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B1G Basketball Open Thread: Week Recap (kinda), Weekend Preview, ohmygod Nebrasketball is going Dancing

Pinnacle Bank Arena is a damn fortress and Nebrasketball can’t lose there. Also we ask just how bad Minnesota and Northwestern are, whether Illinois could actually win 6 games in the Big Ten, and if rutger won’t actually play on Wednesday in the BTT.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

In lieu of actually giving consistently-good basketball coverage, we’re instead opting for spotty coverage with spicy-ass takes at weird times. You know, the Off Tackle Empire way!

Oh shit, Power Polls. Right. Damnit. I should get back on that. Maybe once the Vikings lose.

Just as an aside, I’d like to mention that this is because of how badly Jim Delany’s desire to bend over and let New York just shove it right in this region’s ass that we’re stuck with this horseshit basketball schedule. You’ll see it when Minnesota and Ohio State play a ridiculous double-header in Madison Square Garden: No one fucking wants New York.

I guess who knows—I’ve been wrong about everything else. But does anyone really give a shit about Big Ten Super Saturday? Is it doing anything more than allowing Little Richard to grab one more coveted 4* chucker from NYC?

No, probably not. It’s going to be Minnesota and Ohio State in big, dumb, empty MSG, and then this basketball season will be over a week earlier, and we’ll play a big stupid Big Ten Tournament in an empty stadium a week earlier, alongside the likes of the MEAC, Southland, and Patriot League conferences, probably.

Fuck New York.


We prefer to keep our coverage of individual teams more...avant-garde. Do you think you should be doing the recaps for your chosen team? Email us! We’re actually specifically looking to add a wisconsin writer right now, so...keep that in mind, too.


#23 Michigan Wolverines 68, Maryland Terrapins 67

DJ: I admit, for a second I thought Maryland had pulled it off until I remembered there was 2.8 seconds to go and it was Mark Turgeon calling the defensive play. As Graham can attest, I had zero faith and was peoven right. It is starting to get easier to see this happen as you expect it more and more from Turgeon coached teams.

Minnesota Golden Gophers 95, Penn State Nittany Lions 84 (OT)

Aaron: Penn State played one of its worst defensive games of the season, as Jordan Murphy pushed the team around while Dupree McBrayer was allowed to get any shot he wanted en route to a career-high 24 points. The Lions had a chance to come back late thanks to an outstanding performance by Tony Carr, but the heroics didn’t last into overtime. Minnesota’s Jamir Harris came out of nowhere to score 10 points in the extra period and put the game away.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 64, Illinois Fighting Illini 63

Jesse: This was literally the dumbest game for pretty much the first 38.5 minutes with both Illinois and Nebraska doing their best impression of rec-league hero ball (but with the talent of overweight middle-aged men from the insurance company next to the gym). Terrible shots, awful turnovers, and more 3s taken than should ever be allowed for this bad of shooting made this an awful night... But then Illinois got a 4 point play to go up with 8 seconds and Nebraska did this:

It was neat.


#3 Purdue Boilermakers 78, wisconsin badgers 50

WSR (temporary wisconsin writer): Welp. bucky got their teeth kicked in by Purdue. So that was nice.


#22 Ohio State Buckeyes 71, Northwestern Wildcats 65

MNW: Twenty-seven threes. Northwestern shot twenty-seven fucking threes. They made 8.

Look, this bullshit works for the Houston Rockets, but it’s not working for Northwestern unless they’re playing whatever three players are left at Minnesota. I guess Chris Collins is out of answers, save not wearing ties, playing some zone, and telling the trio of Vic Law, Scottie Lindsey, and Bryant McIntosh to just keep fucking shooting.

It’s not working, and this team is finishing in a Wednesday slot in the BTT.

rutger Scarlet Knights 80, Iowa Hawkeyes 64

MNW: If I were guessing the Big Ten Tournament opening day right now? Give me wisconsin against Illinois in the 11-14 matchup and Northwestern facing off with Iowa in the 12-13. I have absolutely no confidence in the ‘Cats, the badgers are just a one-man show, and when that show is a white center who’s been matched by centers like Dererk Pardon in years past, I don’t buy it.

No, the Knights are playing exactly what Steve Pikiell wants—a lot of ugly defense and rebounding, with offense that will slowly but surely come together. I don’t know if I buy that this is a model that I’ll ever be projecting to win more than 7-8 B1G games in a year, but there are two caveats there:

  1. rutger fans are likely very pleased with the concept of winning 8 Big Ten games, and
  2. If Steve Pikiell gets a 4* guard who can take over games, holy shit, maybe rutger goes .500 in 4-5 years.

Stew: Iowa is very bad. But they are incredibly consistent in how their badness manifests itself. Horrible turnovers lead to easy baskets for opponents (17 turnovers leading to ~25 rutger points). Meanwhile their horrible perimeter defense allows even the most terrible of shooting teams (rutger) to have the best shooting night of their season.

rutger was shooting about 30% on 3s going into the game, and then shot 44% against Iowa. Iowa let rutger, rUTGER!, score 80 points in the game. It’s Bohannon, Cook, and the island of misfit turnovers. And Bohannon is terrible on defense.


Maryland Terrapins 77, Minnesota Golden Gophers 66

WSR: Minnesota played Maryland in basketball in Maryland. The game of basketball in Maryland against Maryland did not go well for Minnesota.

DJ: Minnesota should consider guarding Kevin Huerter a little closer on the 3 point line. Huerter sunk 3s all night long and used drives into the paint to open up Michael Cekovsky for easy alley-oops when Minnesota’s bigs would collapse in help defense. Maryland kept running the same variation of plays and Minnesota kept doing the same dumb thing over and over on defense to let it happen. Honesty that has to be on their coach more than anything to drive home to stop leaving your man for help defense.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 72, #23 Michigan Wolverines 52

GF: Michigan survived miraculously against Maryland; they looked exhausted and uninspired except for a run of three balls.

Then Nebraska ran ‘em out of the gym, playing utterly inspired defense and looking quicker than a Michigan team that was supposed to feature a ton of quick, talented guards. Nebraska perimeter play > UM perimeter play > MSU perimeter play. You figure it out.

Jesse: Nebraska switched every damn screen and Michigan lost its mind. Nebraska also was good on offense because they weren’t forced to play in the halfcourt due to so much transition basketball. This team is good enough to make a run.


Friday, January 19

Indiana Hoosiers (11-7, 4-2 B1G) at #9 Michigan State Spartans (16-3, 4-2)

6pm | FS1 | MSU -14.5 | O/U 144

Andrew K: MSU hasn’t played in a week and looked like hot trash when they last did.

Illinois Fighting Illini (10-9, 0-6) at Wisconsin Badgers (9-10, 2-4)

8pm | FS1 | uw -4.5 | O/U 133.5

WSR (temporary wisconsin writer): wisconsin gets a shot at Illinois in the round-robin fight to the death to see who the worst team in the B1G is. I think with that with their overall roster talent and coaching, wisconsin can still make a run at last place I’d like to say that wisconsin has a chance against Illinois, but in the end it doesn’t matter. Life is fleeting, Gard is garbage, eat Arby’s.

Saturday, January 20

#3 Purdue Boilermakers (18-2, 7-0) at Iowa Hawkeyes (10-10, 1-6)

11am | ESPN


The Iowa AD is attempting to sell us something.

#22 Ohio State Buckeyes (16-4, 7-0) “at” Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-7, 3-5)

11am | BTN | Madison Square Garden, for some fucking reason

WSR: We play Ohio State in a basketball game which will be contested in New York City. This makes no sense to me:

First of all, there’s no reason to be in New York City. It’s not a B1G city at all.

Secondly, Buckeyes are poisonous. And I do like some things that are poisonous, like poinsettias. Poinsettias are festive and jolly and only bad if you have a dog that likes to eat things. And my dog loves to eat things, which makes me sad because I like poinsettias. But it’s OK because my dog is pretty happy, especially in the snow, so it’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

Penn State Nittany Lions (13-7, 3-4) at Northwestern Wildcats (11-9, 2-5)

1pm | BTN | Allstate Arena, for some fucking reason

MNW: The last time these two teams met, they played in a cavernous, oddly blue-tinted arena with about 5,000 fans in attendance, and lost by 15 as one of Penn State’s Very Good Recruits (that time it was Lamar Stevens) went off for like 60 points or whatever.

This time, when these two teams meet, they’ll play in a cavernous, oddly blue-tinted arena with about 5,000 fans in attendance.

You do the fucking math.

Aaron: Plus, the Lions have alternating wins and losses dating back to December. The trend could continue for a while since the next five games are this one, at Ohio State, vs. Rutgers, at Michigan State, and vs. Iowa. This would be fine if I thought that a .500 league mark would be good enough for a tourney bid this season. Instead, Penn State fans will probably find themselves wondering if an NIT appearance counts as “progress” for the Pat Chambers era. But yeah, let’s take care of business in Chicago (BJC West!) first.

Sunday, January 21

rutger Scarlet Knights (12-8, 2-5) at #23 Michigan Wolverines (16-5, 5-3)

11am | BTN

MNW: I don’t want to be all “toot toot, all about the rutger express” because of a win over an Iowa team that looks absolutely impotent,, this rutger D is fun to watch. Will their height be a major liability against the Wolverines, though? Michigan struggled against Nebraska’s swarming defense to get dribble penetration, but they go deeper at the wings than the Knights have had to defend.

I like Moritz Wagner to use his athleticism against the rutger bigs, but more importantly, if the Knights aren’t switching screens (something which, I’ll be honest, I don’t remember seeing against Iowa, but in no way means they weren’t), Michigan is going to be able to kick out for a few threes. Drag this game into the 50s, and maybe rutger steals a road one. But give me the Wolverines, if by an uncomfortably close margin.

Open thread here. Enjoy the city so nice we played pointless tournaments in it twice.