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2018 Big Ten Tournament Day 3 Command Center

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/Bee-One-Gee State Of Mind Intensifies

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Purdue
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Game 7: Michigan State [1] vs wisconsin [9]

Michigan State, 28-3 overall, 16-2 B1G, KenPom 4, RPI 15

wisconsin, 14-17 overall, 7-11 B1G, KenPom 80, RPI 122

Noon EST, BTN

Andrew Kraszewski: Whatever distractions come their way - and they have come, massive and frequent - this team still hasn’t lost in a month and a half, still has the best talent in the conference, and should still beat most teams it will face, in this tournament and the big one. Four of five starters - Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., Nick Ward, and Cassius Winston - have shown the ability to take control of a game.

Beez: MSU is a much, much better team than Wisconsin, and Wisconsin is playing a back-to-back. I don’t think a lot has changed in the five days since the teams last played. It’s going to take the game of the year from Happ, Davison, and a third Badger to win. No matter the result, I expect another close, exciting game between two hashtag real rivals.

AKprediction: MSU swept the regular-season series with 15-point home and 5-point road wins, and platitudes about how hard it is to beat a team 3 times in a year aside, it took a shooting day from Brad Davison that he’s not likely to repeat to keep it close in Madison. Give me MSU 61, wisco 53.

Beez-diction: On Monday, I said Wisconsin would either lose the first BTT game or lose by 30 in the semis. On Wednesday, I predicted Wisconsin would lose their first BTT. By the laws of logic and math, then, I have to predict Wisconsin to win this game. Wisco 70, MSU 65.

Game 8: [4] Nebraska vs [5] Michigan

Nebraska, 22-9 overall, 13-5 B1G, KenPom 59, RPI 61

Game 4 winner record/KenPom/RPI

30 mins after Game 7, BTN

Jesse: So here’s the thing... Nebraska needs this game if it wants any chance to get into the tournament. I’ve said - along with many others now - that 23 is the magic number. Win this one and we have swept Michigan for the season. I believe the Wolverines will be more prepared for Nebraska’s ‘switch everything’ approach, but that seems to also be something that bothers them so Nebraska has a fighting chance. My head says this game is close with a Michigan win. Let’s hope I’m an idiot.

BRT: My head says that Michigan wins this one, but my heart just isn’t having it. I can’t help it—I’ve bought into this team and I’ve loved watching them this season. That sounds corny, and it is, but how many of you can say the same of your team this season? Not many of you. I want to see this team and their anti-Nazi t-shirts and won’t-quit determination get to go dancing. In a way, this is refreshingly simple: win tomorrow, and that might happen. Lose, and it definitely won’t. The marching orders are simple—let’s see what they can do with that kind of pressure. (And thanks to Iowa for running Michigan hard today—let’s hope that works in the Huskers’ favor.)

Michigan team preview: Any postseason game where your two team leaders foul out and you still win, even in overtime against an overmatched opponent, has to count as a success. Don’t think of this as typical Michigan basketball, relying on the 3-ball and half-assing it on defense; that’s not really what this team is anymore, and the ability to play a more grinding style should bode well this time of year.

AKprediction: Michigan may have shown its Achilles heel a bit against Iowa - free throw shooting. A sharper opponent like Nebraska could make them pay for all those empty trips. That said, I would still give them the edge here, say 76-72.

Game 9: Ohio State [2] vs Penn State [7]

Ohio State, 24-7 overall, 15-3 B1G, KenPom 15, RPI 17

Penn State, 20-12 overall, 10-9 B1G, 29 KenPom, 82 RPI

30 mins after Game 8, BTN

AKalysis, Ohio State: Fair to say no one who wasn’t, for example, just stirring shit up per their usual custom expected much of this Ohio State team, but they came within a game of sharing the regular season title. Outside of Keita Bates-Diop’s explosion from nondescript and then injured in his first two years to sensational as a junior, no one player on the roster will wow you statistically. For Chris Holtmann to have installed his concept with this degree of buy-in in year one is truly impressive, but maybe because the conference as a whole was down this year, it doesn’t seem like the Buckeyes have had much national press.

AKalysis, Penn State: Without Mike Watkins, PSU struggled a bit with Northwestern’s nondescript front line, but Tony Carr remains one of the better lead guards in the league. That lack of bench production could come back to bite them today though - Carr, Shep Garner, Josh Reaves, and Lamar Stevens all played at least 32 minutes (the first three all had at least 37) and scored all but 5 of Penn State’s points yesterday.

AKprediction: In this case I will buy in to the third time being the charm trope. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Ohio State get back to their best basketball in this tournament, as they have to feel that after sitting atop the standings for most of the year and beating the other two conference heavies head-to-head, they let the title slip away, and at the hands of this opponent no less. OSU 68, PSU 63.

Aaron Yorke: Andrew is right about Penn State’s bench depth. There isn’t enough talent there to allow Pat Chambers to rest the starters in anything but a blowout. The Northwestern game wasn’t one of those, as the Nittany Lions had trouble scoring throughout and didn’t pull away until Josh Reaves and Tony Carr hit back-to-back three-pointers in the final four minutes.

Those long jumpers were the only source of offense for Penn State all night long. Lamar Stevens had a dreadful game, and the Lions didn’t get anything from Mike Watkins’s three substitutes. That’s how the team ended up shooting 28 percent from two-point range and a whopping 45 percent from beyond the arc. If those figures didn’t sound fluky enough, Carr hit a least a couple of his six three-pointers in isolation like James Harden. Carr is really good, but it’s hard to imagine him having another shooting performance like that without a day of rest.

In Penn State’s favor is the fact that it beat Ohio State twice this season, including a 79-56 drubbing two weeks ago in State College. In three games since then, the Buckeyes haven’t been super impressive. They lost to Michigan, blew out Rutgers, and escaped Indiana in double overtime. Even with wins over Michigan State and Purdue earlier in the season, Ohio State doesn’t seem quite as solid as it’s record says. On the other hand, the Buckeyes should be fresh enough on defense to give Penn State’s struggling offense fits. I’ll take Ohio State, 75-72.

Meanwhile in the OTE Slack Channel, the amazing analysis you’ve come to expect was being planned for Friday...

Andrew Kraklepopski, 8:44 pm: “so here’s the thing: I’m not doing this again. I’m not staying up for the results of a game in which one team has 8 points with 8 minutes to go in the 1st. If Indiana blows this, someone please make the necessary adjustments to tomorrow morning’s article. Or don’t, and it can be a monument to IU’s failure.”

And so we present... a monument to IU’s failure:

Game 10: Purdue [3] vs Indiana [6] rutger [14]

Purdue, 26-5 overall, 15-3 B1G, KenPom 5, RPI 9

Indiana, 17-14 overall, 10-9 B1G, KenPom 73, RPI 111 NA

30 mins after Game 9, BTN, [game line]

AKalysis, Purdue: The late-season swoon did not come at a great time, and like OSU, they have to be smarting a bit over not getting at least a piece of the regular season title in spite of long stretches of dominance. Opponents have noticed the nasty outside shooting slump this team has hit of late, and as good as Isaac Haas is inside, this team won’t hit its ceiling if it’s 4 guys watching him do his thing.

Boilerman31: Ahh, the classic rivalry we’ve all been waiting for, Purdue vs. Indi...wait, Indiana lost to rutger?

DAMNIT, I wanted to stream a real game, not this.

Fine, we’ll go with this, rutger’s defense gave Purdue fits last time, but Dakota Mathias is regaining his shooting touch and Carsen Edwards has been gashing just about everyone recently. Throw in Isaac Haas and a not-puking Vince Edwards and well, you get the point. Purdue has no business losing this game and I don’t think they do.

Boilers by double digits. Mark it.

AKalysis, Indiana: Sure, they had an opponent who had just played in a game that left me sore after watching it to say nothing of what playing it must have been like, but they looked far better yesterday than they have for most of the season. This is also a team with good deal of veterancy to it looking to keep their own season alive while spiting a rival, so anything could happen.

ANYTHING DID HAPPEN

AKprediction: Huh, do y’all know each other? Purdue won the only regular season matchup, and on the road no less, but at the time the Boilers were rolling and that’s not quite the case anymore. Purdue still has a prodigious advantage up front, so I would expect a victory here, but maybe IU makes it interesting. (ix-nay on the maybe there, Andrew) PU 76, IU 69.

Happy weekend, happy gamethread, keep an eye out for Purdue Pete, he got away from us on the subway