Every year NCAA basketball teams play these games called “secret scrimmages”. They are really glorified unofficial practices against another D1 team, don’t necessarily follow typical game rules, and opposing coaches will often ask each other to show them different things (ie: a zone defense or a full court press). Stats are not officially kept, fans are not allowed to watch, and scores/details of the games are usually very, very difficult to obtain. But fear not, loyal readers of OTE. Our internet detectives have been able to lean on their insider connections at all the important B1G programs and we are here to share those difficult to obtain details. And by that I mean, I have a collection of tweets or I’ve attempted to pull together a narrative on what happened from message board rumors and innuendo. Remember that if your team lost, the season is over and if they won they are advancing to the final four. Without further ado, here’s your B1G Basketball 2021 Secret Scrimmage roundup:
Saturday, October 16
Maryland defeats Pittsburgh Panthers 72-56
Not-So-Secret Scrimmage Result:— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) October 16, 2021
Maryland 72, Pittsburgh 56
Mark Turgeon played 10 guys at least 15 minutes. Terps were led by Eric Ayala and Donta Scott with 11 apiece. Fatts Russell had 8 points, 5 assists and 3 TOs. Maryland will be deep.
Pitt led by John Hugley’s 14 points.
In the first of the B1G secret scrimmages this year, the Terrapins walloped their former long-time conference rival Panthers by 16. Pittsburgh isn’t expected to be very good this season (preseason KenPom ranking of 145), but Maryland’s win was apparently impressive enough to get them ranked No. 21 in the AP poll when the preseason rankings came out two days later.
Sunday, October 17
Rutgers may have competed with or even beat the Villanova Wildcats
In stark contrast to their secret scrimmage against Duke (for which video highlights were distributed afterwards), Villanova keep a very tight lid on information regarding their scrimmage against Rutgers. From the Villanova side, we were told that the “two teams played a variety of simulated game situations” instead of the typical 40 minute game. Snappy dresser and two time national champion Jay Wright was quoted afterwards as saying “We really appreciate Coach Pikiell working with us. We got zone work in, we got press work in, various game situations in. It was an extremely competitive scrimmage. I love the team that Steve has put together. That’s a tough, outstanding defensive team.”
I have heard two separate stories about scores: 1) Villanova won 96-88 and 2) Rutgers blew the doors off the Wildcats. Neither sounds likely as the first is really high and the latter seems uhhh... unlikely, and I sort of even doubt they kept score given their chosen format. While we know very little from this scrimmage, it is somewhat telling about Pikiell’s expectations for this team that Pikiell scheduled preseason top 10 Villanova when his last secret scrimmage opponents in 2019 were Towson and Yale.
Saturday, October 23
Iowa beat to Bradley Braves fairly easily
Have seen few details leak from either program, but the rumor mill states that the Hawkeyes defeated the Braves out of the Missouri Valley Conference. Keegan Murray may or may not have played well. The one thing that seems for certain is that Fran McCaffery went off on the refs following a foul call. Fran reportedly turned beet red and chased after said ref while throwing basketballs at him. Fran was also said to be confused when Bradley head coach Brian Wardle asked him to play a 2-3 defense and he responded: “I understand what the words ‘two’ and ‘three’ are, but what do you mean by ‘defense’?” Bradley is likely a middle of the pack Valley team this year (174 in Kenpom) as Wardle continues the rebuild from the back to back 2019-2020 Arch Madness championships, so don’t read too much into the rumored result.
Minnesota probably fell to Oklahoma Sooners
Minnesota broke in their entirely new roster and got coach Ben Johnson his first coaching experience against the Sooners and their new head coach Porter Moser. Both sides agreed to not release stats from the game which I’m taking to mean either both sides were terrible or Oklahoma beat Minnesota so badly that the Gophers begged them to not release stats out of mercy. Oklahoma message boards claim they won by 20+, while Minnesota message boards refused to speculate. The game was at Oklahoma so there might be some truth to their claim as that’s where I would have expected the news to leak from. Oklahoma is ranked 52 in Kenpom’s preseason rankings.
Penn State played George Mason
Penn State played George Mason in their first of two secret scrimmages in 2021. I’m not entirely sure why Penn State is playing two of these scrimmages, but I would guess it has something to do with the fact that attendance at the Mausoleum would be the same for a secret scrimmage as an exhibition game. Naturally there are no rumors about the scrimmage as searches for “Penn State basketball” + “forum”, “message board”, or “blog” returned zero results and similarly twitter doesn’t care about Penn State basketball. I thought George Mason fans would have something on the scrimmage but was unable to find anything on their side either. George Mason is projected to finish 10th out of 14 in the Atlantic 10 this season.
Wisconsin definitely lost to Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers
Source: Loyola Chicago over Wisconsin 71-56 in a Secret Scrimmage. 16 for Lucas Williamson.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 23, 2021
In the second consecutive loss for the B1G against Loyola, Wisconsin was handled by the Ramblers. Jonathan Davis supposedly led the Badgers in scoring with a 4-14 performance, while 9th year nut puncher Brad Davison pitched in 12 points. Carlson contributed 10 points and 5 rebounds while Crowl score 9. At least nobody saw this latest B1G loss to the Ramblers. The good news for the Badgers is that Loyola is projected to once again win the MVC although Kenpom has them projected at just 32 preseason. Perhaps the Badgers were just confused about playing at UW-Whitewater.
Sunday, October 24
Ohio State met Mississippi
Rebels Traitors in Nashville
By meeting in Nashville, Ohio State and Ole Miss were able to keep rumors of their secret scrimmage to a minimum. It also helps the secrecy in that both fanbases are much more focused on football at the moment and aren’t too inquisitive about the results of a basketball scrimmage.
Mississippi may end up as a bubble team this year (Kenpom 57), but they have a tough road as the SEC is loaded this season with tournament quality teams and also Tom Crean. When Ohio State fans stumble back to basketball following their 2nd football loss of the season in a few weeks (to Purdue, of course), perhaps rumors will have leaked by then. If they have, Buckeye fans will hopefully be able to read about a relatively comfortable victory and that the guard play was good as that’s their biggest question coming into the season.
Saturday, October 30
Indiana beat Belmont Bruins in the KFC Yum! Center of Louisville
Originally scheduled to play Cincinnati, the Hoosiers had to cancel that game due to too many injuries. Belmont is ranked 77 in KenPom preseason so this is a decent victory by the Hoosiers.
My secret source says Indiana beat Belmont in secret scrimmage at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville today.— rickbozich (@rickbozich) October 30, 2021
IU’s magic number was 11. Hoosiers won by 11. Made 11 of 11 free throws and played 11 guys. IU 8 for 23 from distance and out-rebounded Belmont by 8.#iubb
Northwestern vs Iowa State
Hawkeyes Hawkstorms? in Davenport
I’m seeing conflicted reports from the Iowa State message boards on this: either it did not go well for Iowa State or it did. Twitter search results for “Northwestern Iowa State basketball” return 0 results from the past 5 years. Northwestern insiders seen to think that the two sides played a 20 minute half which Iowa State won, and then two 8 minute segments - one of which both teams played zone (but not the beautiful 1-3-1 unfortunately). Northwestern supposedly outscored the Hawkstorms by 12 total.
Penn State’s 2nd scrimmage, this time against Duquesne Dukes
Once again Penn State fans don’t care about basketball. My internet sleuthing revealed that Penn State beat Duquesne in a scrimmage that took place in 2009. Unfortunately, that has no bearing on 2021 results. Good luck Micah Shrewsberry, you are going to need it.
Rutgers beat UConn Huskies
Rutgers also beat the Huskies of Connecticut in another victory over the Big East. No further information was available.
Purdue loses in OT by 1 to Providence Friars in Boston
Painter scheduled a scrimmage against Providence for the second time in a row (they played in 2019 as well). Painter typically uses these games to try things out against what he suspects are Purdue’s deficiencies that year (ie: multiple scrimmages against Huggins’ Press Virginia squad in past year). Ed Cooley is the most underrated coaches in the Big East in my opinion. Every time I see him coach at Xavier (and this seems to be one of the games I go to annually for some reason), I come away impressed by his coaching adjustments and play calling even though he doesn’t always have the most talented roster. Anyway, Purdue lost to 1 in OT in a game that allowed players to accumulate 9 personal fouls and not foul out. Purdue led by as many as 14 in the 2nd half before letting Providence back in. Providence played their starters 35+ minutes each. Purdue played everybody and had some interesting minute distributions. Box score and highlights were leaked out and provided because Purdue loves their fans.
Box score. Providence ran starters the whole game. Purdue played 10 deep at least 15 min. Interesting +/- pic.twitter.com/gVo2ldRa5W— seanyatp (@seanyatp) October 30, 2021
: Was great to get a run in yesterday.— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) October 31, 2021
The Providence highlights. pic.twitter.com/I4wck6y0gL
Sunday, October 31
Michigan @DePaul Blue Demons
Why schedule this? What can playing DePaul possibly tell coach Howard? What value is there in this game? The Wolverines reportedly won easily, but no further details have been provided.