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Big Ten Tournament: Day 1 Recaps; Day 2 Previews, TV, Time, Open Thread

This is where the sadness begins, folks.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Northwestern
HOW HAVE WE NOT TALKED ABOUT THIS PICTURE YET THIS SEASON
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I am going to Washington, D.C.

Dear God, I have made a horrible (sober) mistake.

Pray for me.

Recaps

Penn State 76, Nebraska 67 (OT)

Holy shit, Mike Watkins. 18 points, 11 rebounds...and 8 blocks. Eight. Goddamn. That is just stellar and the Philly phresman has put everyone on notice.

In the meantime, Penn State overcame an abysmal day at the office from Tony Carr (11 points on just 3/13 shooting, 0/4 from deep) and weathered a poor-shooting but balanced Husker attack, as Tai Webster missed one too many down the stretch to score just 12 on 4/16 shooting and 2/9 shooting from deep. Ugly.

We’ll talk about Tim Miles’ job security sometime soon. In the meantime, Nebraska fans will remain split over Shawn Eichhorst’s decision to keep him and continue to wait for an NCAA Tournament win.

THE rutger 66, ohio 57

Dear God.

Salt the fucking earth after this one.

Shred, burn, and bury the tape. This was awful. Don’t let Nigel Johnson’s 21 or Jae’Sean Tate’s 18 fool you. While rutger dominated the boards 47-31, both teams managed about 30% from deep and looked awful doing it.

This, of course, means Northwestern will lose to THE rutger today. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes collapse to the lower half of the NIT and have to hope they can salvage the right side of a 4-5 matchup if they hope to play another came in Columbus at all.

Previews

[8] Michigan vs. [9] Illinois

UM: 20-11 (10-8); KP 25; RPI 46

IL: 18-13 (8-10); KP 67; RPI 58

11am || BTN || UM -4.5

Thump: We did this two years ago. Needing a win to keep our bubble hopes alive, we played Michigan in the 8/9 game with a couple phenomenal seniors (one that could play anywhere, the other our only post presence).

The Fighting Illini could very well make the tournament if they beat the Wolverines. They lit them up once this year. The question is...will they care? Will they show up? And even if they do, will it be enough to get John Groce his third win against Michigan here at the end of his fifth year?

I doubt it. Michigan by 10, but only after Illinois cuts a 20+ point deficit to 4 only to fade away again.

[5] Michigan State vs. [13] Penn State

MSU: 18-13 (10-8); KP 50; RPI 47

PSU: 15-17 (6-12); KP 80; RPI 96

Approx. 1:25pm || BTN

Aaron Yorke: Miles Bridges had just four points on 2-for-8 shooting during Michigan State's loss to Penn State at the Palestra back in January. The Nittany Lions play some pretty good defense, especially when Josh Reaves and Mike Watkins are on the floor at the same time, but it's not good enough to explain a physical freak like Bridges being held to his lowest scoring output of the season.

If the fabulous freshman does indeed get his buckets in this one, Penn State will need Tony Carr to play better than he did against Nebraska in order to keep up. Carr looked awful while shooting the ball on Wednesday, but he looked great when passing to Mike Watkins, who set a Big Ten Tournament record with eight blocks to go with his 18 points and 11 rebounds.

However, against Michigan State, I expect Watkins to be neutralized by the large body of Nick Ward, who can draw fouls and gobble up rebounds with the best big men in the country. I see Michigan State winning this one thanks to Ward getting Watkins in foul trouble and Bridges reaching his scoring average efficiently.

[7] Iowa vs. [10] Indiana

IA: 18-13 (10-8); KP 66; RPI 71

IN: 17-14 (7-11); KP 46; RPI 81

5:30pm || ESPN2 || IN -1.5

Candystripes: For some reason, there's some optimism that if IU beats Iowa, they might sneak into the field of 68, rather than the NIT. Why this exists, I don't know, but considering IU historically underperforms at the BTT, we're probably entering the last 2 (maybe 3) games of the season [and possibly Tom Crean's tenure as head basketball coach, if the rumors surrounding Mizzou et al are anywhere close to true].

As far as the actual game being played goes, the Hoosiers need to 1) shut down Peter Jok, 2) either go to the free throw line more or keep Iowa from doing so, and 3) play at least 30 minutes of real, legitimate defense. Fail to do at least one of those, and you'll have an entire weekend free of game-playing obligations.

Stewmonkey13: I'm a bit terrified of this game. Indiana is more talented (by recruiting numbers) and more experienced, and is possibly playing for Crean's job. Iowa is now back on the bubble, against long odds, so there are real stakes here, and we'll see how the young team responds.

Win and tourney dreams stay alive for a little while longer. Lose? Well, I guess at least then Peter Jok will get at least one more home game.

[6] Northwestern vs. [14] THE rutger

NU: 21-10 (10-8); KP 36; RPI 51

ru: 15-17 (3-15); KP 127; RPI 168

Approx. 8pm || ESPN2

Just get this over with.

CJ Gettys and Shaq Doorson and whatever other massive stiffs THE rutger trots out will continue to get offensive boards over Northwestern unless Chris Collins has come up with a solution to get Dererk Pardon and Gavin Skelly more active on the boards. Meanwhile, the ‘Cats will need to come up with some offensive flow to free up Bryant McIntosh and Scottie Lindsey. Some improved shooting from Vic Law couldn’t hurt, either.

Let’s just get this over with. Kill me now.


Here’s your open thread! Talk about ‘em here. Usual rules apply.