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Big Ten Basketball Roundup: Another Upset, Another COVID Shutdown

Also, Drake basketball is back! That’s what we’re most excited about.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Well. The weekend of Big Ten hoops brought us another Top 25 team falling at home to an unranked foe (and yes, it was Maryland again), another team shutting down due to COVID, and another OTE writer admitting that he just didn’t watch the game.

I know, you’re not surprised.

But we break down the weekend in Big Ten basketball here. Maybe I’ll get to bracketology and the NCAA Tournament later in the week. Who’s to say.

[All rankings reflect the new AP Poll, out on Jan. 25.]

#4 Michigan Wolverines 70, Purdue Boilermakers 53

BoilerBettor: I kinda zoned out after the first half. Purdue would push it to single digits and Michigan would go on a mini run. I’m still processing the Sasha Stefanovic news and wondering WHY IN THE EVERLIVING FUCK WAS THIS GAME PLAYED?

Here’s the Sasha Covid timeline as I understand it (Credit The Athletic for most of this):

  • Tuesday night: Purdue beats Ohio State. Sasha has no symptoms, scores 15 points.
  • Wednesday: Per Painter, Sasha begins to show symptoms and is immediately isolated. His Covid tests that day come back negative.
  • What’s not clear is exactly when he did test positive. Once he did, Painter contacts Coach Howard at Michigan about the situation. Howard spoke to his players and per Isaiah Livers, a not-insignificant portion of the team did not feel comfortable about playing initially.
  • Fast forward to gameday, two hours before tip, the information about Sasha is announced by Purdue to the public.

Honestly, I was kinda busy Friday afternoon so I didn’t hear about it until just before tip when it’s casually mentioned by BTN.So here’s where we stand: I’ve not heard of any additional positives within Purdue. Stefanovic is out for at least two more games. And Michigan goes into shutdown the day after the game. This all just feels a bit fishy and easily a WTF? scenario.

Also, Michigan is a damn good team.

[For context: Michigan Athletics have paused for 14 days amid a surge in COVID cases, including the United Kingdom strain. Athletes have, of course, petitioned for an immediate return to participation with a snappy hashtag.]

Next: MI ???; Purdue vs. Minn (1/30)

#13 Ohio State Buckeyes 74, #14 Wisconsin Badgers 62

beez: I continue to have no read whatsoever on this Wisconsin team, in part because I’m still not sure how good the team is, how good the conference is, etc... They do seem tired, Nate Reuvers is really struggling, and their enthusiasm for defense is prone to significant waning.

Next: wisc at MD (1/27); OSU vs. PSU (1/27)

Maryland Terrapins 63, #21 Minnesota Golden Gophers 49

Maryland runs its road record against ranked teams to 3-1 on the back of 21 points from Eric Ayala and an absolutely frigid shooting start from the Gophers. Goldamn.

On a personal level, I’ve never seen Mark Turgeon as animated as he was on the sidelines during the first half of this one. Maryland came up with a huge defensive stop—forcing a shot clock violation as Darryl Morsell blocked Gabe Kalscheur—and it looked like the embattled Terps coach threw out his shoulder celebrating.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: DNW - Dad’ing. I’m assuming that Maryland cheated and got away with it, but that’s probably not what happened.

DJ Carver: “Cheat” also someone besides Marcus Carr on Minnesota shoulda played offense.

BrianB2: I am uncertain what the context is, but I am sure you are correct.

Next: MD vs. wisc (1/27); Minn at Purdue (1/30)

Penn State Nittany Lions 81, Northwestern Wildcats 78

MNW: Honestly no one cares about this game and I don’t know why I’m bothering.

The ‘Cats are just straight up collapsing in the big moments. Without a true point guard—backup Ryan Greer is not a PG1, and neither Boo Buie nor Chase Audige are meant to run the show but rather score in buckets as an off-guard—Northwestern flounders in its sets. Miller Kopp can shoot in transition but gets run off the line. Ryan Young’s minutes keep dropping despite being an efficient shooter and mover of the ball. And Pete Nance...kid scraps, he’s just a little something short.

And Penn State came out and did exactly what they aim to do—got a big shooting performance from Isaiah Brockington, got to the free throw line, and annihilated Northwestern on the offensive glass with Seth Lundy and John Harrar.

The dream’s dead, it’s not The Year, it’s never The Year. Moving on.

Next: NU vs. Rutgers (1/31); PSU at OSU (1/27)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 74, Indiana Hoosiers 70

Well, the luster’s off that Hoosier upset of Iowa in a hurry. Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker did the volume-scoring thing, Paul Mulcahy chipped in an above-average 9, and the Knights frustrated Trayce Jackson-Davis inside. You’d think shooting 62.2% from deep would be enough for Indiana, but the Hoosiers didn’t find enough deep looks and we’re right back to where we started.

Candystripes: I saw none of this game, but given how the season has gone, it is absolutely on brand for the Hoosiers to score a huge upset and immediately turn around a drop a home game to Rutgers (the Scarlet Knights first win in Assembly Hall, to boot).

From what I heard, this game played out how I expected the Iowa game to actually go, with IU getting down by double figures at various points and clawing back, but never actually retaking the lead. Sure am glad this season is still happening. :eyeroll:

Next: RU vs. MSU (1/28), IU vs. Illinois (2/2)

Inactives (Next):

#19 Illinois Fighting Illini: vs. Iowa (1/29)

#7 Iowa Hawkeyes: at Illinois (1/29)

Michigan State Spartans: at Rutgers (1/28)

Nebraska Cornhuskers: at Michigan State (2/3) — COVID pending

College Basketball Schedule — Tuesday, January 26

The plan is to have a full CBB schedule and Big Ten previews up for you tomorrow. Here’s some Tuesday content to keep you satisfied in the meantime.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Temple Owls

12pm | ESPN+ | EVEN | O/U 126.5

Kentucky Wildcats at #9 Alabama Crimson Tide

6pm | ESPN | Ala -7 | O/U 148

Northeast Conference Action

Merrimack Warriors at Long Island Sharks [6pm, NEC Front Row]
Fairleigh Dickinson Knights at St. Francis-PA Red Flash [6pm, NECFR]

Drake Bulldogs at Missouri State Bears

7pm | ESPN+ | Drake -4 | O/U 146

It’s the first game in 22 days for the 13-0 Bulldogs. Can they shake off the rust against a Missouri Valley title contender in the Bears?

Dayton Flyers at #22 Saint Louis Billikens

7:30pm | CBSSN | SLU -9 | O/U 135.5

#12 Missouri Tigers at Auburn Tigers

8pm | ESPN2 | Auburn -2 | O/U 150

Last one of the day, along with SEMO State-UT-Martin on the Plus and GT-Duke on ESPN. Just sit back and enjoy the slime, baby.

Here’s your open thread for college hoops and whatever other sports are on today. I’ll be watching West Ham-Crystal Palace at noon. I’m sure you won’t.