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Who’s your B1G Basketball Spirit Animal?

Recapping a topsy-turvy week of Big Ten basketball.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Last night I watched a disgusting “basketball game” which approximated Family Guy’s Greased-Up Deaf Guy trying to grip and hump a rusty toolbox to the tune of the drum fill from “In the Air Tonight.”

Yes, Northwestern beat rutger on the road at what some people called the “historic” RAC (I’m calling Welsh-Ryan Arena “historic” from now on because why the fuck not, even if the New Jersey Nets never played there like they did in Piscataway). But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

As a male who weighed in senior year of high school at 6’2”, 180#, and now stands 6’3” and weighs...considerably more than that... I do still remember being the pudgy tall kid in traveling basketball during 6th and 7th grade.

But I never got to make a career out of that.

Have you seen rutger transfer C CJ Gettys? If you haven’t, please watch him. He is a fucking work of art on the basketball court. I mean, I love Luka Mirkovic. That facemask-wearing, mouthpiece-throwing, three sign-throwing Serbian bastard stole my heart poppin’ long balls from the top of the key in the Princeton Offense. He will always have my heart.

But you need to watch CJ Gettys.

Here is Gettys at UNC-Wilmington.

Here is Gettys at rutger.

The man is just poetry in motion. Now, he’s no Andre Almeida.

But my god, there’s just a the way those two men play basketball. Thank you, CJ and Andre, for giving me a reason to believe.

Let’s recap some games.

Maryland 75, Indiana 72

Candystripes: Well, damn. Guess we're not finishing top 4.

MNW: Well said, buddy.

DJ: See this is the game that gives me hope for the season. We are watching the freshmen grow from game to game but holy shit are you guys going to hate Kevin Huerter while he is at Maryland. His 11 points and 7 rebounds were clutch in the game but more importantly, trailing by two with under two to go, Huerter dropped an open 3, made a huge rebound on defense and hit fellow freshman Anthony Cowan with a great outlet pass for the transition layup immediately after. He just has a nose for the ball at all times.

Damonte Dodd was the MVP of this game with 6 points, boards and blocks, however ominous that is. He completely shutdown pre season All American Thomas Bryant in the paint, holding him to a season low six points while contesting anything that came his way in a career high 32 minutes of action. I could deal with that every game moving forward.

Michigan State 65, #24 Minnesota 47

Minnesota finally looked young.

Michigan State took Dupree McBrayer away in the second half, Reggie Lynch continued to struggle with foul trouble, and Amir Coffey could not hit as the Spartans dominated the Gophers to complete the season sweep.

Seriously, how the hell is Michigan State making this happen?

...oh, best 2pt- and 3pt-defended percentage? 2nd-best shooting percentage from two? Most assists and second-most defensive rebounds? All despite lacking Miles Bridges for part of the conference schedule and having Nick Ward as the big man?

Screw it. Michigan State is going to win the conference and probably sit on the 5-line again. Let’s just embrace this shit.

Illinois 85, Michigan 69 (nice)

The Illini are gonna shoot 64% from the field and deep every game, right? A 17-2 run to close out the first half broke this one wiiiide open in Champaign was aided by transfer Kipper Nichols’ 13 and 8 off the bench, while Jalen Coleman-Lands was an unconscious 4/5 from deep for all of his 12 points and the Illinois grabbed a ridiculous 8 offensive rebounds on just 21 opportunities.

Maverick Morgan added 16 and was in Mo Wagner’s head all night (ze German had just 6 points), and DJ Wilson’s 19 points (on 8/12 shooting) just weren’t enough for the Wolverines, who briefly closed the lead to 9 but were never competitive after the big first half run.

This Week’s Exercise in Thump’s Drunken Musings:

When faced with shots that open...yep

I don't know how that shit happened

Michigan got problems

@grahamfiller: you got trouble

Right here in river city

With a capital T and it rhymes with B and that stands for Boards

#18 wisconsin 89, Ohio State 66

The Kohl Center is no easy place to play for opponents, but I think it’s safe to say that in a post-Keita Bates-Diop, peri-multiple hyphen era, the wheels are off in Columbus.

I didn’t watch this game, don’t really feel like saying much nice about wisconsin, and have little to add to the train-wreck first four games that has been Ohio State’s performance in conference play.

Bronson Koenig, you’ll be stunned to learn, missed some shots and then made a fuck-ton of them, dropping 21 points. It’s a tall task to run the man off the line for a full 40 minutes, but that seems to be necessary (along with getting Ethan Happ out of the game—he had another 11 boards) to beating the badgers.

Que sera, sera.

Northwestern 69 (nice), rutger 60

Vic Law’s 23 points constituted a third of Northwestern’s pitiful effort from the field (3/20 overall from deep), and while the ‘Cats couldn’t do a bit of boxing out inside in the first half and were generally out-hustled by the Scarlet Knights, they found a way to keep the dream alive in the “historic” RAC.

Deshawn Freeman had 8 of his game-high 15 rebounds in the first four minutes (he added 12 points), but the second half belonged to Dererk Pardon inside—8 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 blocks—and the ‘Cats front line, which nabbed 20 offensive rebounds (50% Oreb%) to stymie rutger, which grabbed one more offensive rebound (21) than defensive (20).

Yeah, this game was just fucking ugly. Sanjay Lumpkin was godawful, and Gavin Skelly’s bull-in-a-china-shop routine was brilliant on the boards and abysmal most other places. Yet rutger’s Nigel Johnson (2/14 for 8 points) was equal to the derp-task, and the Knights shooting 21/69 (nice) from the field and 1/12 from deep underscored a game of...just total shit, really.

ZuzuRU: My analysis. Pikiell can coach some D. But he NEEDS to recruit some shooters and sucking at 3's hurts us. This has been an overly obvious analysis from Zuzu.

MNW: Well-said, and I stand by my preseason assessment that rutger will sneak up on one or two teams this year. That front line should do soooo much more damage than they do.

Iowa 83, #17 Purdue 78

The Big Ten remains full of blood and spiders.

Despite an underwhelming-ish atmosphere in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the place came alive as Iowa rode Peter Jok’s 29 points (11/19 shooting) to make up a 9-point halftime deficit and give Purdue its first loss to a non-Top 25 team.

The Hawkeyes kept Caleb Swanigan off the boards, keeping him under a double-double (17 and 8) for the first time in conference play, and turned in a hot shooting night from the field en route to a strong upset win to keeping their dreams of postseason play alive.

Creighton: This isn’t the first game Iowa has won by overcoming dumb mistakes and sloppy play, it’s just that Purdue isn’t, you know.....Rutgers. Iowa hit 43% of their shots from behind the arch while pulling down 7 more boards than Purdue, but man they couldn’t hit a free throw to save their lives.

Whatever though, Iowa won a game I was 100% sure they were going to be blown out of. They’re 3-2 in conference play (which I wouldn’t have ever expected going in), Fran is actually winning a few close games and using all his timeouts, and rutger still sucks. Win or lose, Iowa is fun as hell to watch.

Stew: My wife surprised me with tickets and a babysitter the morning of the game. Coming off the previous blowout and just being an all around bad matchup, I was just hoping to be competitive.

Holy crap, what a game. Both teams combined to go about 40% from 3 and about 50% from the field. And the defense was pretty damn good all the way around. And I wouldn't have believed it possible for any team, let alone this undersized Iowa squad, to double up Purdue on points in the paint, especially when neither Haas or Swanigan were in foul trouble. Also, seeing those two and Jok in person is pretty amazing. This was an exceedingly fun game.

In the meantime, tell us your Big Ten basketball spirit animal! Was it a scrappy end-of-bencher who knocked down that one three? A lunchpaily, gym-ratty, all-B1G Defense player? Someone else?

Anyone who says Chris fucking Kramer will be banned.