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B1G Basketball: Midweek Previews

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Northwestern can drive the final nail in Illinois’ coffin and could Nebraska upset Wisconsin?

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

If the Big Ten Tournament were to start today, this would be the following bracket, which has some shakeup at the top for the first time in weeks:

And here's how bracketology's looking:

Ratings and Bracketology Joe Lunardi (2/6) Jerry Palm (2/5) Busting Brackets (2/6)
Team KP Sag. RPI # Reg. Opponent # Reg. Opponent # Reg. Opponent
wisconsin 11 11 17 4 MW Valparaiso 3 W FGCU 3 MW East Tennesse St
Maryland 35 33 21 5 S New Mexico St 6* W Miami/Seton Hall 6 S Wake/Cal
Purdue 12 12 22 5 E Vermont 4 E Valparaiso 5 S Nevada
Northwestern 30 30 31 7 S TCU 7 W Kansas State 7 W Oklahoma St
Michigan St 49 39 47 8 MW Arkansas 10 S Xavier 9 S Virginia Tech
Indiana 41 29 74 11* S Clemson 11 MW Notre Dame 11* MW Kansas State
Minnesota 37 40 23 10 E Iowa State 10 MW Marquette 8 MW Marquette
Michigan 40 34 79 - - Next Four Out 11* E Syracuse - - -
Illinois 80 74 70 nope
Nebraska 96 94 77
Ohio State 60 57 63
Iowa 69 67 94
Penn State 92 84 86
rutger 134 127 121


Today I learned there's such a thing as an East Tennessee State! Go Buckaroos*!

That loss to Ohio State has nearly knocked Michigan off the bubble, and now the Wolverines will need some sort of signature win to stay afloat. Northwestern held pat despite losing their place in the Top 25, and Purdue's win allowed them to hop Maryland again.

Tuesday

#21 Maryland at Penn State (+3) || 6pm ET || BTN

DJ: After losing to rutger this weekend, what does Penn State do? Maryland is similarly coming off of a one point loss to Purdue and will look to recover on the road against a young Penn State team that has not established an offensive identity this season. Look for the Terps to get back on track against a Penn State team who has always stepped up and played a close game against Maryland since they joined the conference in 2014. Maryland will try to get freshmen Justin Jackson and Anthony Cowan going again as they slumped off in the last game while hopefully taking my advice and leaving Ivan Bender on the bench to shorten the rotation.

Aaron: Based on the nerd stats, Maryland isn’t as good as its AP ranking suggests, but the Turtles should still be able to beat Penn State on the road without too much trouble. That’s because the Lions have lost five of six, including a very disappointing defeat at home vs rutger on Saturday. An upset over Maryland can help turn Penn State’s season around, but for that to happen, Shep Garner must stay hot from three-point range and Lamar Stevens needs to show more of the player that dominated against Indiana. Without those two factors, the Lions will need a sterling defensive effort to keep pace with Melo Trimble and the Terps. Maryland is one of teh most turnover-prone teams in the big Ten, so Penn State must take advantage with its ability to force opponents into mistakes.

Prediction: Maryland 79, Penn State 71

Illinois at Northwestern (-6) || 8pm ET || BTN

MNWildcat: Scottie Lindsay is out, Nathan Taphorn is in. That’s 3ppg back for the ‘Cats, so LOOK OUT ILLINOIS.

Seriously, you’ve got two self-hating fanbases here (at least those of us who have’nt jumped on #TheYear bandwagon) (go buy shirts, the rest of you), and something’s got to give, right?

I’ve made it a point to watch as little Illinois basketball this season as humanly possible, and given the Illini’s scuffles on the offensive end, I’d say I’m doing it right. I am a tad concerned they can clamp down on the ‘Cats on the offensive end just like Purdue stifled Vic Law, but hopefully Taphorn’s return and an offensive gameplan that involvess "actually make a three in the first half" will push the ‘Cats over the top.

Thump is going to be fucking insufferable when Illinois wins this game.

Thump: We’re gonna lose.

Michigan State at Michigan (-4) || 9:00pm ET || ESPN

DJ: Michigan State won the front end of the home/home last week with Michigan but expect another close contest between the two on the second game. Can Michigan State get something out of a player not named Nick Ward or Miles Bridges? Cassius Winston stepped up last time but guard play is sorely lacking in East Lansing and is the achilles heal of this team.

Wednesday

rutger at Ohio State || 7:00pm ET || BTN

DJ: Can rutger capitalize on its first ever Big Ten road win and go for another? Don’t count on it as Jae’Sean Tate will most likely single handedly destroy any hope rutger may think they have.

Iowa at Minnesota || 9:00pm ET || BTN

DJ: Iowa travels to The Barn to take on Minnesota in the second half of Wednesday’s double header where they will try to improve upon so far dismal road performances this year. Peter Jok returned last game against Minnesota to provide a spark for Iowa in the 81-70 victory and will need to be his dominant self if Iowa hopes to win against Minnesota.

Stew: Iowa has won their last 3, and Jok is back (mostly) healthy. Look for Iowa to make hay against MN’s second teamers, as Brady Ellingson and Nicholas Hunchback Baer will likely drive the gophers nuts. But this is still a team whose best road win is rutger, so yeah, I think they can get it done against the gophers. The Hawkeyes will hopefully burn down the barn as when they leave the frozen hellscape.

Thursday

#16 Purdue at Indiana || 7:00pm ET || ESPN2

DJ: Can Purdue capitalize off its two straight wins over Top 25 teams when they travel to the Hall of Calls? Caleb Swanigan vs. Thomas Bryant should be a great individual matchup to watch. Both teams can get hot from three so this one could be a great one all around.

#7 Wisconsin at Nebraska || 9:00pm ET || BTN

DJ: Wisconsin has looked anemic on offense but what else is new. Without Ed Morrow, Ethan Happ is going to run free in this game unless someone from Nebraska steps up. Tai Webster and Glyn Watson can’t do it all for Nebraska but they will certainly try.