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Big Ten Basketball Weekend Preview and Open Thread

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Priming you for the games ahead

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings from a plane headed to Vegas! Before I dive head first into a swimming pool of liquor, buffets, and wall-to-wall sportsbook action (seriously, just about any sport is on the table if I’m in the mood), MNW requested that I preview this weekend’s slate of B1G “action.”

On paper, there are some decent matchups Friday and Saturday, Nebraska and Penn State appear to be grind-it-out type of teams. Purdue looks to escape the NorthWoods with their ACLs in good condition (please don’t let Robbie Hummel call this game). There’s an in-state “rivalry” game in East Lansing. Then Sunday hits. Northwestern in Bloomington would be a good game in year’s past, but these teams aren’t that good and Ohio State would like to make quick work of rutger.

/Glances at Michigan State

Umm, yeah.

Friday, January 12

Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-6, 3-2 B1G) at Penn State Nittany Lions (12-6, 2-3 B1G)

7PM ET | BTN

The weekend kicks off with what appears to be a decent showdown between Nebraska and Penn State. Both of these teams are in decent standing for a NIT bid with Nebraska starting to creep up in the RPI and probably an outside (like, very outside, but still) shot at the NCAA bubble conversation. The Huskers have been pesky this season giving Kansas fits and have a pre-meltdown Minnesota win to their name as well. Meanwhile, Penn State needs to protect homecourt if they want to stay in the conversation for the Little Dance. The Fighting Nits are balanced with all their starters in double digits PPG whereas Nebraska will counter with the athletic James Palmer Jr. and a deeper bench. The Huskers lack of outside shooters makes me nervous about granting them the road W. Give me Penn State by 4.

Poll

Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Tim Miles’ Children of the Corn
    (17 votes)
  • 43%
    Pat Chambers’ Philly Connection
    (13 votes)
30 votes total Vote Now

Saturday, January 13

#5 Purdue Boilermakers (16-2, 5-0 B1G) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-5, 2-3 B1G)

Noon ET | ESPN2

In what should have been a big time showdown has now lost its luster.Given all the issues that Little Ricky is dealing with right now, the last thing he needed was an undisciplined effort against a struggling Northwestern team. Before the week started, I would have pegged this as Purdue being a 5-8 point favorite. I now expect this to be at 10+. The Boilers are riding high after stealing a win in Michigan. Isaac Haas no longer will have to worry about Reggie Lynch giving him fits like their last trip to The Barn. I expect him to dominate down low and Purdue’s shooters to fire over the top. Minnesota should put up a decent fight, but I see Purdue putting this one away. Give me Purdue by 15.

Poll

Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Choo choo
    (51 votes)
  • 17%
    No, seriously, you’re picking Purdue, right?
    (12 votes)
  • 7%
    Whatever’s left of Little Ricky’s dignity
    (5 votes)
68 votes total Vote Now

Michigan Wolverines (14-4, 3-2 B1G) at #4 Michigan State Spartans (16-2, 4-1 B1G)

Noon ET | Fox

Michigan State is in a bit of a funk, aren’t they? The near-disaster against rutger should serve as a bit of a wakeup call. At least that’s what the Sparty faithful are surely thinking after laying an egg in Columbus and Wednesday night’s performance. Unfortunately for Sparty, they now draw their neighbors to the East. The fighting Beileiners will likely come in pissed off after having the game against Purdue taken away from them. The combo of Moe Wagner along with emerging Charles Matthews should give Sparty’s defense a bit of a challenge. Michigan has the shooters to hang, but I see the Spartans righting the ship in front of the Izzone. Give me MSU by 5.

Poll

Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Sparty on a questionable call to end the game
    (41 votes)
  • 37%
    Don’t Stop Beilein
    (25 votes)
66 votes total Vote Now

Sunday, January 14

Northwestern Wildcats (11-7, 2-3 B1G) at Indiana Hoosiers (10-7, 3-2 B1G)

3:30 PM ET | CBS

Northwestern’s reward for beating up on a shorthanded and dysfunctional Minnesota team? A trip to Bloomington take on a Hoosier squad on a bit of a rebound. Not that either team is moving the needle right now. However, this is an opportunity for Northwestern to get a decent road win. De’ron Davis has been ruled out for the season, which leaves a short IU roster even shorter. Expect Northwestern to work some inside out game. Ultimately, I think this ends up a very close contest with IU winning late. Give me Hoosiers by 2.

Poll

Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Hoosiers
    (8 votes)
  • 48%
    Wildcats
    (38 votes)
  • 41%
    Some Assembly Required Hall
    (33 votes)
79 votes total Vote Now

Ohio State Buckeyes (13-4, 4-0 B1G) at rutgre Scarlet Knights (11-7, 1-4 B1G)

7PM | BTN

Another top B1G team heads into the RAC to take on Rutgre. Unlike their near-heroic takedown of Sparty, I expect a bit of a letdown. The Buckeye reload project keeps firing on all cylinders. Get some of whatever it is you use to dry your tears, or maybe not. You may want the tears to blur your vision. I’ll take the Buckeyes by 25.

Poll

Who ya got?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Brutus
    (33 votes)
  • 36%
    butt
    (31 votes)
  • 24%
    Boilerman’s liver by the time this game tips
    (21 votes)
85 votes total Vote Now

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