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Big Ten Hoops: 9, 10 Teams in the Tourney? Weekend Preview, Open Thread

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Those teams do not, however, include Illinois, who plays Mizzou in Braggin’ Rights, which is evidently still a thing.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten marches on in post-Finals, pre-Christmas fashion, an odd amalgam of tomato cans and neutral-site marquee matchups that somehow coalesces into basketball worth watching when you’re not tuned in to the myriad bowl games on Saturday.

Zion Williamson Update: He had scrambled eggs this morning for breakfast!

Anyways, after an underwhelming weekend in which the Big Ten lost a couple more tossup games on neutral courts and saw some of its front-runners struggle to put away mid-majors, the conference both righted the ship and set a course for a strong finish to the non-conference season.

While the Big XII has almost caught the B1G in Sagarin (85.10 to 85.03), the conference still boasts 3 of the top 10 and 6 of the top 20-rated teams in the country, along with six teams in the AP Poll Top 25 now that Nebraska has crept back in at 25th. We’re speculating on if the Big Ten could get 8 or 9 or even 10 teams into the NCAA Tournament (stay tuned for the Mailbag)! What a season.

Wha’ Happened?

#15 Ohio State Buckeyes 75, Youngstown State Penguins 56

#23 Iowa Hawkeyes 78, Western Carolina Catamounts 60

Stewmonkey13: It’s the end of the non-con slate and Iowa is feasting on cupcakes. Iowa dispatched the mighty Catamounts in a fairly slippy game where Iowa went on a run towards the end of the first half that effectively ended the game.

#22 Indiana Hoosiers 86, Central Arkansas Bears 53

Candystripes for Breakfast: I not only didn’t pay attention to IU vs. Central Arkansas, I forgot the game was even happening until I happened onto the ESPN app to discover IU was up huge in the second half. Post finals pre-Christmas basketball is weird, yo.

Penn State Nittany Lions 73, Duquesne Dukes 67

Zion Williamson Update: He asked for a Nintendo Switch for Christmas!

Purdue Boilermakers 95, Ohio Bobcats 67

Boilerman31: Purdue continues to do bad things to bad teams inside Mackey Arena. Matt Painter decided to make a lineup change and went with 40-year old Evan Boudreaux over Matt Haarms.

The result? The Boilers running away from Ohio early. Carsen Edwards lead the show again, scoring 30, and Ryan Cline shed the “Clone” title for a night, chipping in 19. The Purdue “Surprise of the Night” player goes to Eric Hunter Jr. who went 5/6 from the field and scored 13. It really looks like Purdue is going to live and die by the 3 this year as nearly 50% of their shots were from beyond the arc.

Now What?

Friday

#10 Michigan State Spartans vs. Oakland Golden Grizzlies

MSU: 9-2, KP 8 | Oak: 4-8, KP 236
6pm | BTN | MSU -26 | O/U 158.5

Andrzej Trzytysiąceski: Izzo continues to tempt fate by playing Greg Kampe every year.

Oakland doesn’t have a Kay Felder at the moment but this is still a dumb, dangerous series which we play out of the goodness of Izzo’s heart the existence of which is why we’ll never beat Duke on the court or for a croot wow this got dark merry Christmas

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. North Carolina A&T Aggies

MN: 9-2, KP 57 | NCA&T: 4-7, KP 312
7pm | BTN+

Penn State at Alabama Crimson Tide

PSU: 6-5, KP 42 | Bama: 7-3, KP 66
8pm | SECN | Ala -3 | O/U 141.5

Northwestern Wildcats vs. Oklahoma Sooners

NU: 8-3, KP 43 | OU: 10-1, KP 27
8pm | BTN | NU -1 | O/U 141

MNW: Oklahoma is everything that’s given Northwestern trouble in 2018: Fast, athletic, and strong on defense, the Sooners are going to cause the ‘Cats backcourt headaches. Brady Manek is a matchup nightmare and I hope AJ Turner can contain him, if that’s how Chris Collins decides to match up—I’m curious to see if Anthony Gaines gets the task of stopping Christian James, too.

Honestly, at this point it’s just fun to see what all Dererk Pardon and Vic Law can do. Do I hope that Turner, along with gunner Ryan Taylor, can gun the ‘Cats into this one? Sure! But I’m not holding my breath. This isn’t a tournament team, but it’s one that I hope can make the NIT. This is the last chance—obviously—for a big non-conference win before Big Ten play, and it would sure bolster the Northwestern resume.

Poll

Who you got?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Northwestern
    (14 votes)
  • 69%
    Oklahoma
    (32 votes)
46 votes total Vote Now

Saturday

#16 Wisconsin Badgers vs. Grambling State Tigers

wi: 9-2, KP 12 | GSU: 6-6, KP 279
11am | BTN

#23 Iowa vs. Savannah State Tigers

IA: 9-2, KP 36 | SSU: 3-10, KP 345
12pm | BTN+

Stew: Iowa continues their quest for an undefeated non conference slate and go against.../checks schedule... Savannah State.

Zion Williamson Update: DID A DUNK THING PROBABLY

Iowa will win. Luka Garza will score 15+ on 8 shots. Tyler Cook will dunk the ball. And there will be a 5 minute period when Iowa loses interest in taking care of the ball and defense.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Columbia Lions

RU: 5-5, KP 108 | CU: 3-7, KP 237
12pm | BTN+

If the Lions can settle in and hit shots, they can make this a game (their three-point shooting is excellent). But they don’t get to the line, they’re undersized, and this is pretty much a standard Rutgers non-conference opponent. Yawn.

#25 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans

UNL: 9-2, KP 14 | CSUF: 3-8, KP 165
1pm | BTN

I actually watched all three of the Titans’ games in whatever Feast Week tournament they played in out at...I think Coastal Carolina’s gym? My takeaways:

  1. Fullerton plays fast, small, and reckless. It’s not pretty, but with guards Khalil Ahmad and Kyle Allman pushing the pace, it at least is interesting!
  2. They have Johnny Wang, from Beijing! That was exciting to watch.
  3. No one is terribly tall; so whoever is tall on Nebraska will likely have a Real Good Time.
  4. Their mascot is an elephant and they never changed it, unlike you puds who looked at “Mastodons” and thought “Nah, let’s create a fucking terrifying inflatable child instead.”

In conclusion, go ElephanTitans!

#15 Ohio State vs. UCLA Bruins

OSU: 10-1, KP 25 | UCLA: 7-4, KP 59
2pm | CBS | CBS Sports Classic, United Center, Chicago

UCLA has, I guess...a name? But they just got their doors blown off at Cincinnati, and Bruins Nation, uh...

Not great, Bob.

Poll

Gross.

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Buckeyes
    (37 votes)
  • 17%
    Hair Gel
    (8 votes)
45 votes total Vote Now

#4 Michigan Wolverines vs. Air Force Falcons

MI: 11-0, KP 4 | AFA: 4-6, KP 252
3pm | BTN

I’m not putting tomato cans here because, y’know, Air Force and all. But yeah.

Maryland Terrapins vs. Seton Hall Pirates

MD: 9-2, KP 26 | SH: 8-3, KP 60
4:30pm | FS1

DJ Carver: Maryland takes on its last high major challenge before conference play in Seton Hall. I’m viewing this as similar to playing Purdue, but with a center that’s 6’9 and not 7’3 and a less skilled lead guard.

That being said, Seton Hall knocked off Kentucky, so Maryland has their work cut out for them. I expect Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith to assert themselves in this game to allow Maryland to play more inside out to ultimately win the game.

Bonus: I obtained free tickets so I will be at the game to watch. I’ll likely move myself into more desirable seats with students out and the holiday weekend so it will be a good time.

Poll

Pick:

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    Maryland
    (26 votes)
  • 39%
    Seton Hall
    (17 votes)
43 votes total Vote Now

#22 Indiana vs. Jacksonville Dolphins

IU: 10-2, KP 22 | J’ville: 7-6, KP 292
5pm | BTN

Candystripes: Now, Indiana vs. Jacksonville makes sense, as does Indiana vs. Dolphins, but those are usually contested on the football field by a team in blue unis, so I have no idea what to expect from this amalgamation of football things on the basketball court.

Barring some serious injuries or issues, this one should probably be a walkover. So, you know, we’ll probably still be in a dogfight well into the under 4 in the second half.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Missouri Tigers

IL: 4-7, KP 96 | Mizz: 7-3, KP 86
7pm | BTN | Braggin’ Rights, Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO

Thump: BRAGGIN’ FUCKIN RIGHTS

THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL

Cuonzo Martin has single-handedly made Missouri fans care about this game again (they all disappeared when they sucked) and has also fueled the flames by poaching Jeremiah Tilmon last year and taking Mark Smith in the transfer market this past offseason.

Zion Williamson Update: NOTABLY DID NOT HAVE ILLINOIS IN HIS TOP 5, WHICH I’M SURE THUMP IS MAD ABOUT

As has been the case virtually every time he’s coached anywhere, the whole is less than the sum of its parts for Cuonzo. With three starters who at one point signed with Illinois, the Tigers are definitely rivaling as hard as they can.

For Illinois, Ayo Dosunmu has been disappointing as of late, but Andres Feliz has really come on as a scoring option. Giorgi Bezhanishvili figures to talk mad shit at Jeremiah Tilmon all game; we’ll see who fouls out first. I really have no idea what’s going to happen in this game, but it’s hard to imagine any game being played this college basketball season with more bad blood.

We’re 0-1 in bad blood games so far this year.

Poll

Braggin’ Rights?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Illinois
    (12 votes)
  • 70%
    Mizzou
    (28 votes)
40 votes total Vote Now