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Big Ten Basketball: Weekend Recaps, Monday Previews

Ahead of the Gavitt Games, the Big Ten has avoided a bad loss and has a couple good-looking teams in Minnesota and Penn State threatening to challenge the top tier.

NCAA Basketball: Holy Cross at Michigan
We’ll always have that first half, Bill.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our slapdash approach to Big Ten basketball with a brief look at what happened this weekend, along with a short preview and open thread for the games tonight.

First, though, I’d like to call your attention to a very serious problem: Big Ten basketball refs.

We have, of course, celebrated the news that noted shitty referee Ted Valentine would not be returning to action in Big Ten contests this year (though he is still preening for the ACC, AAC, and SEC). But the Big Ten does, according to a 2017 CBS Sports article, use referees held in the lowest esteem among their power-conference peers.

Now, a number of you have theories and plans for fixing the world of Big Ten officiating, including our friends at Black Heart Gold Pants. But I think we know that Iowa fans clearly have very little to complain about when it comes to college basketball officiating. Instead, let’s take it from the coach who has the greatest right to be aggrieved at the same of officiating in the NCAA:

Thank you, Tom Izzo, and our condolences for your games being called so tightly. He even thought of poor FGCU! Those stoppages in action will no doubt hurt his squad even more when Big Ten play begins, and let’s hope the NCAA is listening to the plight of Sparty.



Rutgers Scarlet Knights 90, Fairleigh Dickinson Knights 55

Penn State Nittany Lions 87, North Florida Ospreys 72

Indiana Hoosiers 80, Montana State Bobcats 35

Maryland Terrapins 78, Navy Midshipmen 57

DJ Carver: Maryland won comfortably in the end but ultimately had to push through another off shooting night to get there. As expected, Navy came out and played a ton of zone against Maryland. As expected, Maryland struggled to score against the zone. The difference so far appears to be not that Maryland is struggling to find a good shot against the zone as much as they’re just not hitting the shots they are taking that are good.

Progress? The shots will eventually start falling and until they do, it’ll look like typical MD struggling to end bad opponents early. Maryland is starting three freshmen this year but the defensive pressure so far this season is a plus.


[19] Michigan Wolverines 56, Holy Cross Crusaders 37


Seriously, though, a John Beilein-Bill Carmody matchup is asking for a 60-possession game in which it’s never actually in doubt.

That actually meant that the Crusaders held a 24-18 lead at halftime, as no one scored until Ignas Brazdeikis made a couple free throws three minutes into the game and the Princeton Offense of Holy Cross kept the Wolverines’ defense on their toes with quicker-than-usual possessions and mixed defenses (good ol’ 1-3-1 whaddupppp). In the second half, though, the Wolverines stepped up the defensive intensity, keeping Holy Cross off the scoreboard for over 7 minutes of game time while scoring 14 of their own and taking the lead for good. Holy Cross eventually committed 16 turnovers and shot just 31% from the field, which is, I’m told, bad for a team that relies on cutting down possessions.

Brazdeikis hit all 8 of his free throws for the Wolverines, who were also a putrid 36% from the field and 16% from deep but went 17/21 from the line and used their size and athleticism to pull away late. Nothing new learned from Ann Arbor, save for seeing the Wolverines’ potential lack of depth and reliance on Charles Matthews.

[24] Purdue Boilermakers 84, Balls Tate Cardinals 75

Boilerman31: Purdue was covering the 13-point spread until garbage time. This is one of those games where the box score doesn’t tell the whole story. Carsen Edwards got his but was often double teamed as the Cards tried to keep him in check. That resulted in open looks for Matt Haarms, Evan Boudreaux, and Nojel Eastern, who gets the shout-out for playing aggressive defense.

That defense turned into a key 17-2 run where Purdue broke open what was a back and forth game to that point. Balls Tate is a sneaky good team capable of pulling some upsets this season and will challenge for the MAC crown. They turned out to be a worthy early season challenge for the Boilers. Purdue is going to take some lumps when the 3-balls aren’t falling but they have enough talent to pull through nights like tonight.


[10] Michigan State Spartans 106, Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 82

It’s appearing more and more that defense might be a problem for the Spartans. I dunno. We’ll see.

Iowa Hawkeyes 93, Green Bay Phoenix 82

Stewmonkey13: Hey look, turnovers and defense were a problem. Big surprise!

I know it’s not going to a straight line improvement, but damn, this was disappointing. The combo of Joe Wieskamp and Connor McCaffery looks legit, and improves the defense, but they also do very freshman-y things. And Tyler Cook was looking a little too willing to take on double teams by himself and turned the ball over way more than he should.

They’re likely to get eviscerated by the first few real tests coming up.

Rutgers 95, Drexel Dragons 66

Nebraska Cornhuskers 87, SE Louisiana Lions 35

Jesse Collins: Nebraska is murdering a bad basketball team which is fun. Honestly, these two teams are bottom of the barrel. That first opponent looked like the type of team you see in intramural. This one looks organized but has no talent.

I just checked. First team we beat is KenPom 349/353... Today is 273.

BRT: Blerg.

JC: We’ve got Seton Hall coming up this week so we will be able to size things up real fast.

BRT: Yup! I’m glad they did what they should do against teams that bad though. I still think they might be kind of fun to watch this season though. I hope so anyway.

JC: Oh 100%! I think we are pretty good. Maybe not a destructor of worlds like these two games but definitely good.

Ohio State Buckeyes 107, Fort Wayne Mastodons 61


We’ve got Gavitt Games kicking off tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll be back with some of those previews then. In the meantime, though, we’ve got three nationally-televised games tonight, including a double-header on BTN. So let’s get weird.


Maryland (2-0, KP 34) vs. North Carolina A&T Aggies (0-2, KP 342)

6pm | ESPNU | MD -28

DJ: Just hoping Maryland shoots their way out of this slump. They’ll out-talent A&T, so I’m not worried there, but the shooting slump(41.3% FG, 16.7% 3pt) is concerning.

Penn State (1-0, KP 35) vs. Jacksonville State Gamecocks (0-1, KP 189)

6pm | BTN | PSU -12.5

Northwestern Wildcats (1-0, KP 46) vs. American Eagles (1-0, KP 204)

7pm | BTN+ | NU -16.5

MNW: I don’t have a ton of expectations for this one, other than an ugly, grind-it-out game against a Patriot League team that was putrid in 2017-18 but got a nice road win at George Mason last week. The ‘Cats have the size and length in Vic Law to neutralize Allentown F Sam Iorio, but the Eagles can get points from a few places and have some size to challenge Northwestern.

This should be a like-versus-like, with Northwestern using superior talent to pull away, but the opener against New Orleans indicated that Ryan Taylor chucking is going to be a substantial part of the ‘Cats offense, so if they go’s hoping Law, AJ Turner, and Dererk Pardon have a night and I don’t even have to tune in to the second half on BTN+ when I get home. ‘Cats by 15.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-0, KP 48) vs. Utah Utes (1-0, KP 75)

8pm | BTN | MN -8

WhiteSpeedReceiver: I fully expect that we’re going to beat about 7-10 types of dogcrap out of the Utes, but I base this off all we know right now: it’s at The Barn and Utah struggled a bit with Maine last week.

I’d expect that our starters will play further into this one, but we’re just too deep for a top-100 opponent.


Who you got?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Gophers to cover
    (8 votes)
  • 40%
    Gophers win, Utes beat the spread
    (8 votes)
  • 20%
    Utes straight-up
    (4 votes)
20 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the night’s basketball games. Behave.