The Gavitt Games, for the third straight year, ended in a 4-4 tie, as Illinois salvaged the series with an 82-73 win over DePaul behind Mark Smith’s career-high 21 points. That concludes a mostly “meh” stretch of games, as then-#20 Northwestern lacked the firepower to keep up with Creighton, Minnesota showed their immense potential with a road win at Providence, Maryland dominated Butler, and Xavier did us all a huge solid.
Oh, and have we talked about J.P. Macura? We should talk about J.P. Macura:
God bless you, you wonderful Minnesotan.
There’s not a ton to say in terms of teams surprising or disappointing us: Michigan needed a big run to put away Southern Mississippi, Iowa struggled with but eased past Grambling, and the Gavitt matchups for Indiana (at Seton Hall) and Nebraska (at St. John’s) showed us just how much work those two teams have to do this year.
Michigan State-Duke: The biggest fireworks came in the Champions Classic, a showdown of four of the top seven teams in the country at the United Center. The Spartans couldn’t overcome the dark magic of Coach K and the Blue Devils for what seemed like the millionth time, as Grayson Allen did fuck-face things (but scored 37 damn points) and ran circles around the Spartans defense. MSU was also done in by 17 turnovers and a -12 margin in rebounding, though Nick Ward, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Miles Bridges all chipped in 19 for what remains a very, very dangerous Blue Devils squad.
Today’s Televised Games:
Just a few going on today that we thought we’d give you a thread for, in case you don’t want to argue in SMCD or watch the NFL.
rutger is playing Coppin State right now, probably in whatever their little self-masturbatory pre-season thing is. If you’re watching it/betting on it, seek help.
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. North Dakota Fighting Hawks
1pm | BTN | UNL -10
The Fighting Hawks play fast and fun, led by G Geno Crandall (27 ppg), but they don’t play enough defense (KP 233). Whether the Huskers can rally and put together a complete performance, though, remains to be seen.
3pm | BTN | MSU -27
3:30pm | FS1 | MN -30.5
#20 Northwewstern Wildcats vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
4pm | ESPN2 | TTU -3
People are onto the flaws in Northwestern’s chances at returning to the Big Dance. While the ‘Cats kept the La Salle Explorers at arm’s length in a comfortable win yesterday afternoon, aided by the return to sharp-shooting forward Aaron Falzon, their defensive lapses have been concerning.
Texas Tech, led by G Keenan Evans (17.7 ppg), brings the firepower and experience that not even Northwestern’s four returners can match. All five of the Red Raiders’ starters are seniors, and they like to play solid defense and slow the game down. If the ‘Cats are hitting from outside, they can pull the upset and bring home hardware. Stay tuned.
5pm | BTN | IU -17.5
Even for all IU’s early struggles, this is their Hoosier Tip-Off nonsense, and they should still roll. The Bulls are slow, offensively undisciplined, and bad.
Anyway, talk about the weekend in basketball here! Boilerman will be back tomorrow with Stock Report (I think), and we’ll have a full thread to talk about the wonderful world of non-conference tournaments. Enjoy the open thread!