Hi, I'm MNWildcat. You might know me as a sometimes-"writer" here at OTE. Enjoy this Weekend Basketball OpenThread!
Purdue (20-5, 8-4) at Michigan (18-7, 8-4)
1pm CST, ESPN2 || Purdue by 1.5
I'd say there's a fair chance Purdue doubles up Michigan in the rebounding column. The three towers for the Boilermakers will make hay inside, and it's up to the Wolverines to shoot the lights out from beyond the arc. With Purdue allowing opponents to shoot just 31.1% from beyond the arc (34th-best in the country), it sets up a nice meeting of strength-vs-strength at the Crisler Center, as Michigan brings its 11th-nationally 3-point shooting average of 40.9%.
Michigan, who's played their way all the way up to a 5-seed in Joe Lunardi's latest bracket, will be without the services of Caris LeVert for a little while longer, says Jim Beilein. Losing his athleticism will be a blow to the Wolverines, who will desperately need to force the Boilermakers into bad matchups on offense and keep them out of the lane (somehow) on defense.
Prediction: Purdue 69 (nice), Michigan 65
Ohio State (15-10, 7-5) at Rutgers (6-18, 0-11)
3pm CST, BTN || Ohio State by 12
Twelve-point dogs in their own building against a team that has the athleticism to make this an even longer day for Rutgers' run-at-basket-and-throw-up-bad-shot offense. This is a good time to do something else with your day.
Does Eddie Jordan survive this season? Do we have any Rutgers or Ohio State basketball fans on this board? I expect a lull in OTE traffic between 3 and 5pm.
Prediction: Ohio State 81, Rutgers 60
Penn State (12-12, 3-8) at Nebraska (13-12, 5-7)
5pm CST, BTN || Nebraska by 6.5
After a scary fall on Saturday against Rutgers, Shavon Shields is still not ready to play for Nebraska, and that's going to put more of the scoring onus on Andrew White for the Cornhuskers. There should be fireworks in White's hopeful matchup with Shep Garner, as the two could easily go for 40 points combined.
Without Shields, I'll be curious to see where the Huskers get their scoring from, and interested to see what kind of a modified rotation Tim Miles goes with to counter the athleticism of the Nittany Lions, who last year in the Big Ten Tournament logged a record 16 blocks against Nebraska. Don't expect a ton of quality possession in this one -- Nebraska is treading water at 196th nationally in assists-to-turnovers (1.01), and Penn State ranked 282nd (.88).
Prediction: Penn State 72, Nebraska 64
Wisconsin (15-9, 7-4) at #2 Maryland (22-3, 10-2)
5:30pm CST, ESPN || Maryland by 9
This is marquee as it gets for the Big Ten this Saturday, as the always-feisty Badgers head to College Park to take on the surging Terrapins. Wisconsin, now in Joe Lunardi's First Four Out, could all but punch their ticket to the Dance with a second Top-10 win. The always-lucky Terrapins (this reminder brought to you by StewMonkey13) escaped the Badgers at the Kohl Center, 63-60, back in January.
With Ethan Happ scuffling ever-so-slightly the last few games for the Badgers, junior F Vitto Brown has stepped up for the Badgers, scoring double-digits and pulling down 5 rebounds apiece in the Badgers last two wins, over Penn State and Ohio State. Maryland's strength on the inside has been abetted as of late by strong play from Robert Carter on the wings, who poses a tough matchup for Nigel Hayes and the Badgers hands-on approach to defense. I'd go so far as to call this appointment television.
Prediction: Maryland 71, Wisconsin 64
Illinois (11-13, 3-8) at Northwestern (16-9, 4-8)
7pm, BTN || Northwestern by 6.5
The wheels have all but fallen off both of these programs, as Northwestern has lost 6 of their last 7 and cast even NIT aspirations into doubt. Illinois has dropped 5 of 7 since an upset win over then-#20 Purdue, only picking up wins over Minnesota and Rutgers, and if Thumpasaurus is to be believed, has a mostly-deceased roster.
Illinois' length, as it always does, will give Northwestern fits on the perimeter, and unless any of Northwestern's three-headed
monster giant from Monty Python on the inside can gain any traction, I expect this to involve a lot of me checking my phone, sighing, and getting on with my life.
Prediction: Illinois 74, Northwestern 64
More in-depth previews to follow when I have a spare moment.
Indiana (20-5, 10-2) at #8 Michigan State (20-5, 7-5)
Indiana is 10-2 in the B1G and unranked, while Michigan State is 7-5 and still holding onto the Top 10. Strength of freakin' schedule, man.
Prediction: Michigan State 81, Indiana 75
Minnesota (6-18, 0-12) at #4 Iowa (19-5, 10-2)
Oh God, my eyes. My poor, poor eyes.
Usual open threading rules apply: No porn, no illegal streams, don't be a jackwagon. Big Ten basketball! Catch the fever!