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Big Ten Basketball Week Recap, Weekend Preview

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Michigan State fell to top-ranked Kansas, but the rest of the conference acquitted itself nicely in opening-week laughers.

NCAA Basketball: Champions Classic-Kansas at Michigan State Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Look, early-season college basketball is good for a couple marquee matchups, a close shave and maybe an upset or two, and a whole lot of pointless blowouts against the finest the MEAC, SWAC, and Southland have to offer.

Some of those things happened this week! We promise to pay more attention to basketball soon (including my favorite things, nonsensically-random tournaments in civic centers and hotel ballrooms from Fullerton to Nassau and Uncasville to Lahaina), but int he meantime we’re giving you a quick fly-by of the games gone by, a preview of the games to come, and an open thread for hoops talk tonight and throughout the weekend.

Wha’ happened?

Tuesday

[1] Kansas Jayhawks 92, [10] Michigan State Spartans 87

Kansas should’ve won this game by double digits—instead, the Jayhawks took their foot off the gas and denied us a chance to really laugh at Michigan State (for having the audacity to play a tough game right off the bat and get blowed the fuck out), who to their credit turned the ball over 18 times and looked sloppy early. It dug them a hole they’re not going to get out of against the best team(s) in the country.

The Spartans looked decent in transition, catching the Jayhawks napping on occasion, and DJ reported that the flop game of Nick Ward was already in midseason form. These seem like important takeaways, the latter moreso than the former, for when Big Ten play rolls around.

[19] Michigan Wolverines 63, Norfolk State Spartans 44

Seems like exactly the kind of game Michigan would open the season with.

[24] Purdue Boilermakers 90, Fairfield Stags 57

Boilerman31: As expected, it was the Carsen Edwards show in a comfortable win against Fairfield. Edwards was efficient, scoring his 30 points in 28 minutes of play. The supporting cast was decent enough with three others scoring in double-digits. The only concern was Matt Haarms getting into foul trouble in the second half, but that’s largely correctible.

Indiana Hoosiers 104, Chicago State Cougars 55

Poor Chicago State. Only 20 days til’ that win over East-West, Cougars!

Maryland Terrapins 73, Delaware Blue Hens 67

I’ll post an—ahem—curated version of DJ Carver’s thoughts from the Slack channel:
Maryland pressuring much more on defense it seems

Very active on defense in the first half. Typical freshmen jitters (missing 3s long) but overall the first half was encouraging. Maryland’s freshman Jalen Smith has “old man” face up 4 skills—drained a sexy shot from just outside the foul line to end the half.

Things then got...a little dark:

Maryland doing Maryland things. Maryland goes up big? Other team goes the rest of the game and Maryland has no idea how go operate an offense. Damnit FFS I don’t understand why every year simple zones beat this team.

Mark Turgeon is an awful Xs and Os coach.

It, uh, it didn’t get better for Maryland;

We were up 22 with 14 to go
They squandered the entire lead away almost
It’s Delaware
I quit
Game 1
Yes I’m overreacting
Maybe

Narrator: “He was.”

Game over. Win. I’ll just focus on the nice things: Jalen Smith had a 19/13 game with two blocks. Freshman Aaron Wiggins had a 7/7/3/5 game (p/r/a/st).

Those sound like nice things, DJ. Have some bourbon.

Minnesota Golden Gophers 104, Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 76

WhiteSpeedReceiver: That was a lot of fun! Jordan Murphy did Jordan Murphy things and got a double-double in 24 minutes, 2 of the 3 FR (Oturu and Kalscheur) actually exceeded expectations, and if that was the Isaiah Washington we’re going to get this year then everyone who whined about not recruiting Brad Davison will get to be quiet.

Oh, and Dupree McBrayer and Amir Coffey looked healthy. This could be fun.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 106, Mississippi Valley St. Delta Devils 37

Jesse Collins: Nebraska played a nobody team and won. It was fun. We learned zero from this.

Wisconsin Badgers 85, Coppin State Eagles 63

Wednesday

Ohio State Buckeyes 64, Cincinnati Bearcats 56

MNW: I caught a little of this one, a legitimately good win for the Buckeyes on the road at a frisky Bearcats club that always plays good defense under Mick Cronin and was reopening their on-campus arena. I don’t recall seeing Ohio State trail in this game, and even though they gave up 19 offensive rebounds, part of that was because they held Cincy to a putrid night from the field (27% FG).

Most impressive for me was Kaleb Wesson, the forward who will hopefully replace a great deal of the scoring in the absence of Keita Bates-Diop—he was efficient in the paint and showed a decent stroke from deep on his clutch three late. Looks like Chris Holtmann’s put together another tough, athletic team.

Thursday

Northwestern Wildcats 82, New Orleans Privateers 52

MNW: We got a little taste of what Northwestern is going to try to do this year—push the pace a little more, allow Evansville transfer Ryan Taylor to chuck from deep, and use the two-way game of Vic Law and inside presence of Dererk Pardon. True freshman swingman Miller Kopp was serviceable as well, which was nice. It’s not a perfect system yet, as letting Southland contenders UNO hang around indicated, but it’s a start.

Illinois Fighting Illini 99, Evansville Purple Aces 60

Thumpasaurus: Trent/Ayo might be for real. It’s a game against Evansville, but I can’t imagine we could have done better. A bit concerning that Samba Kane didn’t play and had an unspecified violation of team rules, but supposedly Adonis De La Rosa is way ahead of schedule for rehabbing his knee and may actually play by December.

Giorgi Bezhanishvili can’t play 40 minutes at center. Giorgi is someone Big Ten fans ought to acquaint themselves with, because apparently he absolutely never shuts up during a game and is, in his words, inspired by Nikola Jokic and hot sauce.

Iowa Hawkeyes 77, UMKC Kangaroos 63

Stewmonkey13: Iowa played a very sloppy offensive game in their game against the fightin’ roos. They turned the ball over way too many times, shot the ball poorly, and didn’t rotate the ball very well.

But you could also see the increased focus on the defensive during the off-season. Freshman Joe Wieskamp looked ready and capable to contribute immediately. And everyone seemed to have a more defined roll from last season. Hardly the debut I was looking for, but there are some positives to take away.

What’s Next?

Friday

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (0-0) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (0-0)

6pm | BTN+ | “Hub City Classic”

Penn St. Nittany Lions (0-0) vs. North Florida (Mighty) Ospreys (0-1)

6:30pm | BTN+ | Cancun Challenge (campus game)

Aaron Yorke: What? We didn’t even play yet. But true freshmen Myles Dread and Rasir Bolton got rave reviews from the West Virginia exhibition. Lamar Stevens also got the good vibes going with a double-double, so there’s some hope that this year’s team could surpass last year’s and reach the big dance.

It’s just one game that doesn’t count, though. Hopefully there will be more to love in the regular season opener against North Florida.

Indiana (1-0) vs. Montana State Bobcats (0-1)

7pm | BTN | IU -26.5 | “Hardwood Showcase”

I misunderstood the purpose of this silly non-conference “tournament” that Indiana is running, and now I am no longer allowed in Assembly Hall. THE NAME WAS MISLEADING, GUYS.

Indiana should roll, but this is on BTN anyways because the Hoosiers are easily the biggest name of the Big Ten basketball slate tonight.

Maryland (1-0) at Navy Midshipmen (0-1)

7:30pm | CBSSN | MD -14.5 | Veterans Classic

The Middies are rolling in with one of the worst 50 offenses, give or take, in the country—they scored 44 against Old Dominion in a 67-44 loss. Old Dominion is a fine team, but not one against which you should only score 44 points. Unless Ivan Bender literally throws the ball into the hoop for Navy, I don’t think Maryland can fuck this one up.

Saturday

[19] Michigan (1-0) vs. Holy Cross Crusaders (1-0)

6:30pm | BTN+ | Hall of Fame Tip-Off campus game

IT’S BILL CARMODY TIME.

[24] Purdue (1-0) vs. Balls Tate Cardinals (1-0)

7pm | BTN+ | Charleston Classic campus game

Boilerman: Purdue heads into the weekend looking for some MACtion against Balls Tate who ran away from Indiana State in their season opener. This is about all I can say about this game as I know nothing about the Cardinals.

Sunday

Iowa (1-0) vs. Green Bay Phoenix (1-0)

2pm | BTN+ | 2K Empire campus game

Rutgers (probably 1-0?) vs. Drexel Dragons (at least 1 loss)

2pm | BTN+ | “Hub City Classic”

Another year, another “tournament” for the Knights where they don’t leave the state of New Jersey until the Big Ten makes them. Drexel is even worse than Fairly Dick.

Nebraska (1-0) vs. SE Louisiana Lions (0-1)

3pm | ESPNU | Hall of Fame Classic campus game

In lieu of saying anything about this game, which is boring, I will instead complain that SELA really missed an opportunity with their lion logo, which could be as cool as Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s logo:

Ohio State (1-0) vs. Fort Wayne Mastodons (1-1)

3pm | BTN | “Buckeye Classic”

This will be a fun contrast in styles, as the Mastodons like to get out and push the pace while playing the bare minimum of defense required to look competent against UCLA and blow the doors off Earlham oh who am I kidding you’re here for this


Here’s your basketball Open Thread for the weekend. Enjoy the games, behave yourselves.