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Big Ten Basketball Sunday Open Thread

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So the previews of non-conference tournaments didn’t go well. But Michigan’s in Connecticut, Purdue goes for the title in Charleston, and Minnesota takes on Texas A&M in Vancouver.

Texas Tech v Purdue
Kinda like football! Except Purdue’s actually making a tackle!
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

We would never deign to distract you from the most important part of Sunday afternoons in Big Ten country—arguing about the results of Saturday afternoon and whether they mean that Northwestern is the most fraudulent champion of the Big Ten West ever (it’s still 2015 Iowa) or if Chase Winovich did in fact cheap-shot an Indiana offensive lineman (he did).

But, should you like a place to talk Big Ten basketball as a couple schools aim to consolidate an excellent week on the hardcourts of the conference (we’ll talk more about that tomorrow), we’ve got you:

Sunday Basketball Previews

[18] Michigan Wolverines (4-0, KP 8) vs. Providence Friars (3-1, KP 52)

Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off | Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
12:30pm | ESPN | Mich -8 | O/U 134

Michigan pounded GW yesterday, 84-61, in confirmation of what looks like the start of a promising season for the Wolverines, who already claimed a 73-46 stunner of #8 Villanova in Philadelphia, a Very Impressive Win that is likely Quadrant Alpha or RPI-Approved or any other metrics ESPN and the NCAA will tell you get you into the NCAA Tournament. Except...

Congrats to the Furman Paladins on their historic upset of Villanova. Michigan by 10.

Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0, KP 30) vs. SC State Bulldogs (1-3, KP 348)

1pm | BTN+ | OSU -32 | O/U 147

Your Bottom of Kenpom Ratings Update:

348 South Carolina State Bulldogs (MEAC, 1-3)
349 Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (SWAC, 0-5)
350 Coppin State Eagles (MEAC, 0-4)
351 Alabama A&M Bulldogs (SWAC, 0-4)
352 Jackson State Tigers (SWAC, 0-3)
353 Delaware State Hornets (MEAC, 0-4)

Raise your hand embarrassedly if your team has played at least one of these. Bucks by 38.

Indiana Hoosiers (3-0, KP 16) at Arkansas Razorbacks (1-1, KP 54)

2:30pm | ESPN | IU -3.5 | O/U 149.5

Could be a good on in the “Hardwood Showcase,” whatever that is. The Razorbacks play fast (AdjT 52) and lost a 73-71 nail-biter to Texas, so there’s a little bad luck in play.

But the Hoosiers...son of a bitch, they might be good. I have to eat my crow for taking Marquette to beat them, because they schooled my Golden Eagles in the Gavitt Games. More on that later. Hoosiers by 5.

Maryland Terrapins (4-0, KP 35) vs. Mt. St. Mary’s Mountaineers (0-3, KP 331)

3pm | BTN | MD -25.5 | O/U 141

One of the annual monthly weekly daily traditions in our basketball Slack channel is DJ calling for Mark Turgeon to be drawn, quartered, and dragged through the streets of College Park for his absolute refusal to put away bad teams like the Hofstra Pride, who led Maryland by 6 at halftime.

That shouldn’t matter against The Mount, who seemingly plays Maryland every year to absolutely no avail. Terps by 22.

[11] MSU Spartans (2-1, KP 13) vs. Tenn. Tech Golden Eagles (0-4, KP 319)

5pm | BTN | MSU -33.5 | O/U 151.5

Nah.

[23] Purdue Boilermakers (4-0, KP 12) vs. [16] VaTech Hokies (3-0, KP 20)

Charleston Classic Championship | TD Arena, Charleston, SC
7:30pm | ESPN2 | Purdue -1.5 | O/U 149.5

This is a real nice capper to a great week of Big Ten basketball. The Boilermakers cruised through their first two games in Charleston, whipping Appalachian State (who just came back from 14 down to force OT with Ball State in the 7th place game of the Classic; check it out) and Davidson. But it’s all for this—the Hokies, led by Buzz Williams’ standards of defensive intensity and general sweatiness, are a sturdy test for Carsen Edwards and Purdue.

It begins and ends with Nickeil Alexander-Walker (20.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.0 apg, 3.0 spg) and Justin Robinson (15 ppg, 6.0 apg, 2.3 spg) for the Hokies—the backcourt pairing makes up a tough two-way duo, and the heft of F Kerry Blackshear Jr. (6’10”, 250) will challenge Matt Haarms inside. This will be an excellent game. Tune in.

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Purdue
    (11 votes)
  • 31%
    VaTech
    (5 votes)
16 votes total Vote Now

Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-0, KP 49) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (1-2, KP 66)

TCL Vancouver Showcase | Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, BC (that’s in Canada)
9:30pm | ESPN2 | Minn -4.5 | O/U 150.5

If we can’t have the Great Alaska Shootout anymore (RIP 2 tha king), I will suffer through some international basketball that’s not played in converted hotel ballrooms in Jamaica or Cancun. And that’s more or less what we’re getting in Vancouver.

This isn’t a true tournament—Minnesota will play A&M, Santa Clara, and Washington in Vancouver, all set games designed as part of a basketball showcase that infuriatingly does not include Canadian school Simon Fraser. The Clan, you’ll remember, compete in the NCAA D-II Great Northwest Athletics Conference with both Alaska schools (the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves and Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks—shout-out to Hockey Bear) and several others across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. But I guess Chaminade has been pushed back to only playing in every other Maui Jim Invitational, too, which is similarly bullshit but money is as money does.

What would make these games actually fun is if, because they were in Canada, they forced NCAA teams to play by international rules. Full disclosure: I don’t actually know international rules besides the trapezoidal lane, but I assume they include timeouts being converted into metric time, shots from the 4.572-metre line, and viciously dunking all over Angola.

But I dream. Minnesota will play A&M in a game they absolutely should win—A&M have lost a heartbreaker to the UC-Irvine Anteaters and gotten their doors blown off by #3 Gonzaga. They play fast and loose, turning the ball over 16 times per game led by sophomore Guard Who Should Probably Know Better TJ Starks (who does, to his credit, add 13.3 ppg and 3.7 apg but contributes 5.3 turnovers a game, too), and like to funnel the ball through a matchup challenge in 6’7” guard Savion Flagg (17.7 ppg, 8.y7 rpg, 51.2% FG).

A special shout-out, too, to Aggies G Brandon Mahan, who has racked up an almost-inconceivable 19% field goal clip on 21 shots in 77 minutes. Goddamn.

Anyways, the Gophers have the length and speed to contend with the Aggies, and while this one might turn into a track meet, Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy and Daniel Oturu should be able to go to work inside, letting Amir Coffey and talented freshman Jarvis Omersa stretch the Aggies’ defense. Feels like the kind of game where Dupree McBrayer goes off from deep in transition. Give me the Gophers, 90-78.


Here’s your open thread for the day’s hoops. Football talk is in SMCD; have at it. Behave.