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Big Ten Midweek Basketball Previews, Open Thread

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Rutgers tries to get off the slide against Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota fight to stay alive for the NCAA Tournament. Here’s what to expect in the midweek basketball slate:

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Michigan Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

With another weekend of Big Ten basketball in the books, at least two teams—Indiana and Minnesota—sit on the cusp of falling out of the NCAA Tournament entirely, with Purdue close to joining them. Is there room for anyone to make up ground this week?

Illinois Fighting Illini at #9 Penn State Nittany Lions

5:30pm | FS1 | PSU -6.5 | O/U 139.5

Holy shit, Penn State is ranked 9th in the country. In basketball. What heady times are these we live in.

I’m personally excited to watch Kofi Cockburn and Mike Watkins go head-to-head. I think Lamar Stevens has more than enough to handle whatever funky up-tempo pressure the Illini opt for tonight, but Illinois wins this game inside-out if they keep it close at all, and between Kofi and Giorgi Bezhanisvhili (type it every chance I get), there might be enough there for Illinois.

But don’t take my word for it, let’s see what Thump has to say—

Thump: We’re fucked in this one. Ayo Dosunmu probably not playing. Loins by 20+.

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Illinois
    (26 votes)
  • 83%
    Penn State
    (127 votes)
153 votes total Vote Now

Purdue Boilermakers at wisconsin badgers

6pm | ESPN | wisc -4 | O/U 122.5

Both teams here clinging to the right side of the bubble, Purdue at a 10 and wisconsin at an 8, but desperately looking for something to solidify those spots. Is this the place one of them can do it?

Boilerman31: Purdue doesn’t necessarily need this game but a win isn’t going to hurt by any means. I’m sure the Badgers will be hungry for revenge after getting beat in West Lafayette last month. At this point, I’d just like to see some consistency on offense.

beez: I am done remotely getting my hopes up when Wisconsin plays Purdue. Until Painter leaves, Purdue stops getting 7 footers who aren’t terrible, or....something else, I’m always going to give Purdue the edge.

As far as tourney chances go...it seems like Purdue is somehow a bigger risk to miss the tournament? I don’t know why Wisconsin is considered such a “will probably make it team,” except that the dumb “advanced” ratings systems the NCAAT committee uses now all really, really favor Wisconsin this year.

Poll

Who leaves the Clearance Rack a winner?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Purdue
    (31 votes)
  • 38%
    wisconsin
    (50 votes)
  • 38%
    anyone who really believes that they bought two dress shirts for $15 and actually saved $89 in the process.
    (50 votes)
131 votes total Vote Now

Northwestern Wildcats at #7 Maryland Terrapins

7pm | BTN | MD -12.5 | O/U 130.5

DJ: What Maryland should do in this game is assert their dominance in the first 25-30 minutes of the game so they can get their starters a rest while getting some solid bench time in. It remains to be seen whether or not they’re capable of doing that or keeping it a close game.

I fully expect the W, it’s just how they get there that’s always an adventure. A win will be 9 in a row heading into two tough away games at OSU and Minnesota next, so take the easy W while you can.

MNW: Yeah, nothing we can argue with here. Pete Nance showed some life against Penn State; be great if he did it again.

What I’d love to see tonight is the reemergence of Ryan Young. The lovable freshman chonker from New Jersey has faded under the high intensity of the Big Ten, and understandably so, but he hasn’t scored in double-digits or made a three since the narrow loss to Illinois exactly a month ago. Obviously asking him to have a resurgence against the one they call Jalen Smith isn’t the best time to call for it, but desperate times...

Wednesday, February 19

Michigan Wolverines at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

6pm | BTN

Brian Gillis: After a rough stretch, during which Michigan stumbled to 2-6 conference record, the Wolverines have found their groove, winning five of their past six games. Michigan’s improved play, not surprisingly, has coincided with the return of Isaiah Livers. As I wrote after Michigan’s victory over Michigan State, Zavier Simpson may be the team’s leader, but Livers is its most important player. In simple terms, Michigan just plays better with Livers on the court.

Livers’ return couldn’t come at a better time for Michigan, with the Wolverines heading into the toughest stretch of their schedule. And that starts Wednesday at Rutgers. Michigan defeated Rutgers in a pseudo-home game at Madison Square Garden earlier this month, but now plays a true road game at the RAC, where the Scarlet Knights have yet to lose. Michigan may not end Rutgers’ home winning streak, but with Livers back and the Wolverines clicking, Michigan should at least have a fighting chance.

Poll

Remember when Brady Hoke lost to Rutgers?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Michigan
    (48 votes)
  • 72%
    Rutgers
    (127 votes)
175 votes total Vote Now

Indiana Hoosiers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

8pm | BTN

WhiteSpeedReceiver: Minnesota may have played itself completely off the bubble by pissing ourselves so thoroughly against Iowa.

We’re going to need to go on one hell of a run to even be considered, and that starts with beating Indiana. Even 5-1 and a win in the B1G Tournament may not be enough, but let’s see what happens.

Candystripes: Indiana is very much in danger of playing itself (depending on who you listen to) onto the bubble or completely out of the NCAAs, and continuing to be on the road where they are EXTREMELY NOT GOOD is not helping that at all. Playing on Minnesota’s weird raised court is just the icing on top of this terrible cake of shame that Indiana seems to be serving up since January (with occasional flashes of not-sucking).

I think the Hoosiers really need this win just to stabilize where they are, and I’m very concerned that this will be another 20 point blowout by the end, because I’m not sure Michigan is actually better than Minnesota this year, and, well (gestures wildly at Sunday’s game).

Poll

Who falls off the bubble?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Indiana
    (82 votes)
  • 47%
    Minnesota
    (73 votes)
155 votes total Vote Now

Thursday, February 20

#25 Ohio State Buckeyes at #20 Iowa Hawkeyes

6pm | ESPN

Stew: Iowa is back home in Carver to take on an OSU that has stabilized a bit—winning 5 of their last 6—after D.J. Carton took a leave from the team to work on his mental health (I’m sure he’d find a welcome place closer to home, if he’d like.

Iowa still likely without C.J. Frederick, who surprisingly is listed as day-to-day, but my bet is he’s out until about the Big Ten Tournament.

Since it’s at home, I’ll bet that Iowa goes in to Luka Garza (surprise!) to and tries to get Kaleb Wesson in foul trouble. Iowa will have to go big with stretches with Garza, Ryan Kriener, and Cordell Pemsl playing together at times. Joe Wieskamp needs to have a better game than his almost no-show against Minnesota (though credit their defense, too).

I think Iowa squeaks this one out thanks, in no small part, to home court calls.

Poll

Hmm. Ohio State playing AT Iowa. Feels like there’s something I should remember about this.

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Buckeyes
    (35 votes)
  • 78%
    Hawkeyes
    (130 votes)
165 votes total Vote Now

Michigan State Spartans at Nebraska Cornhuskers

7:30pm | FS1

Andrew K: Michigan State’s inability to close games out has now functionally knocked them out of the conference race. Maybe that eased pressure lets them figure out...whatever this series of letdowns has been in time for the big dance.

As for Nebraska, they’re more of a live wire than their record would indicate, and it’s not safe to count any road game as a win, but MSU should be good here if they consistently attack Nebraska’s undersized front line and keep the turnovers under control.

Poll

PBA magic?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Sparty
    (117 votes)
  • 18%
    Herbie
    (26 votes)
143 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the week’s basketball. Bracketology at some point in the future, too. Let us know your picks for the week’s basketball games!