I’ve spent the last week or two not writing here at OTE as I’ve been on strike trying to negotiate a $6/year salary from MNWildcat. Unfortunately, MNWildcat was able to wait me out due to his deep financial pockets and here I am still writing for free. The oppression of the ruling class is harsh.
Shut up and write the article, peasant.
In basketball news, Big Ten play is underway and we’ve had some really entertaining games. Recaps of those games and comments from the writing staff can be found below.
Illinois Fighting Illini survives Iowa Hawkeyes late rally 87-83
The Illini led this one by 15 in the 2nd half and then Iowa started pressing and came roaring back for the second game in a row. After cutting the lead to 3 multiple times in the final couple of minutes, Plummer and Grandison were able to stave off the comeback attempt - first by each hitting jumpers and secondly by knocking down their free throws. The massive turnover advantage (4 to 18) allowed Iowa to make it a game despite getting absolutely slaughtered on the boards 23 to 52.
My question is why is Fran waiting until Iowa is down big to start pressing? Iowa played 11 guys in this game so they have the bodies to press without getting tired and it is clearly a really effective press. I also wondered why Ogundele only got 2 minutes after just a good performance against Purdue last Friday.
HwaHSQB: Illinois beat Iowa for the fourth consecutive time. For the second game in a row, Fran’s team outplayed a conference frontrunner with primarily reserves on the court, but the hole dug by the starters was too much for them to overcome.
I’m not a millionaire basketball coach, but it seems like maybe the starters are the problem. JoBo was -13 during his time on the court, worst of any player in the game. I’d also question his use of Ogundele. He played two minutes in a game where Illinois outrebounded Iowa 52-23, including collecting 60% of their own misses. Maybe he could have helped grab some boards, but he was put in on defense on the last two offensive possessions. Ogundele steadfastly remained planted in the lane as Illinois broke the press and didn’t rotate out, leaving Plummer to shoot the decisive three with no defender within 15 feet of him.
Illinois struggled against the Iowa pressure without Curbelo’s ballhandling, losing the turnover battle 18-4. That will continue to be a problem and likely keeps Illinois from competing for a B1G title unless Curbelo can come back before league play resumes.
Michigan Wolverines obliterate Nebraska Cornhuskers 102-67.
The Michigan team many expected at the start of the season was in display on Tuesday as the Wolverines torched the nets shooting over 50% from the field and 46.9% from deep. Alonzo Verge Jr. put up 31 points for the Cornhuskers but didn’t get the usual assistance from McGowens and more importantly Nebraska couldn’t slow Michigan at all. The Cornhuskers missed THIRTY of their three-point attempts (out of 35).
For Michigan Dickinson had another double-double and the trio of starters Johns, Houston, and Brooks were also in double figures. Terrance Williams II contributed 22 off the bench. Michigan won the rebounding battle by 16 and shot really well. That’s the recipe for a lot of wins if they can replicate those two things.
BRT: Nebraska did nothing at all well in this game, unfortunately, and Michigan, to my recollection, did not miss a single shot they attempted. It was a very bad combination. I love my Huskers, but I peaced out of this one at halftime for a Hallmark movie. That’s right Huskers. I chose a Hallmark movie about a magical Christmas train over watching another half of that game. Think about what you’ve done.
Penn State Nittany Lions pull away in second half from Wagner Seahawks, win 74-54
I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch any of this game. It was another production of BTN- and I won’t pay for that for Purdue games, let alone Penn State. But I can fill column with the worst of them so I’ll do so here. I’m honestly not sure how Penn State won by 20 points as looking at the stats there isn’t a whole lot they did much better than the Seahawks. They shot a little better from the field, but had more turnovers (17 to 15) and only 6 more rebounds. Wagner even had more shot attempts than Penn State in this game.
Oh there it is. Penn State won this game by 20 for two reasons. 1) Wagner could not shoot the three. Wagner went 2 of 14 from behind the arc which isn’t going to win many games for any teams (outside of Duke this year). 2) Penn State got to the free throw line 21 times compared to Wagner’s 6 and made 16 of their attempts from there. Penn State pulled away in the last 15 minutes of this one as they started taking better care of the basketball.
misdreavus79: The Nittany Lions spent the first half doing what they do best: Turning the ball over and Pikachu meming their way into a close game. By the 15-minute mark of the second half, they already had 14 turnovers. As it happened, they only committed three more the rest of the way, and what was a five point game at the time, somehow, some way, turned into a 20-point blowout. It’s almost as if taking care of the ball actually matters in these sorts of things!
Indiana Hoosiers torment fans, blow 22 point lead to #22 Wisconsin Badgers and fall 59-64
The Kohl Center remains a house of horrors for the Hoosiers. As every Indiana fan expected when they were up by 22 points in the first half and 17 at the half, Wisconsin came slowly back (it is Wisconsin basketball after all) and won the game. This marks the 19th consecutive loss at the Kohl Center for the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers scored just 17 points in the second half, only 3 points in the final 9 minutes, and TJD only attempted three shots in the final 15 minutes of the game. For the Badgers, Johnny Davis once again led the way - this time with 23 points. Tyler Wahl had a big night on the boards as he grabbed 12 of them.
Consider this: the only Indiana basketball head coach to win at the Kohl Center - Bobby Knight. Try again next year.
Kind of...: It’s a good thing I don’t like Hallmark movies, otherwise I might have missed the biggest comeback in UW history. Look, UW shouldn’t play poorly enough to fall behind Indiana by 22, and that will need to be addressed. But, um, yeah, this is the opposite of last year’s vibe. This team clearly likes each other, likes being on the court, and never stops competing. It’s too early to put anybody on all-conference teams, but I don’t think you can name five B1G players who have had better years than Johnny Davis thus far. Tyler Wahl plays fantastic defense, Chris Vogt found 9 key point in a performance I’m not sure is replicable, and Ben Carlson looked the best he has all season in 20 minutes off the bench.
The post rotation is not elite, but it’s improving, and that’s good. And in what is perhaps the best sign long-term, true frosh PG Chucky Hepburn, who didn’t make a FG all night and struggled with foul trouble, continued to look great on D and hit four critical FTs in crunch time, looking absolutely confident while doing so. This is a fun team to watch, and I absolutely welcome all the “Fuck wisconsin”’s to come as you all realize this isn’t the 10th place team in the conference.
#21 Ohio State Buckeyes battle in the second half to win 85-74 over the Towson Tigers
The Buckeyes had a quiet first half where they were outrebounded and went into halftime leading only by 1. In the second half Ohio State woke up, began rebounding like they were capable of, and put up 52 points in the latter half of the game. It turns out giving effort in games is important. This helped them edge out the Tigers by 11. Justin Ahrens had himself a good shooting night with a 5/10 performance from behind the arc.
#19 Michigan State Spartans ruin Minnesota Gophers’ undefeated season 75-67.
First off, round of applause for the Gophers who managed to be the 13th B1G team to lose their first game of the season. Raise your hand if you had the Gophers being the second to last B1G team to be undefeated this season. Put your hands down, you liars.
The Gophers made a valiant effort in this one eating away at a 20 point Spartan lead but the Spartans outrebounded the Gophers 44-29, outshot them 47.6% to 26.1% from 3, and had more bodies to throw into the fray to wear out the Gophers. Brown, Walker, and Hall all had 15 points for the Spartans. Curry, led the Gophers with 18 and Battle had 17 while playing all 40 minutes. The Gophers managed to limit their turnovers to just 3 which is going to keep them in a lot of games! But at some point they are going to have to develop some depth on the bench or the B1G schedule is going to be brutal.
WSR: This team is wildly flawed and lacks depth. We’re probably going to lose way more B1G games than we’ll win, and I’m going to love them for every second of it. There’s just no quit in this team, but they just couldn’t find a way to beat Sparty last night. Every time we got it to within 2 possessions in the 1st half and the crowd got ready to go Full Barn, they’d hit a wild shot and then get a miss. And make no doubt about it, their defense was amazing last night. Hopefully things go better against Michigan, but I don’t expect a win. Onward and upwards and stuff.
Green Akers: As is always the case in the Barn, Minnesota gave MSU a tighter game than the matchup on paper would suggest. Battle in particular was really impressive, and it’s good to see Curry able to get back to his old self after everything he’s gone through. MSU’s depth ultimately held up, even after they lost focus in the second half to let Minnesota turn a blowout into a much tighter affair.
I go back and forth on whether it’s a good thing or not that the Spartans don’t really have a clear top offensive option. On the one hand, it’s tough to know who they turn to when they really need a bucket, but on the other, it makes them basically off night-proof to have fully eight guys who can reasonably score in double figures. Wednesday, it was Tyson Walker, Malik Hall and Gabe Brown leading the way, and hey, look at that - a good game basically across the board for Joey Hauser (10 pts, 7 reb, 2 asst/1 TO), who’s plainly going to continue getting big minutes despite being deep in the fanbase’s doghouse (for all that matters). MSU’s ceiling bumps up a few notches if they can get something like that from him on a regular basis.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights upset #1 Purdue Boilermakers 70-68.
Jersey Mike’s (this is a Culver’s and Arby’s site) RAC was rocking for this game against the #1 ranked team in the nation and many of Purdue’s players experienced their first road crowd in college. This was a back and forth affair with both teams having big time scoring runs. Ron Harper Jr. had a huge game with 30 points including the last second heave from midcourt that went in to give Rutgers the victory.
Rutgers shot 50% from three while Purdue had an unusually cold night from behind the arc and shot just 26.9%. For Purdue, this game will serve as a wake up call that they have to be able to lean on their defense on nights where they aren’t shooting well. Although were able to do so for the first 12 minutes of the second half, the defense fell apart late in the game giving Rutgers clean looks or bailing them out by fouling late in the shot clock. Missing opportunities at the free throw line, struggles with ball pressure, and two huge rebounds by Harper on Rutgers FT misses over Trevion Williams will all be looked back on as things Purdue could have done better.
Purdue scored with 3 seconds to take a 1 point lead, but didn’t prevent Harper from getting the inbound pass and his last second prayer was answered. Credit to Rutgers for the upset win as they played their best game of the season so far. Purdue remains winless as the #1 ranked AP poll team.
Iowa State Cyclones blow away Iowa Hawkeyes 73-53
Iowa State’s coach is the frontrunner for national coach of the year. Maybe some Iowa fan will come in and write about this game. If not, then in honor of Iowa playing Illinois earlier this week let it be remembered that Bruce Pearl was a scummy assistant for Iowa back in the late 80s/early 90s, is a dirty head coach now at Auburn (and previously at Tennessee), and represents all that is wrong with college basketball.
The late great John Chaney’s thoughts towards John Calipari should reflect what all honest, hard working basketball coaches and fans feel towards Bruce Pearl.
MNW: I’ll just pop in to mention that Iowa couldn’t shoot a lick—especially not Keegan Murray, who appeared to struggle to create his own shots against a team not named North Carolina Western A&T Central College of the Arts.
The Hawkeyes yielded more offensive rebounds than they pulled down on defense, struggled to break through an aggressive Cyclones defense, and just a big ol’ lol at all of it.
Who had the best week in Big Ten hoops?
This poll is closed
More importantly, who had the worst?
This poll is closed
A Chris Collins-coached team hasn’t scored a single point since Sunday, so checkmate
Wanna talk basketball tonight? Here’s where you can.