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Big Ten Basketball Weekend Previews: Indiana-Maryland, Iowa-Penn State, Michigan-MichiganState, and more!

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Plus: Ranked Iowa plays ranked Penn State at the Palestra, an incredibly confusing sentence that we’ll need to work through as a group.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Holy moly, hoops are back. When last we spoke, Northwestern was going to handle Hartford and Ohio State expected to earn a tough NCAA Tournament resume-building win over West-by-God. I’m sure both those things happened. Now that Big Ten play is resuming, shall we see what’s up?

Thursday

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Purdue Boilermakers

6pm | BTN | Purdue -7.5 | O/U 133

Boilerman31: Back to B1G play. Matt Haarms and company will look to exact some revenge for the Gophers costing the Boilers an outright regular season title last year. This is another game where Purdue will have to figure out how to work through Haarms and Trevion Williams to open things up for Aaron Wheeler, Jahaad Proctor, and Sasha Stefanovic on the perimeter. Seeing that this game is in Mackey, I feel good about it.

Boilers win by 10+.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: We don’t usually win at Mackey, so I don’t have high expectations. I’m sure Daniel Oturu will be in foul trouble from the start for...reasons.

Boilerman: And if not, BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Poll

Does Purdue win?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    CHOO CHOO BITCHES
    (47 votes)
  • 31%
    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    (22 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now

Illinois Fighting Illini at #14 Michigan State Spartans

7pm | FS1 | MSU -10 | O/U 144

Andrew Kraszewski: The easy story in this matchup is the presumed return of Cassius Winston, and whether he can settle the score after a horrendous game against Illinois last year. He and a just-returned Rocket Watts feel like the key players against Illinois’ intense ball pressure, but given Kofi Cockburn’s emergence alongside Bezhanishvili, MSU’s bigs will be tested as well.

Thump (pre-recorded): We’ll play like shit in the first half, unable to stop them from finishing at the rim, unable to find an open shot and you’ll be able to see that it’s really frustrating. Trailing big at halftime, we’ll fight back playing tough defense and heating up from deep. Incredibly, we’ll have the ball in a one-possession game at some point in the last 8 minutes. But then someone will do a really dumb basketball play to completely blow it at the end and it will have been for nothing. This is Brad Underwood’s identity. This is what we do.

Poll

What happens?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    MSU blows it out
    (56 votes)
  • 45%
    Illinois falls behind, closes the gap, makes it a game, loses. Tom Izzo speaks out, bravely, when Brad Underwood is fired.
    (56 votes)
  • 9%
    Illinois wins against most odds
    (12 votes)
124 votes total Vote Now

Friday

Wisconsin Badgers at #5 Ohio State Buckeyes

6pm | FS1 | OSU -7.5 | O/U 124.5

MC ClapYoHandz: I’ll be covering my eyes well before tipoff.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Nebraska Cornhuskers

7pm | BTN | RU -6 | O/U 141

Jesse Collins: I’ve watched exactly zero minutes of Rutgers basketball this season but by all accounts they are decent? Maybe not NCAA tournament locks decent but bubble team who can mess with anyone. Nebraska has played up or down to competition as of late so who knows what happens this weekend. If the winter break doldrums can be shaken and a little PBA magic comes around, we got a chance. Most likely Nebraska drops another game.

Poll

Who wins this race to stay out of the cellar?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    Clang-and-bang Knights
    (96 votes)
  • 21%
    Organized chaos Huskers
    (26 votes)
122 votes total Vote Now

Saturday

Indiana Hoosiers at #15 Maryland Terrapins

11am | FOX

Candystripes: Indiana-Maryland seems like a battle of two teams who will do everything they can to give the game away, until one of them finally succeeds in the end. Given that this game is at Maryland, I fear IU may be the “winner” of that battle, but I also don’t want to count out the ability of Mark Turgeon to pull defeat from the jaws of victory.

DJ Carver: Candy summarized how the game will go perfectly.

Poll

Worst. Bowl Game. Ever.

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Hoosiers
    (24 votes)
  • 75%
    Terps
    (75 votes)
99 votes total Vote Now

#23 Iowa Hawkeyes at #21 Penn State Nittany Lions

1pm | BTN | The Palestra, Philadelphia

Stewmonkey13: A ranked matchup of Iowa and Penn State?!? 2020 is off to a weird start. In a twist this game is taking place at the Palestra in Philly, which is where Fran played in his White Magic days for Penn.

As for the game itself, I think PSU probably has the advantage. Iowa doesn’t have anyone who can really take on Lamar Stevens, though I suspect Connor McCaffery will get that arduous task. The biggest matchup will be between Mike Watkins and Luka Garza in the post. Garza has had issues with more athletic post players in the past, but he’s also been unstoppable on the offensive side so far this season, so it probably comes down to whoever can get the other into more foul trouble.

If Iowa can do that, limit turnovers (a troubling trend without Jordan Bohannon), shoot decently from deep, then they’ll win. But I suspect Iowa is going to have trouble stopping PSU’s offense, and will turnover the ball 15+ times on the way to a frustrating loss.

Aaron Yorke: Big game for Penn State as Big Ten play starts up again. Pat Chambers probably only needs to go .500 in league play to make the NCAA Tournament and justify everything he’s been building for the past decade.

However, it’s not like there are a bunch of gimme game this year with Rutgers and Nebraska already having produced upsets. That’s why this game and every other home game are so important. If Penn State can keep Luke Garza in check, it’s got a good chance to win in Philly, where the atmosphere in The Palestra should provide a little more oomph than the Lions are used to.

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Stompy Fran
    (70 votes)
  • 62%
    Shouty Pat
    (115 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now

Sunday

#12 Michigan Wolverines at #14 Michigan State Spartans

12:30pm | CBS

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Michigan
    (23 votes)
  • 82%
    Michigan State
    (109 votes)
132 votes total Vote Now

Northwestern Wildcats at Minnesota Golden Gophers

6:30pm | BTN

MNW: Ah, great. Nothing like a matchup that I definitely have little reason to not go see in person, and yet one that I want to go nowhere near.

Northwestern ended its non-conference slate by losing, at home, on a last-second layup to the Hartford Hawks, taking on the ignominious distinction of losing over 50% of its buy games. The ‘Cats will get, on a given night, a 20-point game from anyone, from Boo Buie to Miller Kopp to Ryan Young to Pete Nance to Pat Spencer. The problem? On a given night that one of them does that, everyone else doesn’t do shit.

So that’ll continue against Minnesota, ho hum, whatever. The Gophers contest shots well inside the arc, and Northwestern’s typical answer to that is a lot of forced and contested threes, so unless the Scorer of the Night is Buie or Kopp, it ain’t gonna end well. Pack in the lane (play a zone, just like you had to do against fucking Hartford), force the Gophers to shoot outside, use Jared Jones against the athleticism of Oturu, and see if we can fire-drill together a competent 59-52 win that would make Bill Carmody proud.

WSR: Wait. Shit. We have to play Northwestern too? Aw hell.

When you play against a crap team that packs it in, the Gophers will need Gabe Kalscheur, Marcus Carr, and Payton Willis to be hitting on 3s. That’s it. Make shots, beat Cats.

Purdue Boilermakers at Illinois Fighting Illini

7pm | FS1

Thump: We’ll play like shit in the first half, unable to stop them from finishing at the rim, unable to find an open shot and you’ll be able to see that it’s really frustrating. Trailing big at halftime, we’ll fight back playing tough defense and heating up from deep. Incredibly, we’ll have the ball in a one-possession game at some point in the last 8 minutes. But then someone will do a really dumb basketball play to completely blow it at the end and it will have been for nothing. This is Brad Underwood’s identity. This is what we do.


Here’s your basketball weekend open thread. Do whatever it is you do. Behave.