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Big Ten Basketball Previews, Open Thread: MAKE IT STOP

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Oh yeah, and we’re gonna make you learn about the Atlantic Sun Tournament. SIT THERE AND LEARN ABOUT IT.

NCAA Basketball: Longwood at Arizona State
we are here to do one thing and one thing only and that is laugh at funny low-major names and nicknames
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We’re in a good place. We swear. Everything is fine.

Tuesday

Nebraska Cornhuskers at #9 Michigan State Spartans

6pm | ESPN2 | MSU -14 | O/U 139

Andrew K: On paper I wouldn’t think this game is an issue for MSU, but 3 of their 4 conference losses are to teams still in the running to play on Wednesday in the BTT. There just isn’t a lot of margin for error for this team right now, but Nebraska is dead in the water such that this should be a win.

Jesse Collins: Nebraska is probably dead in the water and injuries are piling up. Thomas Allen is probably not playing. Nana Akenten is but has been dinged up. I’d like to hope to see more fight, but even the close game at Purdue feels like an aberration at this point.

I just would like to see a not-record loss. What an awful end stretch.

#11 Purdue Boilermakers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

7pm | BTN | Purdue -5 | O/U 139.5

Boilerman31: I hate Minnesota. I hate their coach. I hate their stupid raised floor. I hate that Purdue has to play a late season game there after regaining their momentum.

I hope Carsen goes off for 40 and Cline goes 6/6 from the arc. Most importantly, I want everyone in Black and Gold to stay healthy.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: I really appreciate the Purdue love. I hope that Edwards doesn’t get Hummel’d at our beautiful historic arena, but I hope their team loses in some amazing fashion and they get to keep crying.

Wednesday

Penn State Nittany Lions at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

6pm | BTN | PSU -1.5 | O/U 136

This is honest-to-God a Rutgers play-in game for NIT hopes. Holy shit. This season.

Aaron Yorke: Both Penn State and Rutgers looked like garbage in early January, but both have been playing like tournament contenders lately thanks to timely performances on offense.

Rutgers freshman Ron Harper Jr. just exploded for a career-high 27 points to give the Knights a huge road win in Iowa. It will be fun to see if he can replicate the outburst or if Rutgers has to rely more on Eugene Omoruyi and Geo Baker.

For Penn State, the offense is finally starting to click after a horrendous start to Big Ten play. It’s amazing how smoothly everything runs when Lamar Stevens doesn’t have to score in isolation on every possession. Even with the improving offenses, this could be an ugly game because of the way both sides rely on their defenses to frustrate opponents.

Ohio State Buckeyes at Northwestern Wildcats

8pm | BTN | NU -2.5?!?!?!?!?!?!? | O/U 127

MNW: No Kaleb Wesson means Northwestern has a prayer until they clang 12 of their first 13 three-point attempts and fall behind by an insurmountable 25-14 at halftime.

Thursday

Iowa Hawkeyes at #21 Wisconsin Badgers

6pm | ESPN

Beezer07: Wisconsin losing at home to free-falling, Fran-less Iowa would be just another dumb thing to happen during this exceptionally dumb season. Therefore it’ll happen.

Stewmonkey13: Fuck wisconsin.

Creighton M: I got nothing. We’re going to lose because Iowa’s end of the season breakdowns are routine at this point. Fuck wisconsin.

Indiana Hoosiers at Illinois Fighting Illini

7pm | FS1

Thumpasaurus: So it seems like if you’re a bad big ten team you have a little run with surprising wins. In any case it would be pretty appropriate for this IU season if they had their hopes up only to be blown out of the water by a damn river otter.

Candystripes: Yeah, that pretty much explains our year. Therefore, Illinois is going to win this one going away, and Indiana’s NCAA hopes will be shattered, again, no for realsies this time.


We need something in this thread that brings us joy, because it’s really clear that Big Ten basketball has worn on all of us. This being a place where we only have 5-6 basketball articles a week, not a day, we get a little too close to one another sometimes, and the shittiness of Northwestern and Indiana and Minnesota and Iowa has really made things pretty tense.

So let’s all bond over something much, much better:

LOW-MAJOR CONFERENCE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENTS

(Seriously. That’s what we’re doing now. Skip to the bottom for Big Ten basketball open threading.)

Last night, you missed...well, calling it basketball is generous, but here we are. There were four games to decide which shitty Atlantic Sun program will go to the NCAA Tournament, and none of them actually mattered all that much!

The only reason you’d care about this is if you, like me, follow along with Medill graduates trying to be funny (kidding, Ben, you’re alright) by continuing the Never Made the Tourney Club in honor of something an actually-funny Rodger Sherman once founded to track the hilariously-inept plight of Northwestern.

Check out the full list at Mid-Major Madness:

Or, maybe, these games might be useful to know/talk about if you’re bored at your place of employment and want something on ESPN+/ESPN3 to distract you from the dreariness of your modern American workplace.

That’s right—we’ve got the whole schedule. Right here. Read on, friend:

Monday

Atlantic Sun Championship (Quarterfinals):

[5] NJIT Highlanders 83, [4] Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 78
[3] North Florida Ospreys 76, [6] North Alabama Lions 66
[2] Liberty Flames 72, [7] Jacksonville Dolphins 58
[1] Lipscomb Bisons 86, [8] Kennesaw State Fighting Owls 71

Did you know that little NJIT is 21-11?! I sure didn’t, and I watched these games on ESPN+ just so I could tell you an interesting fact about them. That one will have to suffice. Or the fact that SBNation has Lipscomb’s mascot wrong into its auto-tag and link function. It’s “Bisons”, needlessly plural, not “Bison”. Fucking idiots.

Onto tonight.

Tuesday

Big South Championship (1st Round)

[9] Longwood Lancers at [8] Hampton Pirates (6pm, ESPN3)
[11] USC Upstate Spartans at [6] Charleston Southern Buccaneers (6pm, ESPN3)
[10] UNC-Asheville Bulldogs at [7] Presbyterian Blue Hose (6pm, ESPN3)

We’ve got some of the best names here in the Big South—Blue Hose, Runnin’ Bulldogs, and Longwood [/snicker]. Too bad the basketball won’t be much better. Second-seeded Radford is the only Big South school inside the Top 150 of NET (131) or Kenpom (114).

Edit: here’s the Longwood Longtable analyzing the last time Longwood lanced into a Big Ten arena

Patriot League Tournament (1st Round)

[10] Holy Cross Crusaders at [7] Lafayette Leopards (6pm, PLN)
[9] Dr. Loyola Greyhounds at [8] Boston Terriers (6pm, PLN)

Bill Carmody’s potentially-last season isn’t going great :( Godspeed, 1-3-1 and Princeton Offense. But I’m rooting, meanwhile, for the Greyhounds, they of the awesome nickname and having former NU assistant and Carmody understudy Tavaras Hardy coaching the squad. Put in a couple good years, Tavaras, and then come home. It was awesome meeting you in Salt Lake City; now I want you to be the coach leading the ‘Cats back there.

Little Caesar’s Horizon League Championship (Quarterfinals):

[5] Illinois-Chicago Flames at [4] Green Bay Phoenix (7pm, ESPN+)
[8] IUPUI Jaguars at [1] Wright State Raiders (7pm, ESPN+)

MOTOR CITY MADNESS! LITTLE CAESAR’S ARENA! Let’s get weird and watch which low seed makes an NIT-bubble-bursting run to the finals (it was the Cleveland State Vikings in 2018 and Milwaukee Panthers in 2017). In your reminder, however, that life is cruel, neither of those participants will be around—for finishing 9th and 10th, respectively, in the Horizon League, the Vikings and Panthers are on the outside looking in, this year.

Wednesday

Northeast Conference Tournament (Quarterfinals):

[6] LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds at [3] Sacred Heart Pioneers (6pm, NEC Front Row)
[7] Wagner Seahawks at [2] Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (6pm, NEC Front Row)
[8] Bryant Bulldogs at [1] St. Francis (PA) Red Flash (6pm, NEC Front Row)
[5] St. Francis (NY) Terriers at [4] Robert Morris Colonials (6pm, NEC Front Row)

This is on NEC Front Row, and as such, there is no chance I even try to find out what that is. There’s parity galore in the NEC (top four are 12-6, 12-6, 11-7, 11-7)...it’s just a shame that Fair Dick is the highest in NET...at 219. Pass.

Guy with whom I go to grad school is a Wagner grad, though, so go Seahawks!

MOTOR CITY MADNESS! Little Caesar’s Horizon League Championship (Quarterfinals):

[7] Detroit-Mercy Titans vs. [2] Northern Kentucky Norse (6pm, ESPN+)
[6] Youngstown State Penguins vs. [3] Oakland Golden Grizzlies (6pm, ESPN+)

If I’m picking one of the bottom seeds in the Horizon Championships to make it to the final, this year it’s the Penguins—they split with Greg Kampe’s Golden Grizzlies, while they were the only of the 6-7-8 seeds (all 8-10 in conference) to look mildly competitive against either Northern Kentucky or Wright State.

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament (1st Round):

[8] SIU Edwardsville Cougars vs. [5] Morehead State Eagles (6:30pm, ESPN+)
[7] Tenn-Martin Skyhawks vs. [6] Eastern Illinois Panthers (8:30pm, ESPN+)

This one is, amusingly, played in Evansville, Indiana. The Purple Aces, of course, are members of the Missouri Valley Conference, though. Awkward.

Thursday

Atlantic Sun Tournament (Semifinals):

[3] North Florida at [2] Liberty (6pm, ESPN3)
[5] NJIT at [1] Lipscomb (7pm, ESPN3)

Having watched round 1...keep moving. Go NJIT.

Big South Championship (Quarterfinals):

[7] Presbyterian vs. [2] Radford Highlanders (11am, ESPN3)
[6] Charleston Southern vs. [3] Winthrop Eagles (1pm, ESPN3)
[8] Hampton vs. [1] Campbell Fighting Camels (5pm, ESPN3)
[5] High Point Panthers vs. [4] Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (7pm, ESPN3)

I dogged the Big South above, but it’s worth noting that at least Winthrop (KP 168) plays at the 16th-fastest pace in college basketball. This tourney could be clang-city, though. Give me the Runnin’ Bulldogs, because what a name, but otherwise...meh. At least something will be there to distract me at 11am.

MAAC Championship (Quarterfinals):

[9] Saint Peter’s Peacocks vs. [8] Marist Red Foxes (4pm, ESPN3)
[10] Fairfield Stags vs. [7] Manhattan Jaspers (6pm, ESPN3)
[11] Niagara Purple Eagles vs. [6] Monmouth Hawks (8pm, ESPN3)

THE NICKNAMES. COME TO ALBANY FOR THE NICKNAMES. Here we’ve got another conference where things broke out pretty evenly in the ol’ standings. I watched the Rider Broncs lose at MY Drake Bulldogs last December, so I guess they’re my pick with my head (they’re the 4-seed), but the Jaspers are my pick with my heart.

Patriot League Tournament (Quarterfinals):

[5] Navy Midshipmen at [4] American Eagles (6pm, PLN)
[10] Holy Cross at [2] Bucknell Bison (6pm, PLN)
[8] Boston at [1] Colgate Raiders (6pm, PLN)
[6] Army Black Knights at [3] Lehigh Mountain Hawks (6pm, PLN)

There is nothing redeemable here unless the Crusaders or Greyhounds head to Bucknell or Colgate. Patriot League ball is slow and bad.

ARCH MADNESS! Missouri Valley Tournament (1st Round):

[9] Valparaiso Crusaders vs. [8] Indiana State Sycamores (6:05pm, ESPN3]
[10] Evansville Purple Aces vs. [7] Illinois State Redbirds (8:35pm, ESPN3]

Arch Madness is one of those things on my weird bad basketball bucket list. Speaking of, stay tuned! I might be in Brookings for research next Monday-Tuesday, and if I am, it’ll be me, live! from the Denny Sanford Pentagon Center in Sioux Falls. Summit League, hoooooooooooo!

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament (Quarterfinals):

Morehead State/SIU-E vs. [4] Austin Peay Governors (6:30pm, ESPN3 or ESPN+)
EIU/UT-M vs. [3] Jacksonville State Gamecocks (8:30pm, ESPN3 or ESPN+)

I have nothing interesting to say about this tournament. On Monday night I accidentally washed a piece of fat from my roast into the garbage disposal, clogging it...and then I, a bourgeois graduate student (if such a thing exists) who rarely sullies my hands with manual labor, disconnected the disposal and plumbing, removed the offending oleaginate, and reconnected everything. It was a big moment in my sad life.

VEGAS MADNESS! West Coast Conference Tournament (1st Round):

[9] Pacific Tigers vs. [8] Pepperdine Waves (8pm, TheW.tv)
[10] Portland Pilots—an impressive 0-16!—vs. [7] San Diego Toreros (10pm, TheW.tv)

Holy shit, look at how far the WCC goes to make sure no Cinderella makes it through and potentially upsets Gonzaga or St. Mary’s:


That was exhausting. 700 words on Big Ten hoops, 1200 on shitty non-conference tournaments. And no, Corporate, I am not breaking that out into a second article.

It’s better than talking about Big Ten basketball at this point. Bracketology tomorrow. Here’s your open thread for the week’s games. Behave.

Poll

This was...

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    AMAZING.
    (14 votes)
  • 15%
    Fine.
    (15 votes)
  • 41%
    I REALLY WANTED TO VOTE ON MY TEAM’S GAME, MNW.
    (41 votes)
  • 30%
    I have called for a wellness check on MNW.
    (30 votes)
100 votes total Vote Now