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BRAGGIN’ RIGHTS! and Other Big Ten Basketball Previews

Plus, ranking the best college sports nicknames in all of Illinois college athletics—how do the Prairie Stars and Blueboys stack up?

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Illinois
this trophy HAS to be compensating for something
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

More basketball to be played—not for Michigan, whose game against Fort Wayne last night was canceled, nor for Penn State and Rutgers, who won’t face Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut today and tomorrow due to COVID, but for the rest* of us?

*Offer does not apply to, like, half the conference who’s just off.

Anywho, some previews, thoughts, and dreams for the week:

Wait, weren’t some games JUST played?

Sure were! None of them were interesting. Here are the scores and things you may not have known about those men’s sporting contests:

Monday, December 20

#3 Purdue Boilermakers 79, Incarnate Word Cardinals 59

Purdue shot 32 threes, which feels like a lot, but I cannot be bothered to fact-check that. Also they pulled down 19 offensive rebounds, more than the 18 defensive rebounds UIW managed. We’ll see how Purdue’s “be tall” strategy plays out in the long run.

BoilerUp89: It turns out being tall is important for basketball. 32 threes is a little high, but a mostly reasonable number if you shoot the ball well and Purdue does at 40.4% on the year.

Trivia time: this game was close because a) Purdue missed free throws, b) poor perimeter defense, c) Purdue let off the gas pedal after going up 30, d) all of the above. Answer in the next recap if I remember I asked this which I won’t.

Northwestern Wildcats 90, Illinois-Springfield Prairie Stars 50

Everyone had a good time and no one got hurt. Also, UIS is somewhere around the Top 5 for “Best College Nicknames in Illinois”:
5. Lake Forest Foresters
4. Western Illinois Leathernecks
3. Illinois College Blueboys
2. UIS Prairie Stars
1. Knox Prairie Fire

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Tuesday, December 21

#11 Michigan State Spartans 90, Oakland Golden Grizzlies 78

The only highlight I saw from this game was Gabe Brown getting a putback dunk that was very clearly an offensive goaltend, and Good Sweater Wearer (though not last night) Greg Kampe losing his shit and getting a technical.

Green Akers: I opted for the over-the-wire broadcast and I have not been disappointed: the churlishly homer Oakland call that sounds like it’s on the other end of a paper cup and string is so much better than Spartan Radio Network.

Iowa Hawkeyes 93, SE Louisiana Lions 62

Of note: the Iowa women’s team lost to IUPUI, which is what we in the business refer to as a “bad loss”. I assume there was a Jon Rothstein tweet about this being March or something.

OK, get to the games played this week.

Gladly, though I could do without the attitude!

Wednesday, December 22

Minnesota Gophers vs. Green Bay Phoenix

4pm | BTN | Minn -17 | O/U 129.5

WSR: It’s this afternoon now (4 PM reschedule) and we should win. It’ll probably be ugly.

MNW: To remind the audience, that’s because War Criminal Bo Ryan’s son is now the head coach of the formerly fun Green Bay Phoenix.

Indiana Hoosiers vs. Northern Kentucky Norse

6pm | BTN | IU -17 | O/U 133

Slow and mediocre.

I’ll let you decide who that’s referring to here.

Buffkomodo: Me?

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Kennesaw State Owls

6:30pm | ESPNU | UNL -13.5 | O/U 148

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Missouri Tigers

8pm | BTN | Illinois -14 | O/U 139
Braggin’ Rights (St. Louis, MO)

He was a high school quarterback: If we lose to gawdamd shitshow missouri one more time, Imma gointo turn on Underwood so hard. I will say really bad things about him on the internet.

Thump: Missouri is absolutely terrible, and I really mean that this time. Liberty beat them 66-45. They put up 54 in a win against NIU. They’re 6-5 with a double digit loss to UMKC and a damn near 40 point loss to Kansas. Illinois should not need Curbelo to stomp these dudes. Mizzou fans have found a clause in cuonzo’s contract stating he can’t be fired without cause until next may. That’s how dire things are.

That being said, we need Aaron Rodgers level of petty rage today. So for that alone I’m hoping Andre Curbelo, who once stole the ball and scored a layup at the end of a blowout of northwestern, is finally ready.

If Curbelo plays? Let’s get 50 for Kofi.

Thursday, December 23

#24 Wisconsin Badgers vs. George Mason Patriots

6pm | BTN

Honestly, just...why the hell is wisconsin ranked again? Who let this happen?

Here’s your open thread for the week’s hoops. Be good to each one another.