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Big Ten Men’s Basketball Weekend Previews: Purdue-NC State, Florida-Maryland, Rutgers-Seton Hall, and more

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Can Purdue salvage a win while they’re still ranked #1?

NCAA BASKETBALL: DEC 23 Rutgers at Seton Hall Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well good morning, you saucy little tart. Can I interest you in some Big Ten basketball previews for the weekend? Two unranked Big Ten squads take on ranked opponents in high-profile matchups, Minnesota tries to get back to its winning ways at Michigan, and a much of weird-talking guidos fight for a piece of hardwood outside Newark International Airport.

If you want football—or to name the mascots of teams like Merrimack and NJIT (no peeking below, there are rules)—we’ve got DWT;WT for you:

Otherwise, march on:

Saturday, December 11

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Auburn Tigers

10:30am | ESPN2 | Aub -13.5 | O/U 149.5
Holiday Hoopsgiving (State Farm Arena, Atlanta)

BoilerUp89: Why is this a neutral site game? What Nebraska or Auburn fans are traveling for basketball?

MaximumSam: Auburn has no chance after Bruce Pearl was suspended for two games for Chuck Person getting arrested in 2017.

Oh, did that sentence make no sense? The NCAA, ladies and gentlemen.

Jesse Collins: Where do you even begin with this game? From a strict basketball perspective, Auburn is so much better than Nebraska that it’s not even really that funny. Traveling to play a ranked opponent at an away-more-than-neutral site is less than ideal to say the least.

However, to complicate things, it’s likely Nebraska can barely field a healthy team due to a flu breakout.

For every reason, Nebraska should probably get blown out. And while I am hopeful that the distraction of a measly two game suspension for Coach Pearl and some apparent lingering flu-like symptoms for the Tigers might give Nebraska hope, I’m just gonna watch for Keisei. Because he’s still just the best.

Poll

This is a...basketball game?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    UNL
    (2 votes)
  • 80%
    Auburn
    (8 votes)
10 votes total Vote Now

#22 Wisconsin Badgers at #21 Ohio State Buckeyes

11am | BTN | OSU -4 | O/U 135.5

MaximumSam: Another game, another big time wing to roast the Buckeyes. With Justice Sueing still out, the Buckeyes welcome Johnny Davis and the Badgers to Columbus. I’m not sure that the Buckeyes have anyone who can check Davis, though we might see a bit more of Eugene Brown to give it a shot.

Wisconsin has been led by Davis, but has also gotten very strong performances from a steady Brad Davison, who seems due for a good groin shot, as well as big man Tyler Wahl. Buckeye Kyle Young looks to continue his great super senior season. The man, who in his last four years hardly ever shot the ball from farther than one foot away, is slashing at 69/53/85. He’s a damned Christmas miracle.

Kind of...: This is a pure “house money” game for the Badgers. Having already banked several resume-enhancing non-conference wins, and fresh off a comeback from a 22-point deficit against Indiana, a loss @ OSU would do little to spoil the good feelings around this team. And a win, well, yeah, that would be nice. E.J. Liddell is currently #1 in the KenPom POY race so have fun Tyler Wahl. And perhaps I’m over-influenced by the Duke game, but Zed Key will also require plenty of attention. UW’s interior defense has improved, but it’s still a likely cause of anxiety against good front lines.

On the offensive side, Johnny Davis should get his. But part of the reason UW found themselves in a big hole against Indiana was because the offense was stagnant for almost the entire first half. It IS conference season now, and this is a young team. There are still going to be plenty of painful “learning moments.” They’re NOT beating OSU without a second player reaching double digits in scoring. If Chucky Hepburn wants to tap into what he showed against Marquette, that would certainly be welcome.

Poll

Go meteor!

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    The school that gave us Aaron Craft
    (8 votes)
  • 42%
    The school that gave us Brad Davison
    (6 votes)
14 votes total Vote Now

Penn State Nittany Lions at #19 Michigan State Spartans

1pm | BTN | MSU -10.5 | O/U 130.5

misdreavus79: Do I have to preview this game? No reasonable person should expect Penn State to stay within 20 of Michigan State in this game. The Spartans appear to be firing on all cylinders at this point, and they’re playing at Breslin, a place where Penn State rarely wins.

The Lions are still two people short of a full bench. Both Greg Lee and Jevonnie Scott are working their way up to game shape, so it’s unlikely they make their return in this game. That’s especially true for Lee, who’s coming off an injury.

Penn State still is in love with turning the ball over, and at least two of their four losses are a direct result of turning the ball over with a lead, in back-to-back-to-back possessions, and seeing their lead evaporate as a result. They also love committing fouls, so an already short bench gets to dangerous levels quite quickly, quite fast.

All that said, Michigan State is one of the few teams in the country to both turn the ball over at a higher rate than Penn State, and commit fouls at a rate similar to the Lions. That should at least make it interesting for the first 10 minutes of the game.

Green Akers: I like where most of the gauges are pointing for MSU at this point. Good offensive balance, as strong on defense as they’ve ever been, and now they get an opponent with a similar turnover profile (coughs it up a lot and doesn’t force many themselves), but with considerably less talent.

I don’t take any Big Ten game for granted - ask Purdue how that goes - but this should be a drama-free win.

Poll

PEW PEW PEW

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    MSU by 11+
    (39 votes)
  • 13%
    MSU by 10 or less
    (7 votes)
  • 9%
    Penn State
    (5 votes)
51 votes total Vote Now

#11 Arizona Wildcats at Illinois Fighting Illini

4pm | FOX | EVEN | 152.5

He was a high school quarterback: Look, if Illinois is competitive against Arizona and looks prepared, I’m going to be unhappy.

I don’t care if we lose to Arizona.

Every moment of practice should be devoted to preparing to embarrass mizzou.

Brad, if you are reading this, stop reading this and go prepare for missouri. I’m trying really hard to like you as a coach, but so help me God if we show up AND SLEEPWALK THRU ANOTHER BRAGGIN’ RIGHTS GAME, I’M GOING TO BE MAD AND SAY BAD THINGZ ABOUT YOU ON THE INTERNET!

They’re terrible. It shouldn’t be that hard. Beat missouri. Please.

Poll

sure this too

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    arizona
    (14 votes)
  • 53%
    illinois
    (16 votes)
30 votes total Vote Now

Minnesota Gophers at Michigan Wolverines

5:30pm | FS1 | Mich -14 | 134.5

WSR: I dunno. We’re probably gonna lose but look really tough and gritty and determined in the process. Go Gophers and stuff.

Poll

JUG

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Michigan by 14 or more
    (8 votes)
  • 45%
    Michigan by 13 or less
    (16 votes)
  • 31%
    Minnesota
    (11 votes)
35 votes total Vote Now

December 12

Merrimack Warriors at Indiana Hoosiers

11am | BTN | IU -10 | O/U 124.5

Poll

a pick

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    merrimack
    (8 votes)
  • 24%
    indiana by a little bit
    (9 votes)
  • 54%
    indiana by a lotta bit
    (20 votes)
37 votes total Vote Now

#1 for now Purdue Boilermakers vs. NC State Wolfpack

1pm | BTN | PU -14.5 | O/U 143
Hall of Fame Invitational (Brooklyn, NY)

BoilerUp89: Purdue will once again try to get their first win as an AP ranked #1 team as they face off against the Wolfpack. Under Painter, Purdue has often lost multiple games in a row in the past. I don’t think that will happen here as the team should be focused and will have plenty of time to prep and stew over the Rutgers game.

NC State is a poor 3 point shooting team and doesn’t get very many assists. The things they do well are getting to the free throw line and not turning the ball over. Younger brother of former Purdue center Emmanuel Dowuona - Ebenezer - plays for the Wolfpack and while he’s been pretty effective, NC State isn’t running many plays for him. Dereon Seabron takes a lot of shots for NC State but can’t hit for 3 point range (1 of 14 on the year).

Poll

Who wins a Hall of Fame?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Purdue by a lot
    (36 votes)
  • 32%
    Purdue by a little bit
    (21 votes)
  • 12%
    Boilermakers run it to 0-2 as #1
    (8 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now

NJIT Highlanders at Northwestern Wildcats

3pm | ESPNU for some reason | NU -21.5 | O/U 133

MNW: NJIT is the kind of team that’s given Northwestern trouble in the past and couple again—they’ve got an adequate defense with a putrid offense that just lost 66-49 to Army.

Especially coming off Finals Week, it’d be great to see the ‘Cats start hot, Chase Audige to find his shooting stroke, and us to laugh this one off nice and easy.

Poll

does northwestern pull a michigan

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    nah, ‘cats by a lot
    (19 votes)
  • 31%
    they try! ‘cats by a little
    (15 votes)
  • 27%
    HIGHLANDERS!
    (13 votes)
47 votes total Vote Now

#20 Florida Gators vs. Maryland Terrapins

3:30pm | BTN | Florida -5 | O/U 133.5
Hall of Fame Invitational (Brooklyn, NY)

Poll

Huh, so this is a game?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Florida
    (36 votes)
  • 16%
    Maryland
    (7 votes)
43 votes total Vote Now

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at #23 Seton Hall Pirates

6:30pm | FS1 | Hall -9.5 | O/U 136.5
Garden State Hardwood Classic

Poll

For the Garden State Trophy?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    red swordguys
    (36 votes)
  • 51%
    blue pirates
    (38 votes)
74 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the weekend’s basketball. Behave yourself.