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Big Ten Basketball Midweek Preview and Open Thread

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A light week is headlined by Maryland trying to keep its slim bubble hopes alive against Nebraska, who is trying to lock up NCAA Tournament status, and Penn State trying to get into the NCAA Tournament picture as well with a season sweep of Ohio State.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The light midweek slate this week is headlined by Maryland traveling to Nebraska in hopes of keeping their ever so slim tournament chances alive while Nebraska is trying to become a lock in the Tournament, and with Penn State trying to complete the season sweep over Ohio State and increase their tournament odds where they sit firmly on the bubble.

Tuesday

Maryland Terrapins at Nebraska Cornhuskers || BTN || 7:00pm ET

DJ: Maryland is trying to keep its slim hopes alive to stay in the tournament and that continues with a trip to Nebraska. Anthony Cowan Jr. and Kevin Huerter are carrying this Maryland squad but the return of Michal Cekovsky on the interior is welcome depth where any sort of foul trouble became an immediate problem. My completely un-analytical prediction here is a Maryland win because Maryland running the table to the Big Ten Tournament is just what this fan base needs to get re-engaged so we can lose to Iowa in the first round of the BTT to be let down as hard as possible.

BRT: Nebraska hosts Maryland at PBA on Tuesday Night, and while Nebraska is still a beatable team (rebounding in particular remains farcical), they’re also pretty damn hot right now- I’m not picking against them until they give me a reason to do so. And, although a knowledgeable Maryland fan informed me last week that “Nebraska doesn’t win in its arena,” (DJ’s note: show yourself in the comments for that one) my amazing “reporting” skillz reveal, in fact, that the Huskers have lost only once this season at home (to Kansas by one point). Maryland ain’t Kansas these days. I like the Huskers to defend their home court and send Maryland on the long flight home with an L for the first time.

#2 Michigan State Spartans at Minnesota Golden Gophers || ESPN2 || 9pm ET

WSR: Not in the face, Sparty. Our mother will want an open funeral.

DJ: Yep, WSR said it all there. Hopefully Jaren Jackson Jr. doesn’t have too much of a make up game after logging 13 minutes against Purdue but, even so, Nick Ward probably destroys Minnesota on his own.

Northwestern Wildcats at rutger Scarlet Knights || BTN || 9pm ET

MNW: Northwestern plays rutger in Piscataway. Why the fuck they would start teh game at rutger at 9pm GTZ+1 on a Tuesday night is beyond me, but it’ll mean I get to listen to it on the radio on the drive home after class.

The Scarlet Knights are a top-20 defensive team in the entire fucking country, and Northwestern can’t shoot to save their goddamn lives. The length and athleticism rutger brings to the defensive end is going to give the Cats’ fits. The up-and-down saga of Bryant McIntosh continues (he was held scoreless for the first time in his collegiate career at Maryland on Saturday), and as of right now it’s all Scottie Lindsey (seven straight double-digit outings) as Vic Law can’t shoot for dick and we’ve just got nothing else on offense.

At least a loss at rutger will be the last death rattle in this shitburger of a season, rather than a screeching halt to NCAA tournament ambitions. Give me rutger, 61-52.

Wednesday

Iowa Hawkeyes at #22 Michigan Wolverines || BTN || 6:30pm ET

Graham: Beilein’s Wolverines are currently a 6 seed in the ESPN Bracketology. Huh, ok, that’s that. Well, I presume that the Wolverines blow out the Division 2-esque Hawkeyes and then turn around and play a deathmatch with the Buckeyes in Crisler. A win there poises Michigan for a possible 5 seed. The film I want to keep watching is “The Resurgence of Duncan Robinson” featuring Three Point Buckeys and a surprising plot twist involving solid defense.

Stew: Michigan plays good defense and shoots well from 3. Iowa gives up tons of turnovers and refuses to play perimeter defense. This is going to be a 20 point Michigan blowouot. I’ll be surprised if Michigan shoots below 50% from 3.

Illinois Fighting Illini at Indiana Hoosiers || BTN || 8:30pm ET

DJ: Indiana seems to be putting things together as the season goes on and Illinois is finding new ways to make it all fall apart. That being said, Indiana doesn’t have anyone that screams traditional center that normally kills Illinois, so if Illinois can play solid defense all night they could ugly this up enough to make it at least an interesting game towards the end.

Thursday

#6 Purdue Boilermakers at Wisconsin Badgers || ESPN || 7:00pm ET

Boilerman: Now that the winning streak is over, a trip to wisconsin is just what the doctor ordered. Never thought I’d type those words. The Boilers need to get back to doing things the Purdue way, playing through Isaac Haas and leading a balanced inside out attack.

Beez: Wisconsin may or may not have a game scheduled. I don’t know. If they do, they’ll have a 10 minute stretch of playing terribly and 30 minutes of playing perfectly fine and lose by 10.

MC: Badgers by 20.

#8 Ohio State Buckeyes at Penn State Nittany Lions || BTN || 8:00pm ET

DJ: Penn State was able to slow down OSU enough the first time around to squeak out a win with a buzzer beater and give OSU their only conference loss. Can they do it again, at home? I don’t think so. Tony Carr is a volume shooter almost every night and just happened to not be able to miss the first time around and was the only reason Penn State was able to stay in the game. I expect OSU comes out fired up in the first half and wins the game 76-67.

Aaron: This game is critical to the Lions’ NCAA Tournament hopes, so hopefully some fans show up. The good news is that Penn State already defeated the Buckeyes in Columbus back on January 26 and has only lost one game since then. The bad news is that Ohio State hasn’t lost any other league games and established its Big Ten authority by beating Purdue last week. Plus, the Lions shot an absurd 11-for-14 from beyond the arc — including a last-second prayer by Tony Carr for the win — in that first meeting. If they’re going to hang with the Buckeyes again, the defense that allowed Chris Holtmann’s team to shoot 56 percent from the field will need to be much stronger.