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Big Ten Weekend Basketball Previews: Gophers in a Tourney, Whole Lot of Wins?

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NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Media Days Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Hi! We’re talking Big Ten basketball here! Did you miss what happened in the midweek games? We’ve got your recaps, too:

Friday, November 12

(all times ET)

MNW: All times what the fuck now?

Stew: Yeah, no, that’s gonna change. We observe gtz, here. All times CST.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers v. Minnesota Golden Gophers

65:30 pm | ESPNU | Minn +2.5 | O/U 139.5

MaximumSam: This is the first round of the Asheville Basketball Championship, which is not something I had ever heard of, but is probably the closest the Gophs will get to a championship this year.

Minnesota is the underdog against the Hilltoppers, who check in at a healthy 106 on Torvik (compared to 134 for Minnesota). The Gophs looked fine in their first game, while Western Kentucky really struggled with Alabama State. Also, Minnesota has a player named Charlie Daniels, and they are playing in North Carolina, where the better known Charlie Daniels was born.

Western Michigan Broncos at Michigan State Spartans

65:30 pm | BTN | MSU -24.5 | O/U 140.5

MaximumSam: Friendlier skies for Sparty Friday night, as the Broncos rank a sad 287 on Torvik. Unlike MSU though, Western Michigan has a win, as they defeated Hope College by 18. If WMU can defeat Hope itself, perhaps Sparty won’t present as much of a challenge.

Niagara Purple Eagles at #17 Ohio State Buckeyes

76 pm | BTN+ | OSU -19.5 | O/U 133.5

MaximumSam: Buckeyes hoping for an easier challenge than in their 1 point win over Akron. Niagara hits 261 on Torvik, so on paper it should be easier. OSU hopes to get Kyle Young back - he has apparently been struggling with vertigo, which is a new one on the injury report.

BoilerUp89: Niagara did just take Xavier to a 63-60 game, but Xavier doesn’t have a head coach. I’m not the biggest believer in Holtmann, but he’s miles better than Travis Steele at Xavier.

Northern Illinois Huskies at Indiana Hoosiers

76 pm | BTN+ | IND -23 | O/U 137

BoilerUp89: The Hoosiers will take on their second MAC opponent of the season when they face the Huskies. NIU isn’t expected to be very good this season (313 in KenPom) but they do already have one power conference scalp on their resume this season as they beat Washington in the battle of the puppies 71-64. NIU lead for the majority of that game and Trendon Hankerson scored 28 points (6-11 from 3) while the whole team shot a blistering 12 of 23 from behind the arc. If Indiana can find a way to not let the Huskies repeat that shooting performance - or just find a way to limit Hankerson as NIU had only one other double digit scorer - they should be able to pick up an easier victory than they had against the Emus of Eastern Michigan.

Buffkomodo: Welp. I’m not going to say “here we go again” because I’m not an asshole. That said, I am a realist. This team looks like it still cannot shoot the 3. It was the first game so I’m willing to give it a slide for another couple games. By god if they don’t start knocking them down, I’m not positive we’ll get out of the basement this season.

Now to things I enjoyed more. Having true buzz around the program is nice and Woody is much more likable than the angry little elf we did have. I did like the lot of transfer players we trotted out. Rob didn’t make me want to throw myself off a bridge either, so props.

At the end of the day, in order to win this game, Indiana just has to be who I think they are. Be better than NIU. Real simple stuff. Make some shots, play with intensity, and for the love of god make some free throws. Do that, and it’s win number 2 for Mike Woodson.

Green Bay Phoenix at Wisconsin Badgers

87 pm | BTN+ | WIS -21.5 | O/U 136

BoilerUp89: Green Bay opened the season with a loss to Indiana State 77-81. Green is coached by Will Ryan, the son of former Wisconsin head coach and B1G designated angry man Bo Ryan. This is his second season at Green Bay and last year they went just 8-17 and finished 7th in the Horizon. Thankfully, Will doesn’t play as slow as his dad’s teams - Green Bay got off 66 shot attempts in the opener. Emmanuel Ansong is leading the Phoenix in scoring with 19 points.

Wisconsin should have an advantage when it comes to rebounds as the Phoenix really struggled there with the Sycamores and the Sycamores aren’t the tallest team in the world.

High Point Panthers at Northwestern Wildcats

87pm | BTN+ | NU -19 | O/U 135.5

BoilerUp89: The battle of the kittens takes place this Friday at Northwestern’s home arena. Please post your favorite cat gifs in the comments to help celebrate. High Point opened the season with a 49 point win against NCAA Division III Shenandoah University.

More importantly, High Point is the latest in the long list of teams coached by legendary Minnesota basketball coach and national champion Tubby Smith. In a career just entering it’s 4th decade, Tubby Smith has coached at Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Texas Tech, Memphis, and now High Point. In his six seasons at Minnesota, Smith made three NCAA tournaments and won 20+ games five times. While at Minnesota, Smith went 10-6 against Northwestern as they were an almost annual pairing in the Big Ten tournament.

MNW: Can’t wait until the Panthers try to shoot from three all game despite not having any business doing so. That’s the Tubby I remember, damnit, and it’s the Tubby I expect now.

Kansas City Roos at Iowa Hawkeyes

87 pm | BTN+ | Iowa -20 | O/U 142.5

BoilerUp89: Iowa gets a matchup against a team that has already faced a B1G team. The Roos kept things close on the boards with Minnesota and Iowa struggled on the boards with Longwood so if this game is going to be interesting that’s an important area to watch. Josiah Allick and Evan Gilyard II are the two guys to look out for on the Roos roster. Overall the Hawkeyes are the better shooting team though and I expect them to pick up the victory.

Stew: UMKC is supposed to be roughly as good as Longwood, who Iowa already dispatched of quite easily. Iowa should be able to run them out of the gym with superior offense, that UMKC shouldn’t be able to match. I’ll be curious how Iowa does on the boards, specifically can Rebraca be serviceable as an interior presence. Also, Josh Ogundele was out in the first game, does he make an appearance? He’s going to need to be available as Iowa just doesn’t have very many big bodies.

Indiana State Sycamores at #7 Purdue Boilermakers

87:30 pm | BTN | PUR -23.5 | O/U 142.5

BoilerUp89: Indiana State won their season opener against Green Bay. Forward Kailex Stephens had himself a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Three other Sycamore starters scored 15+ points. The issues for the Sycamores is that they don’t go deep into their bench (just 8 guys played in their opener and 2 of those played 10 minutes or less) and they have played just one guy over 6’7” (6’10 Tucker, a transfer from Oregon State, played 6 minutes in off the bench in their opener).

Against a Boilermakers team that has a lot of depth and a lot of height both of those are likely to be problems. Ideally I’d like to see that Boilers keep up their hot shooting from the Bellarmine game, control the boards, and improve their defense.

Sam Houston State Bearkats at Nebraska Cornhuskers

87:30 pm | BTN+ | UNL -11.5 | O/U 148.5

BoilerUp89: Nebraska will look to bounce back from their late game FT woes and loss to the Leathernecks in this matchup against the Bearkats of Sam Houston State. Sam Houston opened the season with a victory over fake school and Division III opponent LeTourneau.

I’m not going to talk about those stats because they were against a D3 opponent. Instead I’ll mention that head coach Jason Hooten is in his 12th season at Sam Houston State, SHS is in a new conference this year having left the Southland for the WAC and the prestige of playing Chicago State and Dixie State. Naturally, they have already announced they will leave the WAC for CUSA no later than 2023. Which is a little confusing for a team that has 3 international players - Kevin Martina from Switzerland, Giovanni Emejuru from the UK, and Kuba Karwowski from Poland.

Arkansas State Red Wolves at #11 Illinois Fighting Illini

98 pm | BTN+ | ILL -20 | O/U 138

BoilerUp89: Arkansas State began the season against the Division II Harding University Bison and won 81-55. It’s pretty safe to say that Illinois will present them a much tougher test than Harding.

The Red Wolves play in the Sun Belt and last made the NCAA tournament in 1999. Their head coach, Mike Balado, has close ties to the Pitinos as he was an assistant under Richard at FIU and then under Rick at Louisville when Richard didn’t bring him on the Minnesota staff. The big question for the Illinois is whether their injured players will play in this one.

They shouldn’t need to to get the win in this one, but it might be nice if they could knock off any cobwebs before their next game against Marquette.

Saturday, November 13

Vermont Catamounts at #21 Maryland Terrapins

21 pm | BTN+ | ??? | O/U ???

Stew: Vermont could be a surprisingly frisky team for Maryland. They’re a pretty well balanced team, offensively/defensively, and want to slow the game down. Might be worth tuning in to see a weird early season upset.

Merrimack Warriors at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

21 pm | BTN+ | ??? | O/U ???

Stew: Merrimack, whom last we saw spoiling jNW’s opener last year in the Warriors’ first game in D1, is likely not going to pose too much risk to rugter, as they have similar profiles, but rsgurt is just all around quite a bit better.

Prairie View A&M Panthers at Michigan Wolverines

87 pm | BTN | ??? | O/U ???

Michigan should find easier sledding against 212th ranked Prairie View. The Wolverines had a complete game on Wednesday against Buffalo, as they both looked like world beaters and scrappy upstart team, all in the same night.

Poll

GTZ or the far inferior EST?

This poll is closed

  • 100%
    GTZ, and thank you, Stew, for correcting this.
    (27 votes)
27 votes total Vote Now