 2pm, BTN+)
Ohio State (2-3, KP #74)
Um, sooooo...Ohio State? An overtime loss to Memphis is nothing to sneeze at, but losing to Louisiana Tech (even an undefeated LaTech) at home is a bad look. It's Marc Loving and everyone else in Columbus, as Thad Matta has struggled to get consistent play out of freshmen like guard JaQuan Lyle (just 2/11 against LaTech but 8/14 against Memphis) and center Daniel Giddens, who's been forced into more action than Matta likely would care for.
There are positives in Columbus: Keita Bates-Diop has put up double figures in every game so far, including a solid 10-5-5 against Memphis, the Buckeyes can shoot fairly well from three, and Marc Loving is the real damn deal. But this rebuilding Buckeye team smacks of NIT at best.
This week: vs. #10 Virginia (Tues., 6:30pm, ESPN); vs. VMI (Sat., 3:30pm, BTN+)
Penn State (3-2, KP #183)
Aaron Yorke: Penn State lost consecutive games to Duquesne and Radford last week before rebounding with a comeback win over Bucknell. This team is very bad, particularly on offense, but at least there are signs of growth. Sophomore big man Julian Moore scored 16 points last Tuesday in just 25 minutes, and that could mean less of a role for Donovon Jack in the future and in turn fewer facepalms for PSU fans. Brandon Taylor appears to have improved his jump shot and is providing capable leadership on offense. He needs more help though, especially from Shep Garner, who needs to distribute the ball better. He's the closest thing to a real point guard on the roster. Josh Reaves's offensive game is still raw, so he's more of a defensive asset for now.
I'd like to see the freshman get more involved in the offense going forward. It's going to stink anyway. The good news is that upcoming ACC foe Boston College has been even lousier than Dear Old State, so perhaps the Lions can contribute something to the Big Ten this week.
This week: @ Boston College (Wed., 6:15pm, ESPNU); vs. Eastern Michigan (Sat., 11am, BTN+)
#11 Purdue (6-0, KP #6)
babaoreally's Yawwwwwn recap: Purdue only played one game this week, beating Lehigh by 20ish. There were a lot of turnovers and missed threes, but Isaac Haas looked like Wilt Chamberlain in the second half. Raphael Davis was out with a strained or sprained MCL. Hopefully it's not too serious, and they'll be full strength against Pitt on Tuesday.
This week: @ Pittsburgh (Tues., 8pm, ESPN2); vs. New Mexico (Sat., 1:15pm, BTN+)
Rutgers (3-3, KP #222)
Men Who Speak Up (4th Place): L vs. Creighton, 85-75; L vs. Clemson, 76-58
Rutgers went out to Las Vegas, played games at all hours of the night that were only broadcast on live YouTube streams, and lost both games to respectable but not great opponents. Good effort, Rutgers. Try not to pee on the carpet. Dates with Seton Hall and Wake Forest seem to make that...unlikely.
This week: vs. Wake Forest (Mon., 6pm, ESPNU); vs. Seton Hall (Sat., 11am, ESPNN)
Wisconsin (4-3, KP #37)
W vs. Prairie View A&M, 85-67; L @ Oklahoma, 65-48
Thomas Speth's HOTTAEK: Wisconsin is bad. Maybe not like Rutgers bad, but good grief this team is like the football team except it isn't great at defense and has to play MSU. I mean this team very well could get better as the season goes on because there's freshman on top of freshman on top of freshman in the rotation, but this team isn't going to finish top 4 as it currently stands.
Oklahoma is good, but Western Illinois is not and this team is a Bronson Koenig last possession basket against VCU away from having a losing record. They're not going to beat anybody with Koenig and Hayes going 8 for 35 and getting 19 points from everyone that isn't those two. This must be what it feels like to cheer for an NIT team because that's exactly what this team looks like.
That said, God bless Bo Ryan, the best basketball teacher around. It might take an act of God to win 20 games this year
This week: @ #14 Syracuse DEAR GOD NOT IN THE FACE (Wed., 6:15pm, ESPN2); vs. Temple (Sat., 11:30am, CBS)
ACC-Big Ten Challenge and Open Thread!
We'll be getting you more coverage of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge as the week goes on. More than likely, this thread will serve as your home for Minnesota-Clemson and Rutgers-Wake Forest tonight. Go wild, you crazy kids.
As always, thanks for reading, vote in the poll, and let us know your thoughts in the comments!