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Big Ten Basketball Weekend Preview, Open Thread

Big Ten basketball is back! We’ve got your preview of the weekend’s games, with time, TV, and maybe even a thought or two.

NCAA Basketball: Big 10 Media Day
I wonder what Matt Painter ponders when he ponders existence.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports


We’ve got a full weekend of basketball, and while the games aren’t particularly elite, for those of you done with football for the year, it’s a welcome respite from Saturdays of pretending your team isn’t letting you down in new and terrible ways.

At least to kick off the year, we’re just going to give you a Google doc schedule of games and slap a few small previews together. Where OTE writers weren’t around to give you previews, though, I rambled a bit. Beware.

Anyway, here y’all go. We’ve got a full schedule with nationally-televised games at the bottom for you.

All games Central Time and televised on BTN+ unless noted.

Illinois Fighting Illini

vs. Southern Jaguars (KP 330) | Friday, 7pm
vs. UT-Martin Skyhawks (264) | Sunday, 5pm | ESPNU

Thump is already despondent and would not tell me anything more about Illinois basketball. I do not care about Southern or UT-Martin enough to tell you anything more about them, save for that Southern was Bill Carmody’s lone win in the NCAA Tournament during the magical Holy Cross run of 2016.

I did that, remember.

(Oh, this would also be the point that Thump would want you to know that after beating Illinois in their home exhibition game, Eastern Illinois turned around and lost to D-II Southern Indiana. That doesn’t seem ideal.)

Indiana Hoosiers

vs. Indiana State Sycamores (203) | Friday, 6pm
vs. Howard Bison (344) | Sunday, 7pm | BTN

Candystripes for Breakfast: If Indiana can't manage to beat a single guy named Howard, we're gonna have big, big problems this season. Hold on a moment...... I've just been informed that Howard is not just one guy, but in fact an entire University, though Indiana losing to them would still be a big, big problem.

Expect the first half to be kind of close as Indiana gets into a rhythm (something they've struggled with slightly in preseason action so far), but this one shouldn't be all that close by the final buzzer.

Iowa Hawkeyes

vs. Chicago State Cougars (334) | Friday, 8:05pm
vs. Alabama State Hornets (338) | Sunday, 3:05pm

These games will provide Iowa basketball the tune-up they so desperately need before the mightly Grambling State Tigers roll into Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Side note, fuck you, Iowa, for scheduling games at the :05 time. Did Gary Barta do some stupid shit where he sold the time rights to like, Kum-n-Go? WHEN THE HAWKS WIN, SHOW YOUR TICKET AT KUM-N-GO FOR 5 CENTS OFF A GALLON OF GAS! WOO! :05 START TIME!

But really it just reminds me of when the dumbass Chicago White Sox sold their start time rights to 7/11, meaning home games started at 7:11pm. That reference would have made sense to 30% of the Iowa student body about 10 years ago, when they were all gritty Sox fans from Naperville (WORLD SERIES WOOOOO), but they want you to know they’re huge Cubs fans, actually (WORLD SERIES WOOOOO).

Maryland Terrapins

vs. Stony Brook Seawolves (197) | Nassau Coliseum | Friday, 6pm
vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (326) | Sunday, 5pm

I don’t know if y’all have heard that we have committed a major sin by leaving Justin Jackson off the Off Tackle Empire Preseason All-B1G Team, but we committed a major sin by leaving Justin Jackson off the OTEPABT, hallowed as it is.

Anyway, sometimes Stony Brook plays some D in honor of Steve Pikiell, and they like to slow the game down, so who knows? This could give us the patented Maryland Slow Start, as the Seawolves hang around for a half while Maryland clangs 10 threes before getting down to brass tacks and rolling them by 20.

Michigan Wolverines

vs. North Florida Ospreys (295) | Saturday, 6:30pm
vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (263) | Monday, 6pm | BTN

Graham Filler: Michigan lacks depth—how will their scrubs play? Will the scrubs play?

:joy:how will that amazing high scoring transfer mesh with the whole squad??

Why hasn’t the fab five been given their second 30 by 30 after the success of the first one?

The scrubs are going to be key, my friend, as Michigan has a decent starting five, but depth will sustain this team in Big ten play.

#2 Michigan State Spartans

vs. North Florida Ospreys (295) | Friday, 7pm | BTN

Andrew Kraszewski: MSU's offense has looked a little clunky in the preseason as, get this, Izzo has played with his rotations a lot. The 3-point shooting has also been off to a slow start, and with Duke right around the corner, a sharp performance is a bit more important here than it would usually be.

#15 Minnesota Golden Gophers

vs. South Carolina Upstate Spartans | Friday, 7pm

The Spartans do not appear to be interested in what some call “defense.” I’m sure that will work out well for them as Amir Coffey and Nate Mason slash their way to the hoop and lead a rout in the Barn.

But part of me wants to play a different game this season: How many fouls will Reggie Lynch have at halftime? Please leave your predictions in the comments. Awards will be handed out at the end of the year.

We’ll include a full write-up of Minnesota’s Gavitt Games matchup with Providence on Monday in our full Gavitt Games preview!

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Eastern Illinois Panthers (205) | Saturday, 7:30pm
vs. North Texas Mean Green (303) | Monday, 7pm

Jesse Collins: Nebraska comes into this season with two major frames of thought:

(1) Despite the miracle run to the NCAA tournament with Terran Petteway, Coach Tim Miles has been something of a disappointment and this ‘prove it year’ will be nothing more than the same
(2) This team is surprisingly athletic, potentially deep with scorers, and let good, not great, talent transfer in the name of cohesion. This will be a bounceback year for Nebraska.

I’m probably somewhere in the middle as I think we still lost enough talent to probably sink Miles, but that schedule isn’t completely overwhelming. Nebraska should take it to Eastern Illinois and North Texas. It won’t mean much, but it’ll be nice to start things off with a bang. Expect a heavy dose of James Palmer, Glynn Watson, and Isaiah Roby to kick things off.

#19 Northwestern Wildcats

vs. Loyola Maryland Greyhounds (257) | Friday, 7:30pm
vs. Saint Peter’s Peacocks (194) | Monday, 7pm

Are you interested in another reason why non-conference basketball scheduling is stupid? THIS IS THE LOYOLA NORTHWESTERN HAS CHOSEN TO SCHEDULE.

Is there a Loyola, I don’t know, right down the fucking road? (Yes. Like, 5 miles, or 30 minutes on the L.) Would they probably be jazzed to host Northwestern in a year the ‘Cats aren’t play in their home arena? (Probably! And it’d save money!) Are they supposedly a competent basketball team that would not be another KP 200+ team? (Yes, KP #93!)

Instead we’re playing the fucking Greyhounds.

Oh, speaking of fun mascots, though, Northwestern will also play [/hushed, reverent tone] Defending CIT Champion Saint Peter’s Peacocks on Monday. John Donne’s club apparently plays good defense and has two JUCO transfers who might be good, but that’s not the steam here. The Peacocks somehow are projected to slow the game down even more than Northwestern already likes! That’s right, Saint Pete’s comes in a projected 347th in AdjTempo. Here are teams projected to play slower than the Peein’ Cocks:

Virginia Cavaliers (351st)
Saint Mary’s Gaels (350th)
Old Dominion Monarchs (349th)
Holy Cross Crusaders GOD I MISS YOU, BILL (348th)

What I’ve learned here is that it’s apparently very holy to play basketball at a slow tempo.

Ohio State Buckeyes

vs. Robert Morris Colonials (321) | Friday, 6pm
vs. Radford Highlanders (196) | Sunday, 1:30pm

Could the Highlanders be a sneaky good game for the Buckeyes? Probably not, as the Buckeyes are now headed to the Final Four in 2017-18, per that one Indiana troll.

As an aside, it’s quite a contrast in how teams take their walk-ons, no? Iowa takes a sure-fire D-I baseball player who’s just in it for the love of the game, nothing else; Northwestern takes sons of celebrities and heirs to pizza chain fortunes... Ohio State and Michigan take the son of a media troll who has blocked OTE on Twitter.

Seems apt.

Penn State Nittany Lions

vs. Campbell Fighting Camels (215) | Friday, 3pm
vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (259) | Sunday, 4pm

Aaron Yorke: Penn State took care of Lafayette and Division II Bloomsburg pretty easily in exhibition games last weekend, and it doesn’t look like this next pair of opponents is much stronger. Plus, Penn State returns all five starters from last season, so there shouldn’t be too many growing pains in the early going.

On the other hand, Mike Watkins might still be in the doghouse, so his presence on the court or lack thereof will be something to look for in these games.

#20 Purdue Boilermakers

vs. SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (302) | Friday, 7pm
vs. Chicago State Cougars (334) | Sunday, 3pm

Like Iowa, Purdue is using their first two games to play abysmal competition. Unlike Iowa, Purdue is using their first two games to tune up for an actual opponent (Marquette).

Not wanting to really worry about diversity or changing the letters on the visiting side of the scoreboard, though, Purdue smartly scheduled COUGARS as both their opponents. That’s just good financial sense. Mitch Daniels is such a fuckin’ fiscal conservative.

We’re also introducing a second feature: WHO WILL ISAAC HAAS KILL?, in which we post the heights and weights of opposing centers. Things actually don’t look as bad for the SIU-E Cougars:

Oh, Chicago State. We’re so, so, so sorry.

rutger Scarlet Knights

vs. City College of New York Beavers (D-III) | Friday, 6pm
vs. Central Connecticut Blue Devils (342) | Sunday, 1:30pm

My apologies to Iowa: THIS is the worst non-conference schedule. Jeez.

COMPETITION: Make your best possible Beaver jokes in the comments.

wisconsin badgers

vs. South Carolina State Bulldogs (348) | Friday, 6pm
vs. Yale Bulldogs (84) | Sunday, 5pm | BTN

Not to be outdone, wisconsin followed the lead of Purdue and traded in Cougars for BULLDOGS. [Insert joke about proclivity for inbreeding here.]

After wisconsin is done slowly strangling South Carolina State, they will turn their cheesy attention to Yale, who is playing a tough week stretch of @Creighton, @wisconsin, vs. NC State. James Jones’ club has a little size between C Paul Atkinson and PF Jordan Bruner, while G Jalen Gabbidon, at 6’5”, could cause some problems for the badger backcourt.

It should be a routine wisconsin slog to the finish, but we’ll see just how quickly Greg Gard’s club can gel this season.

Here’s your basketball open thread for through Monday. Usual rules apply. Big Ten basketball’s back, y’all!


Does a Big Ten team lose any of these games?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    (14 votes)
  • 21%
    Yes, 1.
    (5 votes)
  • 17%
    Yes, more than 1.
    (4 votes)
23 votes total Vote Now