Busy weekend in the conference full of blood, spiders, and basketball.
Thursday, January 7
Let’s just let this tell the story, huh?
Normally you hear "two Northwestern field goals in the second half" and think "Wow, Pat Fitzgerald really opening up the offensive playbook today." https://t.co/AT1gBPzQJn— Off Tackle Empire (@offtackleempire) January 8, 2021
Iowa Hawkeyes 89, Maryland Terrapins 67
Stew: After a bumpy start to the game - where McCaffery took two timeouts and benched all the starters - Iowa pulled away and coasted to as easy a road win as you’ll see in the conference.
What I do want to point out was what the teams and officials did just before tipoff. Everyone took a knee and had a moment of silence, it was an idea led by players from both teams.
Wisconsin Badgers 80, Indiana Hoosiers 73 (2OT)
beez: Before the game I said Wisconsin should beat Indiana easily, but I also said I didn’t feel good about it and that Wisconsin could get Maryland’d again.
Well, I’m declaring victory on both takes! Wisconsin had to go through two overtimes to beat Indiana—which is not the sign of a strong team dominating a lesser one—but then won by 7 anyway, which is kind of like an overtime ass kicking. Thus, great job me and I’ll be collecting two paychecks this week.
Unrelated, but my favorite all time baseball scores are ones where the visiting team wins like 14-5 in 12 innings.
Friday, January 8
This game was an absolute crime against basketball. BoilerBettor and Green Akers spent most of it complaining about the poor officiating—which, allegedly, there was, thanks to new Ed Hightower-esque Bo Boroski—but I’ve accumulated the rest of their reactions below:
GA: Izzo just is who he is at this point. He doesn’t seem worried about being left out of the tournament, because he’s still playing 12 guys, still giving impact minutes to Thomas Kithier and Foster Loyer, and still doesn’t take timeouts, ever. Marcus Bingham was a defensive force in the first half and barely played in the second as Trevion Williams made Kithier and Joey Hauser look like JV players.
MSU looks this bad in part because Izzo has just moved his normal roster-tinkering deeper into the conference season than he usually does, but two of the three biggest factors for this team - Joey Hauser being a consistent scoring threat and Rocket Watts making an effective transition to the point - are both complete flops to this point. They seem to have turned the corner on defense, at least in long stretches, but this offense looks completely lost right now.
BB: We just stole one.
Saturday, January 9
Ohio State Buckeyes 79, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 68
I don’t believe a soul in the world watched this game. Air’s officially out of the Rutgers bubble, it would appear.
Sunday, January 10
Iowa 86, Minnesota Golden Gophers 71
WSR: Nice while it lasted? I dunno. The Gophers are a good team that lost to a borderline top 10 team and probably favorites to win the league in Iowa City. It happens.
Get it back together, give Michigan the best shot that we can. The Wolverines are one of two high-end teams the Gophers have left (Illinois being the other) and we’ll see what this team is made of as they finally get to play the chaff of the B1G.
Stew: Iowa led pretty much the whole way, though Minnesota did fight back from a >15 point deficit in the second half to make it a bit close before Iowa slammed the door. Luka Garza had another great game putting up more than 30 points again, and Jordan Bohannon seems to have broken out of his slump from earlier in the season.
Maryland 66, Illinois 63
Eventually Thump might edit in a rant. I dunno. EDIT: HERE WE GO!
Thump: I appreciated Andre Curbelo with the “fuck you, get the fuck out of this your own home gym” at the end of Illinois-Northwestern. Would have been cooler if he hadn’t followed it up with a preeeeetty bad game against Maryland.
Lotta guys got no points. Ultimately, our new inability to make free throws is gonna kill us in games like this. What an ugly and stupid loss to follow the most dominant half of Illini basketball i’ve ever seen against the Basketcats. Mark Turgeon, like Cuonzo Martin, seems to be at a tactical disadvantage against everyone except Brad Underwood, against whom they’re super-effective.
Indiana 84, Nebraska 76
Sure. This is fine.
Jesse: Nebraska women’s basketball has three wins over Top 25 teams in their last four games. Nebraska men’s basketball does not. This is my analysis and I’m sticking to it.
[Update: Aaaaaaand this:]
Nebraska Men’s Basketball pauses team activities.— Nebraska Basketball (@HuskerHoops) January 12, 2021
Anything on tonight besides the College Football Playoff?
Games of Note
Temple Owls at SMU Mustangs
2pm | ESPN+ | SMU -12 | O/U 143
#25 UConn Huskies at DePaul Blue Demons
5pm | FS1 | UConn -5 | O/U 140
Bradley Braves at Northern Iowa Panthers
7pm | ESPN+ | UNI -1 | O/U 137
Boise State Broncos at Wyoming Cowboys
8pm | CBSSN | Boise -8 | O/U 148.5
Sure, but what’s the WORST game imaginable?
South Carolina State Bulldogs at Florida A&M Rattlers
5pm | FAMU link | FAMU -13.5 | O/U 141
Florida A&M is 291st in Kenpom, and that’s the high-water mark here.
If you need other sports to talk about, here you go.