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Big Ten Basketball Mid-Week Previews

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...can the Spartans keep it up, can the Buckeyes right the ship, and is this it for Indiana?

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I’ll be honest: In choosing the photo for this piece, I clicked the wrong image. But I think it encapsulates the level of energy I’ve put into this, so here you go.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

I got this to our writers late. In the meantime, we’re just kind of keeping the lights on. Might I recommend you read our weekend’s recaps or the Ohio State football postmortem for 2018? Take some personal responsibility.

BigRedTwice: We don’t have a game, mercifully.

YOU’RE NOT HELPING, BRT.

Anyways, the rest of you: Once you’ve done that, come on back and talk about the week’s Big Ten basketball games with us. We’ll be honest—you’re not missing a whole lot tonight, though perhaps you’re as surprised as I am to learn that Minnesota is somehow still topside in their Big Ten record and not actually burning to the ground.

It’s the damnedest thing.

Tuesday, January 22

Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-4, 4-3 B1G) at #5 Michigan Wolverines (17-1, 6-1)

6pm | BTN | Mich -12 | O/U 137.5

Ignas Brazdeikis and Charles Matthews combined for...what, 5 total points against wisconsin? Does anyone think they’re gonna be held in check by the Gophers?

WhiteSpeedReceiver: We don’t have a game tonight either, and I refuse to acknowledge any evidence to the contrary.

Poll

Can the Gophers stave off a Big Ten collapse?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Nah—it’s over.
    (4 votes)
  • 57%
    Maybe, but not tonight—Michigan rolls.
    (8 votes)
  • 14%
    Yep, and it starts tonight! Gopher upset!
    (2 votes)
14 votes total Vote Now

Indiana Hoosiers (12-6, 3-4) at Northwestern Wildcats (11-7, 2-5)

8pm | BTN | NU -1 | O/U 135.5

I’m not particularly sure where anyone in their right mind gets off betting on Northwestern here.

Update: Holy shit, these two teams have already played this year? Jesus, it’s been that long since I was drunk in a brewery in Indianapolis. My goodness, how time flies when you’re mediocre at basketball.

Can the ‘Cats stop definite/probably/maybe/surely not/better than Carsen Edwards, tho/surefire NBA Draft lottery pick Romeo Langford? In addition, last time Langford was Juwan Morgan (17 pts, 8/11 FG, 12 rebs) tormenting Northwestern with his length and inside scoring ability, though neither the ‘Cats nor the Hoosiers with Dererk Pardon (24 pts, 11/15 FGs) appeared interested in stopping the other.

By now, Northwestern has to hope that their gunner and spark plug, Ryan Taylor and Anthony Gaines, respectively, have hit their strides. Taylor has made at least 3 threes in each of his last four Big Ten games (48.4% from deep in those games). Gaines has taken a greater role in the offense with Vic Law scuffling since returning from injury, and he’s not terribly efficient on offense, he at least gets to the line (5 FTA per game over the last 4, making 4.5 of those per game) disproportionately to the rest of the Northwestern lineup.

A Northwestern performance stemming from strong performances of those two gives them a chance. If it falls to Law and Pardon again, though, we’ll see whether they can outduel the tired Hoosier duo of Langford and Morgan. And that’s to say nothing of De’Ron Davis. I don’t like our chances.

Poll

Who you got?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Hoosiers
    (13 votes)
  • 35%
    ‘Cats
    (7 votes)
20 votes total Vote Now

Wednesday, January 23

Purdue Boilermakers (12-6, 5-2) at Ohio State Buckeyes (12-5, 2-4)

6pm | BTN

Preview forthcoming.

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Purdue
    (82 votes)
  • 25%
    Ohio State
    (28 votes)
110 votes total Vote Now

Wisconsin badgers (12-6, 4-3) at Illinois Fighting Illini (5-13, 1-6)

8pm | BTN

beez: Will this be a giant letdown, a small letdown, or a not-at-all letdown for Wisconsin, coming off the big win at home against Michigan? The pessimist in me says “giant letdown,” but the basketball-understanding guy in me and the listen-to-Thump-talk-about-Illinois-basketball guy in me says no way Wisconsin loses this game. Embarrassingly, Wisconsin needs to win this game to stay above 0.500 in conference play after a decidedly rocky and/or trash start to the conference season. (Losing at home to Minnesota? In overtime at home to Purdue?!?)

Assuming no major upset here, curious onlookers will want to keep eyes on Happ as he continues his run as least-respected top 10 National Player of the Year candidate. Also worth watching, assuming no upset, is, uh...let’s say Kobe King. A heralded recruit who, like the rest of the team, got injured last season has seemingly started to break out of his shell. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve and fulfill his destiny as “That one guy on Wisconsin who can drive to the basket.”

Also, hells yeah I capitalized the W in Wisconsin. /pwnd, MNW. /pwnd.

Poll

Do the Illini catch wisconsin napping?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Yep! Here comes Brad Underwood!
    (19 votes)
  • 84%
    lolno
    (105 votes)
124 votes total Vote Now

Thursday, January 24

#6 Michigan State Spartans (17-2, 8-0) at #19 Iowa Hawkeyes (16-3, 5-3)

6pm | FS1

Eric Karlszewski: MSU goes to Iowa City on Thursday, facing a Hawkeye team that’s been red-hot since taking a beating in Breslin back in the 2-game conference warmup in December.

MSU will need a lot more from Nick Ward than they got yesterday against Maryland, but there was good news on the injury front as Kyle Ahrens came back to extend the bench a bit. Still no Josh Langford, but it sounds as though he’s getting pretty close.

I don’t think MSU pulls off the back-to-back roadies against tough opponents as part of a 3-games-in-a-week deal, but I’ve been wrong every time I’ve felt misgivings about a game since Louisville. Guess I’ll just have to watch.

Stew: If Cook and Garza are back to 100%, and they stay out of foul trouble, and the team decides to play defense for a whole game, and the inside-outside game is clicking, and they’re able to hit their 3s at a decent clip, and they can force MSU into a bit of foul trouble, then maybe, MAYBE, Iowa can eek out a signature win.

It’s a pretty bad matchup as MSU can throw backcourt bodies out there, seemingly endlessly. And Iowa has absolutely no way to slow down Cassius Winston.

Poll

Pick’em.

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Sparty
    (186 votes)
  • 37%
    Herky
    (112 votes)
298 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the week’s basketball games. Behave.