Welcome! It’s finally Day One of the Big Ten Tournament, and with a glut of teams in the conference’s 5-11 spots and no real clubhouse leader (save Purdue), it’s anyone’s game (well, besides rutger) in Washington, D.C.
The Verizon Center, home of the Georgetown Hoyas, Washington Capitals, and Washington Bullets, plays host to the Big Ten for some reason, as our beloved Midwestern teams head to the banks of the Potomac to see where Columbus sailed the ocean blue or Washington surprised the Hessians or something.
Anyways, your Day One previews! All times still CT, because this is the Midwest, goddamnit. And be sure to go pick the BTT winner if you haven’t already!
 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs.  Penn State Nittany Lions
UNL: 12-18 (6-12 B1G); KP 105; RPI 91
PSU: 14-17 (6-12); KP 82; RPI 96
3:30pm || ESPN2 || PSU -1.5
BigRedTwice: What I want to happen: Nebraska comes out and kicks the crap out of PSU (much like they did a mere six games ago). They play with renewed purpose and shoot an astonishing 40%!
What I think will happen: Something seems to have broken on this team after the OSU game--gone were the pesky Huskers who could hang around with any team in the conference. Given how poorly they've been playing of late, it's hard to see them winning. But Huskers--I'd love to be proven wrong!
Aaron Yorke: Since the last time these two teams played, they've both lost four games. At least Penn State came really, really close to knocking off Purdue and Ohio State, though. Nebraska, on the other hand has just looked plain lousy coming into the Big Ten Tournament.
Still, it's hard to shake off the fact that the Huskers won that previous meeting by 16 points while playing very efficiently on offense. The Lions have got to stop Jordy Tshimanga on the inside this time around and force Nebraska to take more jump shots.
On the other end, it would help if Penn State could knock down a few three-pointers against a Nebraska defense that has gotten rained on all season. I'll go with the Lions for the win because they've been the better team lately and should be able to handle the Huskers outside of Lincoln.
MNW’s Pick: Nebraska, 69-65
 Ohio State Buckeyes vs.  rutger Scarlet Knights
OSU: 17-14 (7-11); KP 70; RPI 80
rut: 14-17 (3-15); KP 131; RPI 168
6:00pm || BTN || OSU -7.5
It still surprises me to learn that the Buckeyes are a Top-50 team in Kenpom’s offensive efficiency, but there you have it. They’ll meet a similarly slow-paced club in the Scarlet Knights, who have adopted Steve Pikiell’s preferred dogged defensive style but struggled to move beyond the patented rutger method(TM) of offensive rebounding off shots thrown at the basket harder than a Giovanni Rescigno slant.
Part of the Buckeyes’ renewed vigor in inning two of their last three has been the elevated and efficient play of All-B1G Honorable Mention Jae’Sean Tate, who’s averaged almost 16 ppg while shooting 54% from the field and pulling down 9 boards a contest over that stretch. The junior forward should be able to use his size to get to the basket.
Meanwhile, the Knights will lean on Deshawn Freeman (11.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg), whose 21 points propelled rutger to a home win over Illinois to close out the season. A lot of this one will depend on the shooting efficiency of Corey Sanders, who continues to take an overwhelming plurality of the Knights’ shots but shoots just 38.4% from the field and 27.4% from deep.
The only time these two met this season, Kam Williams scored 23 points and Trevor Thompson had a double-double as the Knights’ defense forced 15 turnovers and made it interesting in Columbus. I’m rooting for Heroic CJ Gettys to go out on a high in this one, but Ohio State is too athletic and efficient inside for rutger down the stretch. Game’s closer than the score indicates.
MNW’s Pick: Ohio State, 68-59
Those games not quite doing it for you? Here’s some of the other action you can catch today:
1pm, ESPN: Clemson vs. Duke
2pm, PAC12 just kidding no one gets that and who cares
2pm, ESPN3: Louisiana-Monroe vs. Arkansas State
5pm, ESPN3: Central Arkansas vs. Sam Houston State
5pm, ESPN3: Bethune-Cookman vs. North Carolina Central
6pm, FS1: Georgetown vs. St. John’s
6pm, ESPNU: Oklahoma vs. TCU
6pm, ESPN2: Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech
6:30pm, CBSSN: Lehigh vs. Bucknell (Patriot League Final)
8pm, ESPNU: Texas vs. Texas Tech
8pm, ESPN2: Pitt vs. Virginia
8:30pm, FS1: DePaul vs. Xavier
A lot of other games on ESPN3, too. Look them up yourself; I’m bored.
And here’s your open thread to talk all of the Wednesday action in college basketball! Usual rules apply; thanks for making OTE your home for Big Ten basketball!
-MNW, BRT, Aaron, and the OTE Squeakyfouls Gang