The Big Ten has opened up 7-W against the rest of the field of the NCAA Tournament with a big loss from Wisconsin to 12 seed Oregon as the only blemish on the record. Unfortunately, the field can’t go perfect today with Minnesota taking on Michigan State in the round of 32 but we have four games today that are mostly back-to-back, all on one channel, for constant B1G basketball watching. Not sure how we lucked into that solid channel lineup and time pairing.
Maryland escaped Belmont in the Round of 64 after a resurgent second half behind Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith dominating the paint but they’ll have their hands full today with LSU’s front line. LSU would be one of the three worst three point shooting teams in the B1G but what they lack in outside shooting they make up for in 2pt FG% and efficiency that mainly comes from cleaning up offensive rebounds on easy put backs. On the face of it, that’s good for Maryland since they’re one of the best rebounding teams in the nation but secondary support on long rebounds from LSU missed shots may determine the direction of this game. An added incentive for Maryland: A win takes them to Washington DC for the Sweet 16 for a defacto home game next weekend.
There isn’t a reason that Michigan should lose this game unless they forget what defense is behind the arc. Nevada had every single chance to beat Florida and didn’t assert themselves to do it but I don’t expect that from a disciplined Michigan team with multiple scoring options. Florida hit timely 3s and nailed FTs down the stretch but did not look like a team advancing past this weekend.
Minnesota vs. Michigan State (-10) || 7:45pm ET tipoff || CBS
I think we all know what’s going to happen here and Vegas does too unless Minnesota keeps up its red hot three point shooting from last game to keep things interesting.
The only game of the day for the B1G that overlaps another. This game looks like it’ll be a ton of fun because Villanova has the offensive proficiency to keep up with Purdue. This game is likely coming down to who is stepping up from the supporting cast at Purdue. Interior scoring from Trevion Williams and Matt Haarms will be key to taking Purdue over the top.
Update: Nojel Eastern is playing today, which is huge win for Purdue’s defensive efforts against Villanova.
Schedule/Other Games of Note:
- NIT: Indiana takes on Arkansas in a second-round NIT showcase that’s a rematch of a November battle that took place in Fayetteville. The Hoosiers dropped that one 73-72.
- NCAAW: A day after Iowa nearly gave the conference a screw-up of epic proportions by failing to put 15-seed Mercer away until the death, 3-seed Maryland will try to avoid any such luck. They’ll have Radford at 10am on ESPN2 (regionally) and WatchESPN (nationally).
Open thread, behave, etc.