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An Imperfect 14-0: Big Ten Survives the Weekend, Wins a Championship, Barely Any Thanks to Rutgers

And CERTAINLY no thanks to Penn State.

NCAA Basketball: Merrimack at Rutgers
“What the fuck do you MEAN, a 1-3-1 zone?!?!?”
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball happened! It was often pretty, but sometimes it wasn’t? I dunno. Let’s work through this together.

Friday, November 12

#7 Purdue Boilermakers 92, Indiana State Sycamores 67

BoilerUp89: Purdue looked good on offense with Ivey and Edey being dominant and both setting their career highs for points scored (27 and 22 respectively - 49 combined points on just 22 shots from the field). Furst and Williams joined them in double figures and Trevion made a 3! Overall the team shot 40% from 3 (8 of 20) with the three primary long range shooters going 5-13.

The defense was good in spots but not consistent. Edey appears to be developing into the rim protector I hoped he would become by next year and had three blocks in this one. For those wondering why Williams is coming off the bench, Edey absolutely looks better (and that’s no shame to Williams who had 11 points and 8 rebounds in 20 minutes). Other than the defense - which looked better than last year but still has a ways to go - my only complaint was the FT shooting: 22-32.

Larry31: Maryland fell from #18 to #25 this week in KenPom for not beating the teams on their schedule as badly as they should have.

Whatever. With UVA losing to Navy and Georgetown getting owned by Dartmouth, just winning these games is fine, especially with Maryland.

They inexplicably scheduled three games in five days: hosting Quinnipiac on Tuesday Nov. 9, George Washington on Thursday Nov. 11 and Vermont on Saturday Nov. 13.

Quinnipiac (KenPom 236) 69, Maryland 83 - Game never in doubt. MD did lots of different rotations. Completely overmatched Quinnipiac. Score much closer than the actual game.

George Washington (KenPom 225) 64, Maryland 71 - This game was very fiesty and close. GW always gives Maryland problems. GW treated this game like it was an NCAA Final Four game. Kinda like any team in Ohio to knock off OSU. Maryland will always get their best shot.

I love Fatts Russell. Lots of energy. Clutch. Unselfish. Great transfer. But, dude is short. Maybe 5' 10". He got exposed by Joe Bimisile from GW, who made shot after shot at the elbow, just shooting over the much shorter Fatts Russell. Turge will have to figured out how to counteract Fatts' height deficiency when he is defending a taller guard who is hot and getting any shot he wants.

Playing their third game in five days, Maryland faced off against a legitimate NCAA tournament team in the top-100 Vermont Catamounts. Don't know what Turge was thinking scheduling this one, but definitely not a birthday scenario in which Maryland is devouring a cupcake.

Vermont (KenPom 96) 57, MD 68. This one was closer than the final score. Ayala and Russell scored 22 points each. MD won this game by playing lockdown defense, holding a senior and 5th-year laden Vermont team to 4 points in the last 6:40 before giving up two free throws with 11 seconds to go. Playing good team defense at the end of a game is a good sign.

One slightly concerning things is Donta Scott had a combined 11 points against GW and Vermont. This is especially noticeable because MD has not shot the ball well. Yet, they are still winning. I expect the shots will eventually start falling. All in all, nothing overly concerning. But, a bunch of little things to work through. Transfers Qudus Wahab (C) and Fatts Russell (PG) have solidified their starting roles. Transfers Adrian Martinez (G) and Xavier Green (wing) along with true freshman Julian Reese (PF) have solidified their roles coming off the bench. James Graham was suspended from the last two games due to team violations. Most likely has to do with being pushed further down the bench compared to last year. Wouldn't be surprised by a transfer or two by the end of the year.

#11 Illinois Fighting Illini 92, Arkansas State Red Wolves 53

#17 Ohio State Buckeyes 84, Niagara Purple Eagles 74

BoilerUp89: This game was within 1 at the half and while OSU did build 10 point leads multiple times in the second half, it was still a two possession game with under two minutes to go. Liddell set a career high with 29 points.

An area of concern is that the Buckeyes’ guards aren’t scoring. That’s fine when OSU is playing teams without much size and their forwards and centers can do whatever they want inside, but it’s going to be an issue once OSU gets into B1G play. The good news for OSU is that they did better against Niagara than their upcoming opponent Xavier, who only beat Niagara by 3.

MaximumSam: Not a scintillating start for the Buckeyes, who indeed have some scoring issues in their backcourt. Life will be coming at them, too, as after Bowling Green they play Xavier, Seton Hall, potentially Florida, and Duke. Scoring some points may be necessary. They did start changing Jamari Wheeler’s name to Jamari Threeler.

Minnesota Gophers 73, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 69

Asheville Championship — Semifinals

BoilerUp89: Minnesota got revenge for Mike Sanford in another sport. Minnesota led by as many as 16 but let WKU back into the game. Minnesota had another close rebounding battle as they only won that 39-34. Speaking of battles, Jamison Battle led the Gophers with 20 points. Willis and Stephens also chipped in 19 and 18.

Another area of concern for Minnesota was the zero bench points and the fact that Minnesota played only 7 guys and only the starters played more than 11 minutes. This is not a deep team for Minnesota and that’s going to be a problem at some point. Dayvion McKnight scored 34 points for the Hilltoppers.

Michigan State Spartans 90, Western Michigan Broncos 46

Indiana Hoosiers 85, Northern Illinois Huskies 49

Buffkomodo: This game was only televised on BTN+. I only have room for two pluses in my subscription life and that’s not one of them. All that is saying is that I didn’t watch this. Looks like it went well with improvements all around. Still didn’t really shoot well though. Let’s see how we look against St. John’s.

Northwestern Wildcats 95, High Point Panthers 60

MNW: Northwestern started slow and finally took the lead midway through the first half, but only had a one-point lead at halftime.

Then Pete Nance took over. And—stop me if you’ve heard this before—a Tubby Smith-coached team struggled to shoot at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

The second half was something I haven’t seen in a LONG time from Northwestern: A 61-27 margin for the half. No use qualifying that with a “17-6 run” or “29-10 run” or whatever else—the whole half was one big run. Every time I looked at my (muted) phone’s stream, the ‘Cats were putting another one in the bucket.

The double-double from Nance (22 and 10 boards) is nice, but I love the 19 and 7 assists from Boo Buie—part of the Wildcats’ 26 assists on 35 makes. That’s been such a positive development in the early going: ball movement and limited turnovers. Experienced backup G Ryan Greer going 6/6 (3/3 from deep) was a nice touch—Greer hit a corner-pocket three that I’d really like to see become a more regular thing, especially since he’s not a huge part of the offense.

Oh, and finally, Chris Collins might be content to bully his way through the non-conference with NU’s height. Ryan Young had 20 on 8/8 shooting. Death, taxes, and all that.

Wisconsin Badgers 72, Green Bay Phoenix 34

MNW: Appropriate that this was the scoreline on a day where wisconsin honored the Grinch himself—and the Phoenix were led by the Grinch’s son. The Phoenix shot historically badly and wisconsin had the playmakers to blow right by them. Imagine willingly playing such shit basketball.

Kind of...: Okay, okay, but Chucky Hepburn and Lorne Bowman combined for 7 steals and no nut punches, so UW becoming ever less easy to hate. Though the game only featured 63 possessions, so this is NOT the year that the tempo breaks into the 200s. Monday night against Providence will be interesting. Jonathan Davis is 11-31 from the field so far. Good chance he breaks out.

Iowa Hawkeyes 89, Kansas City Roos 57

BoilerUp89: Despite poor 3 point shooting (25% on 4/16), the Hawkeyes took home an easy victory against a Kansas City team that threw a scare into Minnesota earlier this season. Keegan Murray once against led Iowa in scoring - this time with 25 points. Jordan Bohannon continued his red hot shooting from deep (3 of 5). Iowa did a better job in the game with rebounding (winning that battle 39-27) and only had 8 turnovers.

Stew: Keegan Murray is good, ya’ll. Really, really good. Even when the shooting isn’t the best, this team can still score in bunches. They got out and ran on Friday, and took UMKC out of the game with a giant run after halftime. Rebraca looked really good on the boards and in the post. He’ll get eaten alive by the likes of Kofi, but he does look the part of a P5 post player. Joe Toussaint also seems to have gotten a bit more under control, picking his spots, and he’s got a decent little mid-range game, now.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 74, Sam Houston State Bearkats 65

BRT: Atinat has informed me that Nebrasketball is already dead, so I’m not sure what this is worth, but they did win! The first half was just... well, it was bad. Very bad. The Huskers trailed by five at the half with a whopping 27 points, and I believe the Bearkats built a ten point lead after the half, so things were not looking good for the guys in red.

However, Bryce McGowens had something to say about that, and due to his 29-point effort, the Huskers were able to subdue Sam Houston (the state, not the person). Unfortunately for Nebraska, Bryce was way more of the offense than he should have been. Eduardo Andre had a nice effort after coming off the bench though, with 11 points and seven rebounds. Notably, if you’ve seen much Nebrasketball over recent years, the Huskers sank 26 of 36 free throw attempts (I’m informed that’s the most by a Husker team since 2017-18, so there’s that.)

Also, what in the Kardashian is this “Bearkats” stuff? I thought MNW was just being whimsical, but that is actually what they are called kalled.

Saturday, November 13

#6 Michigan Wolverines 77, Prairie View A&M Panthers 49

MNW: I missed it, who won? Coaches or Racism?

#21 Maryland Terrapins 68, Vermont Catamounts 57

BoilerUp89: For the second consecutive game, Maryland struggled with a buy game opponent. The Terrapins were losing at the half, but a strong second half and making a living at the free throw line (18 of 23) helped Maryland to pull away late. Holding Vermont scoreless from 4:27 to 11 seconds was also a timely use of defensive prowess. Russell and Ayala both score 22 points to lead the Terrapins in scoring.

Maryland struggled with shooting the ball in this game - just 36.7% from the field and 22.2% from behind the arc. Both teams had only 7 turnovers.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 48, Merrimack Warriors 35

BoilerUp89: Merrimack played a zone and it reportedly confused the hell out of Rutgers. Take note Big Ten coaches.

The good news for the Knights is that Merrimack’s offense is ranked 302nd in KenPom so they were able to survive. Rutgers shot 31.3% from the field and 28.6% from long range. Rutgers did win the rebounding battle by 15, only committed 8 personal fouls, and had 12 assists on 15 field goals. Cliff Omoruyi had 4 personal fouls - which may be an area of concern for him.

RU in VA: The eighth headbanded wonder of the world, Paul Mulcahy - and Caleb Mcconnell played less than 20 mins each. Certainly a good game to get in some work for their sixth man, Aundre Hyatt and the hyped up underclassmen, Mawat Mog and Jaden Jones.

It’s a 2-3 zone team with “hustle and grit guys”. Throw this one away.

Sunday, November 14

Minnesota 87, Princeton Tigers 80 (2OT)

Asheville Championship — Finals

WSR: WOOOOOOOOOOO! 3-0! Minnesota will win at least 3 games this season! Possibly even more!

Are we in trouble when we run into a team with an actual big man? Yes. Are we also in trouble when we run into a team that uses it’s bench? Also yes.

But that doesn’t matter now because Minnesota is the greatest Ashville Championships champions in the long, illustrious history of this tournament.

DNP: Penn State (chicken)


Who had the best weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, or Northwestern—blew out the bad opponents
    (36 votes)
  • 43%
    Minnesota—won a tournament, never mind who they played or how they did it
    (81 votes)
  • 37%
    Rutgers—when their football team scores 48 in a game, it’s a good day!
    (71 votes)
188 votes total Vote Now


Who had the worst weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Ohio State—too close for comfort. Again.
    (44 votes)
  • 21%
    Maryland—shouldn’t we be a little better than Vermont?
    (37 votes)
  • 52%
    Rutgers—turns out this was basketball, not football, and unless Bill Carmody or Todd Lickliter’s your coach, 48 won’t cut it.
    (89 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now