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Big Ten Basketball - What’s your favorite arena?

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Yeah, there’s not a lot going on. But I have free time again and am very excited about that, so I’m gonna preview some bad basketball games—I mean, talk about arenas!

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Northwestern
Gavin Skelly, being scrappy and gritty and lunch-paily and gym-ratty
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Hah, suckersssss! There’s a basketball preview here, too! Read it if you really want. There are some bad basketball games this week.

Monday

Maryland 92, Jacksonville State 66

Melo Trimble dropped 23 on 4/5 shooting, the Terrapins forced 16 turnovers, and Maryland (11-1, KP #61) cruised past Jacksonville State (5-6, KP #239) on Monday night. Justin Jackson chipped in 12 points and 6 boards for the Terps, who shot 65% from deep and 57% from the field to run the Gamecocks out of the gym.

Maryland takes a week off before wrapping up the non-conference next Monday against Charlotte (6-3, KP #185).

Tuesday

Michigan (7-3, KP #32) vs. Central Arkansas (1-8, KP #324)

Michigan -25.5 || 8pm || BTN

The Wolverines play gracious host to the Bears, who are led by guards Jordan Howard (17.2 ppg, shooting 42.6% from deep) and Derreck Brooks (15.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 42.5% from deep). While the Bears have a little length to trouble the Michigan backcourt, there’s nothing here that should cause concern. Central Arkansas is woefully inefficient on defense (326th AdjD) and their ability to push the pace should be pretty well neutralized by the Wolverines on their home court.

Wednesday

Northwestern (7-2, KP #40) vs. Chicago State (3-6, KP #337)

6pm || BTN

Woof. The Cougars have been saved from extinction but take little comfort in their schedule, having two of their three wins against NAIA East-West University (the Phantoms!) and D-III Illinois Institute of Technology (the Scarlet Hawks), the latter of whom they beat by just 8 points.

Fred Sims Jr. (17.9 ppg) and Trayvon Palmer (14.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg) do the scoring for Tracy Dildy’s club, which is nonetheless one of the worst 15 teams in college basketball and one of the worst 10 in AdjO.

Go elsewhere unless you really want some Big Ten basketball to watch at 6pm.

Rutgers (9-1, KP #132) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (2-7, KP #290)

6pm || BTN+

Another Charmin-soft game for the Scarlet Knights, who continue to win with defense and well-timed second-half runs. The Knights’ Darian Anderson averages nearly 20 points a game, and forward Mike Holloway has nice touch around the basket (13.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 56.8% FG), but Rutgers shouldn’t be troubled in this one.

Keep an eye on Rutgers forward Deshawn Freeman. The 6’7” junior from North Carolina is averaging close to a double-double (13.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and has made a pretty imposing front-court for the Scarlet Knights with transfer C CJ Gettys. Steve Pikiell’s got a nice, deep lineup (8 players running at least 16 minutes per game, no one over 28.5) and Rutgers should continue to roll on towards a date with Seton Hall at the end of next week.

Minnesota (10-1, KP #47) vs. LIU-Brooklyn (7-3, KP #285)

7pm || BTN+

The Blackbirds! I dunno, find something else to do with your time. Senior forward Jerome Frink (a healthy 6’7”, 230#) paces LIU-Brooklyn with 17.3 ppg and pulls down 8.2 boards a contest, and while the ‘Birds (I don’t know, I’m trying here) run a deep bench, look for [/closes eyes, points to roster] Nura Zanna, a 6’7” forward from Nigeria, to give the Gophers trouble inside with his athleticism.

“Fun” facts! These teams share a common opponent in St. John’s, who the Blackbirds just upset by 1, and who the Gophers escaped by 6 back in November. LIU-Brooklyn is also the 2nd-luckiest team in the NCAA, per Kenpom, while the Gophers rate out as the 18th-best defense, somehow. Move on.

#14 wisconsin (9-2, KP #8) vs. UW-Green Bay (4-5, KP #159)

8pm || BTN

The only team in wisconsin that the badgers managed to beat last year, the Phoenix are quite the contrast in styles for Greg Gard’s club: Linc Darner and Co. get out and run, playing the 8th-fastest tempo in college hoops. Unfortunately, the Phoenix are also rated 204th in AdjO and shoot just 29.4% from deep. Charles Cooper does the heavy lifting for Green Bay, scoring 13.6 ppg, while Trevor Anderson is the closest thing the Phoenix have to a deep threat (39.6%).

I dunno, I’m sure Bronson Koenig will score a bit and Ethan Happ will manhandle a Green Bay interior that features 6’10” center Kerem Kanter, younger brother of Enes. That’s exciting, right?


If I were to rank the arenas I’ve been to, considering both atmosphere and cool-ness, I would say:

(1) Mackey Arena [I’m a sucker for train noises]

(2) Williams Arena

(3) Welsh-Ryan for an exciting game [I’m biased but it gets loud and fun]

(4) Carver-Hawkeye Arena

(5) State Farm Center

(6) A root canal

(7) Welsh-Ryan for a game against Chicago State

(8) Kohl Center

And considering the rest of the conference?

(1) Assembly Hall

(2) Breslin Center

(3) whatever Maryland plays at

(4) Mackey Arena

(5) Williams Arena

(6) Welsh-Ryan for a good game [again, I am a Northwestern fan, please don’t @ me]

(7) Carver-Hawkeye Arena

(8) Crisler Center

(9) Pinnacle Bank Arena

(10) State Farm Center

(11) Value City Arena

(12) A root canal

(13) Kohl Center

(T-14) Bryce Jordan Center, the RAC

Feel free to post yours, argue about this, and impugn my “credibility” as a blogger in the comments.

And turns out that’s all we’ve got for you until a busy weekend in which Ohio State takes on UCLA, Purdue meets Notre Dame, Indiana takes on Butler, Iowa plays UNI, Northwestern and Illinois share the United Center for an afternoon of fun against Dayton and BYU, and Penn State and Rutgers do the same in Madison Square Garden against St. John’s and Fordham.

I’ve now talked about St. John’s twice in this preview and I feel weird about it. Talk about the games and arenas and whatnot here if you so choose, otherwise we’ll see you again on Saturday!