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Big Ten Basketball Week 1 Roundup: Spartans, Purdue tumble; ‘Cats, Huskers show their whole ass

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No signature wins yet, and a couple season-defining losses right off the bat.

UConn v Iowa State Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Good morning or afternoon or evening! I’m not sure when this will go out. There was a week of Big Ten basketball, though, and as the conference swings from early-season tests right into some marquee matchups in the Gavitt Games (stay tuned for previews this afternoon), we’ve got a lot to discuss and forget...

Illinois Fighting Illini (2-1)

def. Nicholls Colonels, 78-70 (OT)
def. Grand Canyon Antelopes, 83-71
L, Arizona Wildcats, 90-69

Thump: I knew Illinois wasn’t going to hang around in the second half against Arizona as soon as I saw Kofi Cockburn hobble off the court with bad cramps at the end of the Grand Canyon game Friday night.

This team is not deep enough to play on short rest two time zones west on the road against a team that will definitely be ranked all year. So far, things are in line with my expectations. The fall-off when they ran out of gas was pretty dramatic, and though Giorgi and Kofi are pretty good as underclassmen already, there’s a huge difference when neither is on the court. Those are the minutes where it really would have helped to have an upperclassman Greg Eboigbodin or something.

But hey, being one good player away from being great is better than being 4 great players away from being good.

And hey. That Nicholls State struggle aged pretty well when the Colonels went dahn to Pittsburgh. Panthers need beat, Colonels ran ‘em aht into the crick.

Indiana Hoosiers (2-0)

def. Western Illinois Leathernecks, 98-65
def. Portland State Vikings, 85-74

Candystripes: While the Hoosiers started slow in both of these games (a little worrying, to be sure), they pulled away from Western Illinois in the second half and held off some pesky Vikings long enough to grab the Ws. Most importantly, no major injuries to report from either game, which is like 75% of what you want this time of year.

And also, I’m only like half interested in basketball season right now because #RANKEDINDIANAFOOTBALL!

Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0)

def. SIU Edwardsville Cougars, 87-60

Stew: Iowa, thankfully, did what a Big Ten team is supposed to do to an overmatched opponent and pulled away never to be seriously threatened, even if they wait until the beginning of the 2nd half to do it.

Jordan Bohnannon, who is still recovering from hip surgery, is still contemplating a redshirt, but did play a few minutes and looked good, if a bit rusty. If I had to bet, I’d say he’s playing the whole season. Otherwise, Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp picked up where they left off last season (very good). It was a good start, but it is good to see that they didn’t just fall completely flat, yet.

Maryland Terrapins (2-0)

def. Holy Cross Crusaders, 95-71
def. Rhode Island Rams, 73-55

DJ Carver: Maryland started off slow, 10 turnovers in 8 minutes will do that, but rebounded nicely after the first ten minutes of the first half. Turgeon pulled Darryl Morsell, who had 5 of those ten turnovers, and went with a bigger lineup sans Anthony Cowan Jr. being sub 6’. Turgeon came out in the 2nd half and showed a switching defensive scheme that thoroughly confused URI and allowed Maryland to expand its lead in short order. I’m...cautiously optimistic. I’ll check back in mid January or so when we will begin the annual finish the last month of the B1G schedule .500.

Much better adjustment and that’s saying something for a coach that has shown stubbornness in actually changing what he’s doing. 3 point lead into the half turned into a 21 point lead with 4 to go. MD has the tools there and Turgeon seems to be allowing the team to play and figure it out until they get to some real games. URI is generally a contending mid major so they provided much more of a test than Holy Cross but Turgeon needs to figure out what his lineup will be in short order.

Michigan Wolverines (1-0)

def. Appalachian State Mountaineers, 79-71

Ed. note: We are looking for a Michigan fan who doesn’t mind chatting basketball! If you’re interested, drop a Fanpost on Wolvie hoops and call it to MNW’s attention! (You can also email him, but he’ll just tell you to drop a Fanpost first, so let’s skip that step, huh?)

Michigan State Spartans (1-1)

L, vs. Kentucky Wildcats (in New York), 69-62
def. Binghamton Bearcats, 100-47

Andrew K: MSU, in traditional fashion, played about a C- game in a marquee season opener. Aside from Cassius Winston, it was a lot of guys in foul trouble and a lot of underclassmen looking unprepared for that kind of spotlight - unless you count Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey, who is going to be fantastic.

Between last Tuesday and Sunday night, Cassius Winston’s brother died, struck by a train. Although I tend to take a cynical view of athletic programs always portraying themselves as families, there was plainly something to that tonight, and MSU looked much more the part of a preseason #1 in easily dispatching Binghamton. Winston started and went for 17 and 11, but perhaps more encouragingly, the transition game thrived. Have to take this one with a grain of salt given the drop off in competition, but when this team is clicking it’s a thing of beauty.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-1)

def. Cleveland State Vikings, 85-50
L, Oklahoma Sooners (in Sioux Falls), 71-62

WSR: I didn’t watch the game on Saturday because I was distracted, but it sounds like we were playing well until about the 8 minute mark when we weren’t any more. From what I’ve heard, the key to Minnesota will be the 3-guard backcourt of Gabe Kalscheur and transfers Marcus Carr & Peyton Willis scoring, along with spectacularly underrated (by the OTE “writers” in our preseason awards) Daniel Oturu staying out of foul trouble.

1-1 to start isn’t great, but at least we didn’t lose to a Civil War battleship or something I guess.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-2)

L, UC Riverside Highlanders, 66-47
L, Southern Utah Thunderbirds, 79-78 (2OT)

Jesse Collins: One would assume that at minimum, Nebrasketball would at least give one pause to wonder which of it and Nebraska Football is a bigger current disaster but the complete roster reimagination is exactly what your expect and this will take some time. Losing to Southern Utah is bad but I am guessing there will be other lows along the way. On an upside, I now know most of the names on the roster so that’s fun.

Northwestern Wildcats (0-1)

L, Merrimack Warriors, 71-61

MNW: It’s bad. Pete Nance had a nice boxscore game but was not terribly efficient, Pat Spencer will provide leadership but is that really where you want your leadership coming from, and losing to a team newly-transitioned from D-II is...not ideal.

This is a Northwestern team that is not going to win many games unless they can lock down on defense (rotations that were bad against Quincy in the exhibition remained bad against Merrimack, neither of which is a school against which your rotations should look bad), and this is a Northwestern team that is not going to win many games unless they act like they have seen an aggressive 2-3 zone before and can shoot their way out of it.

This is a Northwestern team that is not going to win many games.

Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0)

def. Cincinnati Bearcats, 64-56
def. UMass Lowell River Hawks, 76-56

MNW: I caught snippets of the UMass Lowell game on ESPNU, which was objectively the wrong one of these two to watch, because Kaleb Wesson just bullied the Riverhawks. The Cincy win looked every bit a grind-it-out, ugly game in which the Buckeyes’ athleticism helped them overcome a rockfight.

I also don’t know what the hell a Kyle Young is (like, the announcers said his name and I got confused and thought he was a transfer—I see that he played good minutes last year, but he must’ve been so thoroughly whelming that I just forgot about him) or where the Bucks got all these trees, but I’m curious to see playmakers like freshman point guard D.J. Carton tested against Villanova.

Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0)

def. MD-Eastern Shore Hawks, 84-46
def. Wagner Seahawks, 91-64

MNW: These two teams are rated 349th and 339th in Kenpom, respectively. Aaron likely did not want to waste time thinking about them, and I do not want you to do that, either.

Purdue Boilermakers (1-1)

def. Green Bay Phoenix, 79-57
L, Texas Longhorns, 70-66

Boilerman: What can I say? There was Boiler on Boiler violence as Linc Darner’s Green Bay team was pesky enough to hang around until a late Purdue run put them away.

Unfortunately, Shaka still owns Matt Painter. The Boilers had chances to put the Longhorns away but a couple of costly turnovers (and an extremely questionable foul) gave the game away. Jahaad Proctor continues to impress. This team will need some time to gel but damn, am I excited to see what these guys can do.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-0)

def. Bryant Bulldogs, 73-71
def. Niagara Purple Eagles, 86-39

MNW: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Rutgers shot a putrid sub-40% from the field and sub-20% from deep, grabbed a third of their misses, and escaped a bad team.

Look, Geo Baker is a scorer in the Corey Sanders Chucker Tradition, and Ron Harper, Jr., can score in bunches, too. After those two (and Montez Mathis, if you squint or get me drunk), the Knights are gonna do their clang’n’bang routine for the foreseeable future, unless Stony Brook transfer Akwasi Yeboah and gritty, headband-wearing Jersey kid Paul Mulcahy are able to contribute that much that early off the bench.

So what do we learn? That the Knights can stave off an upset to one sub-KP 300 NEC team and beat a MAAC team whose coach resigned approximately 10 hours before the season and is now led by Teabag Paulus. They won’t be tested until maybe a neutral site game (in Toronto!) with the Bonnies this weekend, and probably not until an @Pitt, @MSU combo in early December. Until then, stay tuned for more clang’n’bang shenanigans.

wisconsin badgers (1-1)

L, Saint Mary’s Gaels (in Sioux Falls), 65-63
def. Eastern Illinois Panthers, 65-52

MC: There are some positives and some causes for concern with this team.

Obviously it is going to be a transition moving on from Ethan Happ and then not having Micah Potter this semester because the NCAA hates anyone that applies to Ohio State, but there’s enough here to get an idea. Wisconsin lost a very winnable game to a ranked St. Mary’s squad that escaped behind excellent guard play at times, mainly the first half. The Badgers did well to force overtime despite being down 9 with 8 minutes to go. Kobe King was very passive in the opener and this team really needs him to become an alpha dog to succeed; thankfully, he at least did so against Eastern Illinois. Putrid outside shooting and streaky free throws continue to scare me.

Beez: Wisconsin had a bunch of turnovers against St. Mary’s, and the free throw shooting was painful but still better than last year, but the 3-point shooting--which is what really killed Wisconsin down the stretch last season--is still horrendous. Until Potter gets cleared to play, which probably isn’t until January, this team is going to lose a lot of games if it can’t get its outside shooting to a respectable level. I didn’t watch the E. Illinois game.

Poll

Who had the best opening week?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Maryland
    (34 votes)
  • 34%
    Ohio State
    (48 votes)
  • 16%
    Rutgers
    (23 votes)
  • 10%
    Penn State
    (14 votes)
  • 13%
    Other, somehow?
    (19 votes)
138 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who had the worst start to the season?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    Nebraska
    (100 votes)
  • 30%
    Northwestern
    (49 votes)
  • 8%
    I am going to go to the comments and, with a straight face, tell you that someone who did not lose to a team that is a glorified D-II school had a worse week.
    (13 votes)
162 votes total Vote Now

Let us know your Week 1 reactions in the comments. Thanks for reading OTE on B1G Squeakyfouls, and look for Gavitt Games previews and an open thread this afternoon.