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.
#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.
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.
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
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
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.
Who you got?
This poll is closed
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.
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.
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:
- 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!
- They have Johnny Wang, from Beijing! That was exciting to watch.
- No one is terribly tall; so whoever is tall on Nebraska will likely have a Real Good Time.
- 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.
This poll is closed
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.
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.
This poll is closed
#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.
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.
This poll is closed