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Big Ten Basketball GAME ONE Recaps: Uh...are we already panicking?

If you’re Indiana, Ohio State, or Rutgers...the answer should probably be “Yes”.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

#17 Ohio State Buckeyes 67, Akron Zips 66

MaximumSam: The Buckeyes got all they wanted from Illinois Akron coach John Groce and his squad. The biggest takeaway surrounds the Buckeye backcourt, which is still very much a question mark. Jamari Wheeler wasn’t particularly impactful in his first game, and fellow starter Meechie Johnson scored four points. Transfer Cedric Russell provided nothing. It was really true freshman Malaki Branham who showed the most, including the game winning assist.

Otherwise, not much to report. E.J. Liddell was really good, Zed Key looked the part of a dependable post guy, and OSU was missing seniors Kyle Young and Seth Towns. The lineups are to be determined, but backcourt issues are on the to do list for Chris Holtmann and staff. The Buckeyes can live without much offense from Wheeler, but only if the other guard scores.

Indiana Hoosiers 68, Eastern Michigan Eagles 62

MaximumSam: The box score doesn’t lie. The Hoosiers famously couldn’t shoot straight under Archie Miller. Against EMU, they went a very rough 4/24 from three, which made for a very dicey game. The same question coming - who on this team can play basketball outside of Trayce Jackson-Davis - is the same one coming out.

MNW: I was under the impression Killer Mopp was going to clean up for the Hoosiers. Was...was that not correct?

#3 Kansas Jayhawks 87, Michigan State Spartans 74

Green Akers: Color me stunned, but MSU turned it over a boatload in an early-season loss to a blue blood opponent. Sunrise, sunset.

The amount of lane penetration they allowed was also troubling, but Agbaji is probably one of the better guards they’ll see this season. I did like the progress evident from AJ Hoggard and Julius Marble in particular, but this was a debut to forget for Tyson Walker. Also looks like we have a dude in Max Christie.

Overall, I’ll take it as more positive than negative.

#7 Purdue Boilermakers 96, Bellarmine Knights 67

MaximumSam: The difference between Really Good Purdue and National Contender Purdue may hinge on one statistic. Can Jaden Ivey shoot threes? For one game, not so much, as he went 1-5 from behind the line. The other big question is how Matt Painter manages Zach Edey and Trevion Williams. That wasn’t really answered, as Williams may have been a bit banged up and only played 15 minutes.

BoilerUp89: Will all due respect to MaximumSam, Ivey doesn’t have to become a great three point shooter for Purdue to be a National Contender. Multiple players have to be capable of shooting threes at a really good clip (and right now the likely candidates are Stefanovic, Thompson, and Newman). If those three are all hitting at above - let’s say 38% - from 3 pt range, then coupled with the interior scoring of Edey/Williams and the driving ability of Ivey the offense is going to be holding up their side of the bargain. The other thing Purdue needs to put together is a formidable defense. We didn’t learn a lot in the opener on that front since Bellarmine completely abandoned their unique style of play.

In the game against Bellarmine, the Knights got scared of Edey’s size inside and didn’t do their typical style of basketball - screening off ball and cutting to the hoop and passing a million times. Instead they settled for a bunch of three point shots and made a fair amount of them. Williams played only 15 minutes - but that’s not because of any injury. It doesn’t look like Williams and Edey will play at the same time except in special circumstances since Purdue only had one PF available for the opener and those two didn’t play together at all (per the radio call anyway). Edey and Williams are going to split time pretty equally this year. Edey started the game. Williams missed out on a couple of minutes in the first half because he had two fouls and a couple of minutes in the second half because the walk-ons were playing late.

#21 Maryland Terrapins 83, Quinnipiac Bobcats 69

BoilerUp89: Georgetown transfer Qudus Wahab scored 17 to lead the Terrapins. This game wasn’t as close as the final score as the Terrapins consistently grew their lead throughout the game and led by as many as 25 points with just 6:30 to play before letting their foot off the gas pedal. Tyrese Williams for Quinnipiac led all scorers with 19 points and went 5-9 from 3. The Terrapins had just 13 turnovers but 11 of those were steals by the Bobcats.

#11 Illinois Fighting Illini 71, Jackson State Tigers 47

BoilerUp89: The Illini were without OTE’s B1G preseason PotY Kofi Cockburn in this game due to his suspension for cheating breaking the NCAA rules a week before they were changed. Other expected starters Trent Frazier and Andre Curbelo were also out due to injuries (shoulder injury and concussion respectively) as was bench player Austin Hutcherson (tailbone). All three of these injured players are considered day to day. None of these absences mattered in their game against the Tigers of Jackson State. Jacob Grandison lead the way for the Illini with 20 points and the Illini won the rebounding battle by 20. Areas of concern were the FT shooting (just 14-21) and turnovers (19). But again this was without 3 starters.

Wisconsin Badgers 81, St. Francis (NY) Terriers 58

Kind of...: We’ve been here before, but his time might be different. UW might, just might, be a bit more up tempo this year (i.e., the tempo may creep into the top 250). And, the defense may be a bit less reactive. Chucky Hepburn and Jonathan Davis both have active hands, and Gard didn’t yank anybody who shot a 3 in transition. Maybe that will change when the competition improves, or maybe he’s “evolving.”

Either way, Hepburn is a keeper and you all better get used to hearing about him. Davis looks primed to be the go-to guy, and Steve Crowl is developing. If Brad Davison is the #3 scoring option, that is much better for UW’s tourney hopes than if he’s #1.

Oddly for UW, the team is missing some beef inside—though Chris Vogt will help out—and defending Dickinson, Cockburn, Williams/Edey will proved challenging. Still, early returns are slightly better than expected.

Western Illinois Leathernecks 75, Nebraska Cornhuskers 74

BoilerUp89: I can’t believe none of our Nebraska writers wanted to comment on this game. The Cornhuskers got absolutely obliterated on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 57-37. Combined with a poor shooting night (39% from the field, 25% from 3) and just 6 assists the Cornhuskers gave the Leathernecks the ability to stay within striking range as the clock was ticking down. The largest lead for either team was just 7 points but with 55 seconds to go Nebraska led by 3 and was shooting FTs. They missed both. Following two Leatherneck missed layups, the Cornhuskers were sent the stripe again with 34 seconds but went just 1 for 2 on that trip. A big three pointer by Trenton Massner of WIU (he had a big night with 21 points) made it a one point game. Another two free throw attempts were split by Nebraska and another 3 pointer by WIU with 7 seconds would give them the lead. Morale of the story: don’t miss 4 out of 6 FTs in the last 55 seconds. Overall Nebraska did go a respectable 23-31 from the charity stripe. 3 Leatherneck starters had fouled out so if Nebraska had made just one more FT they would have been in a good spot for OT.

Minnesota Golden Gophers 71, Kansas City Roos 56

BoilerUp89: My KenPom subscription says that the Gophers are in for a rough few months this season. So it was good that they picked up the win in this one. Although it tightened to just a 2 point margin late in the half, the Gophers were able to rebuild their lead down the stretch and come out of the opener with a decent win. The Gophers did a good job limiting turnovers (just 9) and showed good ball movement with 17 assists on 24 made baskets. Minnesota won the rebounding battle 33-30. Jamison Battle, E.J. Stephens, and Payton Willis all finished the game with double digits in the scoring column.

Northwestern Wildcats 80, Eastern Illinois Panthers 56

MNW: A rather ho-hum rout, and in Year Whatever of the Chris Collins Experience, that’s fantastic.

Northwestern ran the “Bigger than an OVC Also-Ran” offense most of the night but committed to getting its outside shooters looks, with double-digits from Pete Nance, Ty Berry, and lead scorer Boo Buie (17 on 2/6 3-pt). With Chase Audige out as a precautionary measure, frosh G Casey Simmons got some good run, which was cool to see, though after an alley-oop layup early he struggled to find his range.

Overall: 19 assists on 28 makes, 16 steals to 5 TOs, and clock for everyone on the bench.

Iowa Hawkeyes 106, Long Wood Lancers 73

BoilerUp89: At first glance this looks like a pretty comfortable win for the Hawkeyes and nothing else. The Murray twins combined for 40 points and Jordan Bohannan chipped in 18 (on 6-8 shooting from 3) as well. Overall Iowa shot 55.4% from the field and 45.5% from behind the arc. It was a solid offensive effort for Iowa. What would concern me if I was an Iowa fan is that they allowed Longwood to get 17 offensive rebounds. The overall rebounding margin was Iowa 43, Longwood 38. This despite Longwood’s tallest player that played meaningful minutes being just 6’7” and Iowa having many more opportunities for rebounds on their defensive side of the court (Longwood did not shoot well).

Michigan Wolverines 88, Buffalo Bulls 76

RockyMtnBlue: 10 players played for Michigan. 8 of them scored. 7 of them scored at least 5 points.

This was the first half.

The second half was less fun. Michigan was utterly lost on defense for much of the game. Roy McAvoy’s shank swing was smoother than Michigan’s offense. Hunter Dickenson scored 27 but left about 10 easy ones on the court. The freshmen look talented, and they look like freshmen. Caleb Houstan is a player. Moussa Diabate is an athlete and might be a player. Sophomore Terrance Williams looks like he’s taken a significant step forward and will be part of the regular rotation.

Overall, this is a team with 3 returning regulars, a grad transfer it’s excited about, and a heralded incoming freshman class. That’s exactly how it looked against Buffalo. There’s potential there, but this was not a particularly good team tonight.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 73, Lehigh Mountain Hawks 70 (OT)

RU in VA: Well, keeping in trend with better B1G teams keeping it close to teams you’ve never heard of, I present the 2021/22 Scarlet Knights. Lehigh has a mid-major scoring guard in Marques Wilson - who can play. He lit up the Knights for 21 until they figured out a two man bracket zone to shut him down.

The story of the game is that Rutgers can’t shoot. For whatever reason, last year’s shooting woes continue. 1 for 13 on 3PTs and 27% shooting is an embarrassing effort when the only strategy you need to employ against a team like Lehigh is a few feet of dribble penetration and head to the boards.

Bright spot? Cliff Omoruyi will destroy you unless you have a true Center. Really, really bad news for teams that aren’t Purdue or Illinois (and, kinda Michigan?).

Penn State 75, Youngstown State 59

misdreavus79: Seemingly half the Big Ten struggled to put away their overmatched opponents to open the season, and in the first 10 minutes of the game, it appeared Penn State was going to be one of them! The defense started out solid, but the offense took some time to get going.

It’s clear that Micah Shrewsberry wants to spread the floor as much as possible, and, once the team was able to, they also started to put the Penguins away. There was a burst in the middle of the second half where Youngstown State made four of six from beyond the arc to cut the deficit down to six, but Penn State immediately ballooned the lead back to 18, before winning by exactly 16 and draining my wallet.

Never change Lions!


Who had the best week in Big Ten hoops?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Minnesota, for not losing to the Roos
    (28 votes)
  • 24%
    Northwestern and Penn State, for solid, no-incident wins
    (40 votes)
  • 18%
    Iowa, for breaking 100
    (30 votes)
  • 21%
    Purdue: Won by a lot
    (35 votes)
  • 17%
    Maryland: 2-0 is better than any of you chumps’ records
    (28 votes)
161 votes total Vote Now


More enjoyably, who had the worst?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    Nebraska. I mean, the Leathernecks? Woof...
    (153 votes)
  • 2%
    Michigan State
    (5 votes)
  • 7%
    Ohio State
    (14 votes)
  • 6%
    (13 votes)
  • 4%
    (9 votes)
194 votes total Vote Now

Adding the following per ck’s request even though the title of this article is GAME ONE Recaps. Not like we are going to include it in our next recap article.

Maryland 71, George Washington 64

BoilerUp89: Maryland decided the most appropriate way to honor Veteran’s Day was to beat George Washington, our country’s most famous military leader. GW led at the half of this game by 1 and really spent a majority of the first half with a slim advantage. Near the end of the half, the Terrapins finally realized they had an advantage in the paint (both their post players and guards could muscle their way inside) and began to use it to their advantage. They used that advantage to build a ~5 point lead early in the second half and then the remainder of the game was played mostly close to this 5 point gap. GW made some timely shots, Maryland really struggled behind the arc (3 of 20) and these two things allowed GW to have a chance in this one late. Down 3 with a minute to go and the ball, GW took an ill advised 3 point shot that missed and Maryland was able to stave off the upset threat. Maryland’s size and strength advantage helped beyond just getting them some easy buckets. Maryland got to the FT line 29 times in this game (21 more than GW) and their 20 makes from the stripe was absolutely the difference there.