As I drove across wisconsin last night, thinking about the Northwestern-wisconsin abomination that was unfolding on ESPN 1000 and, then, random badger basketball affiliates on scratchy AM stations, it occurred to me that I wasn’t sure exactly why I was going to such great lengths for this basketball game. This was terrible, horrible, no good, very bad basketball in which, apparently, the FS1 crew not only knew it as well, but spent great lengths of time analogizing Ethan Happ to acting luminaries like Nic Cage.
But we do this for Big Ten basketball, God bless us.
With the Big Ten having four relevant teams, a couple bubble-adjacent squads, and a raft of teams falling somewhere on the spectrum between “disappointment” and “looking up buyouts,” there a lot more Happ-to-Cage comparisons than there aren’t.
This weekend, we get more of that.
1:30pm | FOX | MI -12
Should you watch this game: No.
What should you watch instead: I’m personally inclined to say Missouri State at Loyola-Chicago, at 1pm on CBSSN. The Ramblers are playing some fun basketball this year and could pop up in the NCAA Tournament if they’re not careful. Tune in to them. Or join me in watching Providence at Marquette (Happy National Marquette Day!) at 1:30pm on FS1.
Will there be Gusgasms: No. He’ll be in Madison Square Garden for Duke-St. John’s.
3pm | BTN | PU -16
Should you watch this game: If you like snuff films/Purdue/the Soviets in Rocky.
What should you watch instead: Alabama does visit Florida on ESPN at the same time, though for my money I’d go with K-State visiting West-by-God on ESPN2. Instead, I’ll opt for yet another house tour and the fiancee complaining that it doesn’t have an open enough floor plan or a cucumber-water bidet or a third fireplace in the basement.
Will there be blood: There will.
Score: Purdue by 30+.
Iowa (12-12, 3-8) at Penn State (15-9, 5-6)
5pm | BTN | PSU -9
Should you watch this game: Maybe? There could be lots of points. Like, lots of points.
What should you watch instead: Holy shit, Xavier’s #6 in the country? Did anyone know that? They’ll be murderdeathkilling G’town on CBSSN, otherwise you’ve got a Bill Walton Fever Dream at the same time, USC at UCLA, on ESPN2.
Will one of these coaches be fired this year: You tell me!
Who will be fired first
This poll is closed
The angry shouting guy
The other angry shouting guy
Jesus, you’re really phoning this in
Score: Penn State 87, Iowa 80
#5 Michigan State (21-3, 9-2) at Indiana (12-11, 5-6)
7:15pm | ESPN | MSU -9
Should you watch this game: No. No you should not. Stop just putting Indiana on TV for no fucking reason. Also, dear God please tell me they won’t—
Will this game feature Dan fucking Dakich: Goddamnit.
What you should watch instead: The Wild will be taking on the Stars in Dallas. I know that’s what I’ll be tuned in to. Otherwise the smoking remains of Iowa State and Baylor are playing on ESPN2 for some reason, while UNLV at Boise State on ESPNU at 7pm might be a legitimately-entertaining game.
Score: Michigan State by a dozen, probably.
Are there other good games?
Yes! Gonzaga hosts BYU at 9pm on ESPN2, running concurrently with a battle of 5-3 Big West teams. That’s right! It’s UC-Irvine. It’s Cal State Fullerton. Anteaters! Titans (who I learned have an elephant mascot, for some reason)! When these two bitter rivals meet, you throw out the fucking records.
What is the worst game happening today?
Maybe you are like me, and you have a particular thing for watching the worst basketball imaginable on the shittiest, grainiest feed imaginable. If that’s the case, here’s a list for you! By combined Kenpom rank, here’s what I can come up with (over 600 as the requirement):
- 603: Holy Cross (321) at Dr. Loyola (282)—3pm, likely on the Patriot League Network SAY IT AIN’T SO, BILL. I STILL BELIEVE.
- 610: LIU-Brooklyn (272) at Bryant (338)—3pm
- 625: Southern (328) at Grambling (297)—5:30pm
- 627: Binghamton (290) at Maine (337)—12pm, ESPN3
- 632: Delaware State (351) at North Carolina Central (281)—3pm, and despite featuring the literal worst team in the country, this is somehow not the worst game today because NCCU is halfway competent in the MEAC.
- 636: McNeese State (292) at Northwestern State (344)—ESPN3
- 640: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (301) at Incarnate Word (339)—3pm
- 646: South Carolina State (341) at Savannah State (305)—5pm
- 647: Morgan State (331) at Norfolk State (316)—5:30pm
- 650: Coppin State (346) at Bethune-Cookman (304)—3pm
- 662: South Carolina Upstate (335) at Kennesaw State (327)—3pm, ESPN3, meaning this is the worst-possible game you can access without getting a subscription to MEAC Sports Online or whatever
- 673: Alabama A&M (347) at Arkansas-Pine Bluff (326)
- 676: Florida A&M (343) at Howard (333)—3pm
- 678: Alcorn State (342) at Jackson State (336)—5:30pm
- 695: Alabama State (345) at Mississippi Valley State (350)—4pm, Go Delta Devils!
I realize this probably isn’t the worst game that’s been played this season (that would, as of now, go to UM-Eastern Shore vs. Delaware State at a combined 699, followed by Alabama A&M vs. Mississippi Valley State at a combined 697). But holy shit. It’s bad, guys. I must watch it.
Illinois (12-11, 2-8) at #17 Ohio State (19-5, 10-1)
11am | FS1
Thump says Illinois will never lose again, and I’m inclined to believe him. Therefore I am picking Illinois to walk into the Schott and upset the
second-best (third-best, sorry, I forgot how shitty wisconsin is) story in the Big Ten this year.
12pm | CBS
It’s a good thing these two games overlap for a half, meaning I can look at my TV nervously, uncertain of which to choose, and then ignore them both.
Here’s your thread for the weekend. I’m sure there are better games on or something, but if you feel inclined to talk about Big Ten basketball, feel free to do it here.