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Big Ten Midweek Hoops Recaps: Man, this conference might be decent at basketball.

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Illinois shows promise but falls short against Baylor, while Iowa keeps riding high on cupcakes and Michigan State slays the demons devils in Durham.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Michigan State Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Woof. What a week. Hoops recaps, go:

#2 Baylor Bears 82, #5 Illinois Fighting Illini 69

Thump believed and was excited and cannot be reached for comment.

Andrew K: I actually thought there was a big similarity between not only this game and MSU-Duke, but also the Kansas-Kentucky game: deeper, more experienced teams have the upper hand in the early going this year.

Illinois probably had the two most talented players on the court in Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu, but Baylor just kept coming and coming, and in the second half, Illinois caved to the pressure.

Indiana Hoosiers: “Maui”, 3rd Place

Indiana Hoosiers 79, Providence Friars 58
#17 Texas Longhorns 66, Indiana 44
Indiana 79, Stanford Cardinal 63

Candystripes: Things that are gonna be important for Indiana this year: Getting Trayce Jackson-Davis enough touches to get his full potential unleashed without giving him literally every possession; figuring out how to make shots when a lot of them just aren’t falling; making 3s, like, ever; and figuring out how to balance the guard play around all of the above. When those things work, IU does well; when they don’t, you get whatever the hell happened against Texas.

Hopefully more of the good stuff going forward, else Archie might want to consider making sure his resume is properly updated.

Maryland Terrapins vs. Towson Tigers [canceled]

Michigan Wolverines 84, Ball State Cardinals 65

If you have hot takes about Michigan basketball and would like to write about them regularly, drop me a line!

#8 Michigan State Spartans 75, #6 Duke Blue Devils 69

Andrew K: MSU started its matchup with Duke the way they often do: looking completely surprised that Duke was allowed to hand check with impunity, turning it over relentlessly, and missing a ton of shots.

What was different, though, was Aaron Henry making enough will plays on both ends of the floor to let Izzo find a combination that worked. In this case, it was reserve forwards Malik Hall (10 points, 10 reb) and Julius Marble (12 points, 5/5 shooting) stepping into a foul-ravaged front court and playing great.

After halftime, the expected sources of scoring - Rocket Watts and Joey Hauser showed up and pushed the lead to a margin MSU was able to make stand up. The Spartans have plenty to hammer out, especially on offense, but their defense and depth are going to let them hold down a lot of opponents while they figure out who shoots when.

Minnesota Golden Gophers 67, Loyola Marymount Lions 64

Wasn’t as easy for the Gophers when they ran it back with the Lions, but Marcus Carr is really fucking good, y’all. Banged home the three with :02.7 to go, and Minnesota escaped a bad buy-game loss.

Speaking of, Iowa State lost to South Dakota State last night. Just wanted to wedge that in here. GO JACKRABBITS.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 76, South Dakota Coyotes 69

Jesse Collins: Nebraska played a sloppy game where they didn’t seem too engaged and took a ton of lazy shots early against a team content on packing the lane and trying to draw charges. They eventually built a 18 point lead late in the second before taking the foot off the gas because why not?

It was—weirdly—a comfortable win nonetheless and probably the thing about this team is they have enough talent to just sort of win dumb games. The Trey McGowens, Teddy Allen, and Dalano Blanton trio are pretty good and there is some bench scoring with Stevenson, Kobe Webster, and Yvan Ouedrago.

I’m... encouraged? I dunno. Kind of a weird feeling but this team continues to be miles ahead of last year’s team.

Northwestern Wildcats 92, Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions 49

MNW: A very slow, very sloppy, very chuck-happy start turned into a bit of a youth movement for the ‘Cats, who got some timely gunning from Miller Kopp and dynamic guard play outta Bill & Mary transfer Chase Audige to ease away from the Golden Lions.

There’s a lot to work out—and reason to believe NU can work through some things. Pete Nance might still be an underwhelming forward (I’ve not seen much softer post play outta someone 6’10”), but he recovered to a respectable 11 points on 5/11 shooting. Frosh G Ty Berry compounded a bad defensive play with an awful turnover on the in-bounds in the first half, leading to 4 UAPB points and a quick hook, but recovered to go 3/4 from deep and drop 15 in his debut. Shit, even Boo Buie dished out 7 assists and the team assisted on 25 of their 32 shots—these are issues (Nance, guard play, poor assist rates) that doomed NU in 2019-20; maybe they’ve fixed some things.

Look, the Golden Lions are gonna travel 2200 miles and go 0-5 on a bus trip that’s been to Marquette, wisconsin, Iowa State, Northwestern, and now St. Louis. This isn’t great competition, and this is a worn-out team. But Northwestern showed us the 2020-21 blueprint: an aerial attack that’ll launch threes, get passable inside play from Ryan Young, and rely on the hot hand(s) to surprise people.

#23 Ohio State Buckeyes 77, Morehead State Eagles 44

Penn State Nittany Lions 72, VCU Rams 69

Seth Lundy: 32 points (!!!) on 5/10 shooting from deep!

Myles Dread: Makes a big three after being 0/4 from distance and coming off the bench!

Wins are wins for this Penn State team, and in an evenly-matched, constantly-tight game with always-tricky VCU, Penn State found a way to win. Early days suggest “take away Lundy and win” is the answer, but some good contributions from Sam Sessoms off the bench and steady guard play from Myreon Jones and Jamari Wheeler (both with 6 assists to 2 TOs) could spell a dangerous team on the right night.

Purdue Boilermakers 93, Oakland Golden Grizzlies 50

BoilerBettor: Purdue did what B1G teams should do to bad teams like Oakland. Shoot the lights out and then shoot some more. The first half didn’t go so great to begin with. Oakland, knowing that they were at a significant disadvantage down low, threw a zone at Purdue, which in recent years have meant complete and utter doom.

Then, Sasha Stefanovic and Brandon Newman went off from 3. Add in Zach “See Ball Dunk Ball” Zach Edey rocking the rims down low and it turned into a cruise.

#4 wisconsin badgers 82, Green Bay Phoenix 42

MC ClapYoHandz: Look I’m not going to pretend I’m going to keep paying any attention to UWGB, but man did they hate Linc Darner that much? Will Ryan plays as anti-Linc as possible and I’m curious if that roster is suited for that dramatic a change so quickly. Anyway Green Bay had like 1 point at halftime and this one was never in doubt. Tune in to Wisconsin-Marquette for the first real test of the season.

Inactive: #24 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Tonight

#3 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Western Illinois Leathernecks

7pm | BTN | Iowa -32 | O/U 153

Gonna be a bloodbath—the Leathernecks come in rated one of the worst 20 teams in college basketball. Former UWM head coach Rob Jeter—run unceremoniously out of Milwaukee as the Panthers administration really fucked up that program—took Milwaukee to a pair of Horizon League titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, but there’s work to do in Macomb.

(Which, boy, talk about a down-on-its-luck town. Spent three days there in Fall 2018, and oh man. What a place. Lane Evans Papers were cool, though.)

The Leathernecks lost leading scorer G Kobe Webster to Nebraska, second- and third-leading scorers Zion Young and Ben Pyle to...uh...attrition?...and fourth- and fifth-leading scorers C.J. Duff and James Claar to graduation.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln?

UAB transfer Tamell Pearson anchors the Leathernecks inside at 6’10”, giving at least some token resistance to Luka Garza. But a WIU roster of six freshmen, just two seniors who made a combined 30 appearances for 5.7 ppg, and little else by way of proven commodities?

Have fun, Hawks.


Full schedule for the weekend and Big Ten below! Vote in the poll, let us know your thoughts on the week of Big Ten hoops, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s Weekend Basketball Thread!

Poll

Best showing of the week?

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    MSU’s win in Durham
    (114 votes)
  • 8%
    Penn State surviving VCU
    (12 votes)
  • 7%
    Indiana bouncing back
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    Other
    (5 votes)
141 votes total Vote Now