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Gavitt Games, Midweek Recaps, Friday Open Thread: Big Ten embarrassed?

On Monday we asked if the Big Ten was the best conference in the country. So...about that.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Gavitt Games

Recaps: Big East 6, Big Ten 2 lolololololol

Marquette Golden Eagles 67, #10 Illinois Fighting Illini 66


This is a very different game with Cockburn, and plenty of blame has been assigned to Andre Curbelo...but I really like this Morsell kid for my Golden Eagles. We seen him somewhere before?

HWAHSQB: Honestly, I wasn’t too disappointed in this loss. For one, it makes me think Underwood can beat Turgeon, just not Darryl Morsell. Secondly, I think it gives Underwood a chance to teach the team and I’ve always felt basketball teams listen more after losses. Every team Underwood has coached has improved in Jan-March. Well, early March any way. The fact that we were even in a game where we shot 20 less free throws and turned the ball over 24 times is a testament to just how good this team is at defense (#1 in the country) and rebounding. Curbelo will be fine. He’s a fantastic pick and roll player who was missing his enormous buddy in the roll role. He’s not a fantastic create your own shot guy yet, especially against a physical defense like Smart’s, but he won’t be asked to play that part starting on Monday. We were also missing our sixth man, so nothing about this game really makes me think Illinois isn’t a legit top 15/B1G title contending team.

Providence Friars 63, Wisconsin Badgers 58

Kind of...: Hmm, let’s take a look at my preview:

“Ed Cooley is a widely respected coach and Nate Watson is a rugged big who will challenge UW’s Steven Crowl, Ben Carlson, and Tyler Wahl. Indiana transfer Aljami Durham is playing both guard positions for the Friars (and using a lot of possessions), who let Fairfield hang around, but throttled Sacred Heart.
Will be a good test for UW’s guard rotation (including frosh Chucky Hepburn and Lorne Bowman), who have been playing really active defense so far.
Making UW a 7 point favorite feels like a lot. I’ll be thrilled with any type of win.”

Ed Cooley switched defense regularly. UW shot like shit and looked helpless against the zone. Watson had 24 points on 15 FGA and owned the UW frontcourt. Durham only used up 23% of possessions, but was the second-leading scorer despite a sub-100 ORtg, because the UW guards did play pretty good D overall. UW should not have been a 7 point favorite, but probably would have eked out a win with if they could’ve just hit 25% from 3.

Since I’m so clairvoyant, I’m starting a cult. If you want to join, just note as such in the comments below.

Creighton Bluejays 77, Nebraska Cornhuskers 69

BRT: The outcome here was not surprising, but the game itself was kind of interesting. The Huskers got down early—big. Like, down 31-13 with eight minutes left in the first big. Nothing good can be said about that kind of a start, but a lot of good things can be said about how the Huskers managed to get back within two with a minute left in the half. Unfortunately, they could never quite get over the 3-4 point deficit hump, but I appreciate that they didn’t fold.

As far as individuals, we’ve got good news and we’ve got bad news. The good news was Kobe Webster, who came off the bench and scored 20 points. The bad news is pretty bad— Trey McGowens broke his foot and is out for most of the rest of the season, if not all of it. Just a brutal loss for the Huskers.

Seton Hall Pirates 67, #4 Michigan Wolverines 65


Michigan State Spartans 73, Butler Bulldogs 52

Green Akers: I dunno, I thought it was pretty good! I don’t think MSU’s 3pt defense has miraculously vaulted to these heights, but they made excellent corrections on lake penetration compared to Kansas. I’m sure the fact that Butler doesn’t have a guy like Agbaji helps, but still. Max Christie has a real chance to be B1G FOTY, and it’s also a little startling how quickly this offense has come to rely on him.

Indiana Hoosiers 76, St. John’s Red Storm 74

Buffkomodo: These 9:00 tips can eat a fat one. I missed a chunk between the last two tv timeouts. Man.

It feels good to win games like this. Hard fought games that you were on the verge of making a blowout until a veteran guard proves he doesn’t belong on a B1G stage. Coming out flat in the second half didn’t help either.

It’s hard to state how nice it is to have someone like Tamar Bates and Jordan Geronimo coming off the bench. Those two guys really did a lot to push this to the win column. That said, Tamar and Xavier are going to get a T at a bad time this year. Just calling it. Indiana still can’t shoot, but boy do they play hard. Race Thompson really stole the show too. TJD was TJD.
Improvements are being made. Guards aren’t the worst in the B1G anymore. We should be alright. Onto Louisiana and then hello Top 25!

BoilerUp89: Shoutout to the Purdue basketball manager who went to this one wearing a Purdue #1 jersey in support of Aaron Wheeler who transferred to St. Johns in the offseason.

BuffKomodo: Saw that. Much respect to him!

Xavier Musketeers 71, #17 Ohio State Buckeyes 65

Buffkomodo: Hahahahahahahahah. I love it when an in state team sticks it to the Buckeyes.

BoilerUp89: I second Buff’s remarks but since I was in attendance for this one I’ll add a full recap. Xavier fans just don’t like OSU. The Xavier pep band/scoreboard operator leaned into this sentiment and during the first media timeout played Hail to the Victors while showing OSU fans on the bandwagon fan cam. One of the Ohio State fans on the bandwagon cam was nice enough to flip off the camera.

OSU got a high amount of blocks (Liddell had 8!), but despite that Xavier still made a living in the paint and with Liddell leaving his man to attempt the block on what seemed like every possession, OSU left themselves vulnerable on the glass when he didn’t get there on time. This resulted in the Muskies getting 16 offensive rebounds. Overall undersized Xavier was able to win the rebounding battle 43-35. This was thanks primarily to former Iowa player Jack Nunge who came off the bench to play 31 minutes and contribute 14 points and 14 rebounds. Nunge had to play 31 minutes as the starter in this one was in foul trouble from the get go and the primary center on the team has been out with an injury to start the season.

Offensively OSU struggled to get much done inside despite Key and Liddell having massive size advantages. The duo combined for just 23 points on 10-21 shooting. The starting guards for Ohio State also weren’t much of a threat offensively. Wheeler dished out 6 assists and did a good job defensively (he held Paul Scruggs in check for most of the night until Scruggs took over the final 3 minutes of the game), but Meechie Johnson should be playing in front of Branham.

Xavier led for the entirety of the game and the lead was floating between 5 and 11 points for the middle portion of the game. OSU really struggled to stop dribble penetration - which is pretty much Xavier’s whole offense as they don’t do a ton of off ball screens or motion. With about 8 minutes to go and down 10, Holtmann switched the Ohio State defense to a zone. The Musketeers really struggled to attack the zone as dribble penetration rarely works against a good zone and faltered on offense for a few minutes while OSU ate into the lead. When Xavier finally got a 3 to fall (they shot just 20% from behind the arc in this game), OSU abandoned the zone and returned to man to man defense down the stretch. At this point, Paul Scruggs took over and got to the rim repeatedly to seal away the victory for Xavier. If Holtmann had stuck with the zone I think the Buckeyes pull this one out.

DePaul Blue Demons 73, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 70

RU in VA: Unfortunately, this isn’t a game where you can say that DePaul is going to be sneaky good this year. They have one scorer and no other standouts, plus a new coach.

Rutgers is just playing slow and making terrible decisions. <20% 3 point shooters launching three or four a game needs to stop. From an esoteric standpoint after watching four non-conference games against low-majors, this team doesn’t have the same drive as last year to make the tournament. But hey, this might be the year in the B1G to have that lack of drive ‘looks at every other B1G team’.

I will complain a bit about officiating. It seems like we’re back in home cooking mode, but I haven’t seen anything as bad as last night in a few years. DePaul would travel almost every lane drive or pass completion above the key. The announcers were dumbfounded - free throws showed this silly disparity.

Reaction: So, uh, where does the Big Ten go from here?

MNW: Right back to what we were already doing, I guess. Sure gives at least a little bit of a window into why the conference trips over its collective manhood every year when it reaches the NCAA Tournament?

Buffkomodo: Perhaps I was wrong? Perhaps the Big East is much better than the B1G. It’s looking like the B1G isn’t a title threat this year after all, granted Illinois is still frightening and Purdue didn’t get a game. Everyone else? Looks like a dog fight in the B1G this year.

RU in VA: Better to have it now than in the tournament where every hot take between every game is some shitty variation on “B1G IS OVERRATED”. I’m glad teams in the B1G are fighting back against the AP, showing them those top 25 rankings aren’t deserved!

Kind of...: It doesn’t matter. At all. Everybody plays their next game and tries to improve.

BoilerUp89: That was much worse than my predicted 6-2. But if you aren’t OSU, Rutgers, Wisconsin or non-Gavitt Games participant Maryland I don’t think the sky is failing. Sure these four struggling early probably decreases the number of bids the conference gets in March but they’ve all got plenty of opportunities to turn things around.

Wisconsin’s loss is the least worrying to me as Ed Cooley is a very good coach and the Badgers probably aren’t going to shoot 18% from 3 too often. For the rest of the conference though, it’s either a tough loss they can rebound from pretty easily or a sign that conference play won’t be as big of a bloodbath as it has been the past few years.

Other Games: Much Less Laughing

#19 Ohio State Buckeyes 89, Bowling Green Falcons 58

UMass Minutemen 81, Penn State Nittany Lions 56
Penn State 74, St. Francis (NY) Terriers 59

#6 Purdue Boilermakers 96, Wright State Raiders 52

BoilerUp89: Wright State has won the Horizon league regular season 3 years in a row. They returned 4 starters from last years team. Purdue looked really good. Edey, Williams, and Furst all had double-doubles for Purdue, the first time Purdue has had three of them in the same game since the 70s. The center position combined for 38 points (on 16 of 23 shooting), 25 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks in 38 minutes of play.

Newman and Stefanovic shot well from 3 (combined 9 of 15). Ethan Morton was a pest defensively and the whole team played much more aggressively and much better overall on defense. Still some work to be done but an encouraging sign for those looking for defensive improvements. The aggressive doubling in the post may get beaten by really good passing teams, but the defensive rotations were really solid in this one and Purdue’s length may allow them to get away with it.

Thru three games and 65 minutes of play Thompson has zero turnovers. Newman also has zero turnovers in 57 minutes. Eric Hunter had 4 assists and 0 turnovers in this game. Everyone appears to knows their role and be buying into it so far.

If I had to nitpick this performance (and I would be nitpicking as a 44 point win over a top 150 team is great), the number of turnovers (17) concern me a little bit. Although 3 were from walkons, all of the bigs had 3+ as did Ivey. It’s an area to clean up. Speaking of Ivey, he had a quiet 2-8 shooting performance and just 8 points. After a couple of bad decisions, he stopped trying to force things and recognized that the Wright State defense was allowing other guys to be open. His continued development in this area will be key to Purdue’s postseason hopes.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 75, NJIT Highlanders 61

RU in VA: Insert Highlander quote here.

Northwestern Wildcats 83, New Orleans Privateers 67
Northwestern Wildcats 82, Fairleigh Dickinson Knights 46

MNW: The ‘Cats spent about 25-30 minutes getting punched in the mouth by New Orleans on Tuesday until they finally found a little attitude. Reserve G Ty Berry hit a couple big shots, Ryan Young—who had a generally poor game—made a couple hustle plays outta the post, Boo Buie found his stroke and actually got on the floor after a few balls, and Pete Nance used his size and ability to get the Privateers into foul trouble. Some highlight-reel dunks as the ‘Cats closed out what was, in the end, a 16-point laugher.

It was, though, during the game, indicative of where Northwestern will struggle in its upcoming games with Providence and, perhaps, Virginia. The Wildcats’ guards struggled mightily with how hard the Privateers contested screens and handoffs—hopefully that’s a simple enough attitudinal adjustment.

Of course, then, against Fairly Dickin’—a game NU fans could actually see because it was the team’s first on BTN proper—Northwestern just used its size to bully the Chess Pieces. So we learned...nothing? Something?

Iowa Hawkeyes 86, NC Central Eagles 69
Iowa Hawkeyes 108, Alabama State Hornets 82

George Mason Patriots 71, #20 Maryland Terrapins 66

We're behind today, so here's your thread for the night's basketball, as well. No schedule, but I think Michigan plays UNLV at like 11:30pm out in a tourney dedicated to erectile dysfunction. Let's say it's on FS1, and let's all definitely laugh a little.