Apparently we’re doing talking about the Big Ten’s 7-1 bowl season. Or maybe we’re not and it’s just coming. But Big Ten basketball is starting! We can talk about both...right?
All times GTZ.
Tuesday, January 2
Indiana Hoosiers (8-6, 1-1 B1G) at wisconsin badgers (8-7, 1-1)
6pm | ESPN | wi -5 | O/U 134
MNW: The badgers have scored exactly 81 or 82 points in their last four games, all victories. If they score 81 or 82 tonight, I predict that they will win again. That’s why you come to OTE: for the hottest of takes.
Michigan Wolverines (12-3, 1-1) at Iowa Hawkeyes (9-6, 0-2)
6pm | ESPN2 | MI -3 | O/U 142
Graham Filler: Michigan is now, if you haven't heard, a basketball school, thus putting new pressure on Coach Beilein and the whole squad. Michigan parlayed some nice wins over UCLA and Texas into a surprisingly solid non-conference record of 11-2. The shooting is decent, the defense is improving...and somehow oh my god, Michigan is rated in this power poll as #3 [MNW: this one, too! And the writers are much better-looking!] in the Big Ten. Might even get a sympathy bid into the NCAA.
Michigan doesn't actually have a Top 25 defense, it's all a mirage and a product of the shot clock shortening.
However, wins over Illinois and Iowa, which would traditionally mean something and are now nothing more than 40 minutes of snuffing out sadness, one bricked long ball at a time...will be cathartic to the Wolverine's soul.
Stew: While Iowa has won 5 in a row, only one of those was against anything close to like competition, Colorado. So, their recent improvement may come with a grain of salt, but it is still, I think, notable. Against NIU, Iowa tied a school record for assists in a game, and that’s fairly impressive improvement in ball movement, even taking competition into account. Michigan isn’t exactly known for causing turnovers, and it’s a home game, so there’s some hope that Iowa could pull the upset. At the same time, until I see some consistency against conference opponents, I’m going to be a bit of a pessimist.
Penn State Nittany Lions (11-4, 1-1) at Maryland Terrapins (12-3, 1-1)
6pm | BTN | MD -3.5 | O/U 140
DJ: Well, Maryland is down their starting PF and his backup? What does that mean? We get to see a lot more small ball from the Terps because Turgeon played his card already by not putting Joshua Tomaic (next man up at the 4) in to finish out their game against UMBC. That’s probably ok but it all depends if Maryland can get solid minutes out of Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens.
Bonus for Maryland fans: Justin Jackson has reportedly shut it down in preparation for the draft as opposed to playing through his injury. You can draw your own conclusions but I would feel particularly salty if I were his teammates and he decided he didn’t want to give it all.
Aaron: Penn State’s sad non-conference performance — losing at North Carolina State was bad enough, but the home loss to Rider was unbearable — means that the team probably needs 11 or 12 conference wins to get in the NCAA Tournament conversation. There’s already one win in the bank thanks to a December victory in Iowa City, but the real push starts tonight in College Park, Maryland. The Lions so far have been improved from three-point range, and they’ll need to be on point to counter the stylings of Kevin Huerter, who should be counted on even more heavily given the Justin Jackson news.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-5, 1-1) at Northwestern Wildcats (10-5, 1-1)
8pm | BTN | NU -8 | O/U 140
MNW: The Huskers have looked thoroughly mediocre in the games I’ve watched (note: I did not see the Kansas contest), and especially abysmal shooting the ball. (CBBRef tells me they’re 311th in FG%, which...wow.) I’m not as worried about any of Glynn Watson, Jr., Isaac Copeland, or James Palmer as I should be, though, because I’m calling tonight as the night where Northwestern allows Anton Gill to just gun threes from wherever he wants.
On the other end, Bryant McIntosh is day-to-day with a knee injury, and the combo of Jordan Ash (good at defense), Isiah Brown (possibly good at offense), and Anthony Gaines (a basketball player) will replace him. It will alternate between “passable” and “please shoot me.” Flip a coin given whoever’s on the floor, and that’ll be the result. Also Dererk Pardon could have a decent game if he, Gavin Skelly, and Barret Benson can get Copeland in a little foul trouble and make their way down the Husker bench to Jordy Tshimanga.
My pick is Northwestern, 68-63, then burn the tape and never watch this again as the two teams combine to shoot 42% from the field and 27% from deep.
Wednesday, January 3
rutger Scarlet Knights (10-5, 0-2) at #13 Purdue Boilermakers (13-2, 2-0)
6pm | BTN | lines TBD
Boilerman31: Purdue enters the second stanza of conference play riding a 9-game win streak including a healthy record against the spread. The Boilers have beaten better teams by wide margins. Expect the same in front of a polite Mackey Arena crowd. Haas keeps his decapitation-free streak going. Boilers by 30+.
Illinois Fighting Illini (10-5, 0-2) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-3, 1-1)
8pm | BTN | lines TBD
MNW: OK, so Thump is just outright refusing to give predictions. That’s fine, because Minnesota will probably do bad things to Illinois. Maybe WSR will stop by later and tell us what they’ll be.
WSR: I haven’t panicked yet about this season because I knew there would be some hiccups due to some roster changes (including the devastating loss of Eric Curry). But if we lose to Illinois, I’m going to consider going Chicken Little on this season. Illinois is almost wisconsin-bad, and there’s no excuse to lose to them.
Thursday, January 4
Ohio State Buckeyes (11-4, 2-0) at Iowa Hawkeyes (9-7, 0-3)
6pm | ESPNU | lines TBD
Stew: Iowa is going to open conference play 0-4. Ohio State is a balanced, capable team. They are good defense that forces a lot of turnovers, Iowa loves to turn the ball over. Tyler Cook will have at least two amazing, monstrous, dunks, so that’s cool.
Maryland Terrapins (12-3, 1-1) at #1 Michigan State Spartans (14-1, 2-0)
7pm | FS1 | lines TBD
Andrew Kraszewski: MSU enters this game on a string of four games in a row over 100 points, albeit against a string of tomato cans, and with the benefit of four days off from their last game. Maryland, by contrast, is clearly still adjusting to life without Justin Jackson and will be playing their second game in three days after scraping by Penn State. The century mark streak ends, the win streak rolls unabated. MSU 83, Maryland 70
Here’s your open thread for the week’s basketball.