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Conference Play Starts! (Plus a Rivalry!) Big Ten Basketball Weekend Previews

Is Iowa good? Can either of Rutgers or Illinois actually win? Who knows...

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a rousing—I said rousing, no need to look it up—victory in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, it’s time for more Big Ten basketball!

...oh god, it’s time for everyone to play each other.

Ed. note: about 55 minutes after we published this, Maryland announced it was parting ways immediately with HC Mark Turgeon. You can read our Maryland and other writers’ reactions here:

Friday, December 3

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Illinois Fighting Illini

6pm | ESPN2 | Illinois -7.5 | O/U 133.5

HWAHSQB: Illinois is bad until mid-January. Rutgers is bad when they aren’t playing in high school arenas. This should be fun.



I’m betting on the team with Kofi at home

RU in VA: I believe I had the SUNJ taking one of two in the Purdue/Illinois series. Could it be this one? Coming off a win versus Clemson, an ACC Division 1 opponent (for once!)? Are Harry and Marv that dumb to try and chase that same kid into a building?



This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Illinois by 8+
    (48 votes)
  • 22%
    Illinois wins, does not cover
    (17 votes)
  • 15%
    (12 votes)
77 votes total Vote Now

Iowa Hawkeyes at #2 Purdue Boilermakers

8pm | BTN | Purdue -11.5 | O/U 160.5

BoilerUp89: Purdue has been at war with Iowa since the dawn of time... wait a sec, you fine readers don’t need me to explain how Iowa is bad. You already know this.

On the court, these are the #1 and #2 scoring offenses in the country. Keegan Murray is a great player. Jordan Bohannon is a great shooter. Kris Murray has also been a tremendous 3rd option. Purdue will need to win the boards, prevent Bohannon and the Murrays from getting open looks at 3, and prevent Iowa from getting out in transition. If they don’t do these things, the Boilermakers are going to have to outshoot the Hawkeyes. Which is certainly possible - Purdue hasn’t had anything other than great shooting games so far - but best not to leave these things up to chance.

Iowa has zero players taller than 6’9” so how they defend Zach Edey or Trevion Williams is going to be an interesting question.

Stew: Straight up, this is a terrible matchup for Iowa. Iowa has absolutely no way to defend Purdue’s size on the defensive end. The only hope is to get them in a lot of foul trouble while on offense by pulling them away from the basket with our smaller lineup. It also doesn’t help that while slightly improved, Iowa’s perimeter defense is still pretty awful. And it turns out that will fall right into Purdue’s strength, so there just doesn’t appear any way for Iowa to get stops.

Fortunately, Iowa can score on just about anyone, and is still pretty good at drawing fouls. That really is Iowa’s only hope. That they get calls AT Mackey (LOLOLOL), get Purdue’s bigs in foul trouble, and are blazing hot from deep. Everything will have to go about perfectly, that’s it, that’s the chance.


Pick this ancient and historic rivalry:

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Purdue covers
    (95 votes)
  • 16%
    Purdue wins, does not cover
    (21 votes)
  • 9%
    (12 votes)
128 votes total Vote Now

Saturday, December 4

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Indiana Hoosiers

11am | BTN

Buffkomodo: 1st conference game back in the Hall with fans. It’s Nebrasketball. I don’t expect a loss here, even if there are turnovers galore. Nebraska is pretty bad.


good morning

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    (21 votes)
  • 72%
    (55 votes)
76 votes total Vote Now

Marquette Golden Eagles at #23 wisconsin badgers

11:30am | FOX

[*SIGH*] The annual exhibition where Wisconsin plays the biggest high school in the state. Much like when the reigning NFL champions would play the “College All Stars,” one team will be doing everything they can to win and the other will be trying to just stay healthy until the meaningful games start.

Whatever Wojo’s faults, he did go 4-3 vs. UW, so it’s a wonder Marquette didn’t give him a lifetime deal. Shaka Smart is from the state, so he understands the rivalry, and Marquette has shown plenty of life so far, with wins over Illinois, Ole Miss, and West Virginia. UW has plenty of experience with Darryl Morsell and Marquette doesn’t have the sort of inside size that could really both the Badgers.

Given UW’s early performance and the Kohl Center advantage, the Badgers should win, but the Warriors (whatever) are a live dog. No matter what happens, it won’t be able to compare to the excitement of seeing Markus Howard going 6-29 from the field. Those were the days. See you at Camp Randall next season, okay, Marquette fans? Make sure you don’t miss Mass this Christmas otherwise you might doubt you sense of superiority.

MNW: Don’t worry, we’ll never doubt our feeling of superiority.

I’m excited to watch the contrasts—particularly because Marquette’s been cutting down its foul rate in the last few games—but while the Eagles haven’t been too efficient in the transition offense, perhaps getting dragged into wisconsin’s preferred pace wouldn’t be the worst thing?

Either way, we’ll pray for you heathens.

Now let’s ring out a-goddamn-hoya.


*taps mic* fuck wisconsin

This poll is closed

  • 100%
    fuck wisconsin
    (79 votes)
79 votes total Vote Now

San Diego State Aztecs at #24 Michigan Wolverines

12pm | CBS

Hey look, it’s Brian Dutcher returning to Ann Arbor!



This poll is closed

  • 43%
    (26 votes)
  • 56%
    (34 votes)
60 votes total Vote Now

Toledo Rockets at #22 Michigan State Spartans

4pm | BTN

Green Akers: MSU is playing fairly well on both ends, with one glaring problem - horrible turnover problems, even relative to MSU’s usual fumbliness with the ball. Toledo has firepower in their starting lineup, especially in G Ryan Rollins, but they don’t run very deep, as only seven guys get real minutes.

If MSU corrals the free possessions they hand the Rockets, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. Can we keep the TOs under 15 in the last tuneup before the First Two?



This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Sparty rolls
    (39 votes)
  • 25%
    Sparty merely wins
    (15 votes)
  • 6%
    (4 votes)
58 votes total Vote Now

Sunday, December 5

Northwestern Wildcats at Maryland Terrapins

11am | BTN

MNW: The winning score in this game will be in the 50s unless Maryland suddenly learns how to shoot the 3—Northwestern will definitely allow the Terps some open looks from deep, because they’ll collapse on Qudus Wahab and give Pete Nance or Ryan Young the help they need inside.

I’m morbidly excited to see this battle of two walruses slapping up against each other. Can Northwestern put itself on a solidly NIT-bound road?

Probably not.

Edit, under 60 minutes from when this article was posted: Or, uh—

So there’s that.



This poll is closed

  • 61%
    (38 votes)
  • 38%
    (24 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now

Minnesota Gophers at Mississippi State Bulldogs

1pm | ESPNU


We’re going to lose.

MNW: If you thought Minnesota-Pitt was low-scoring...

...well, it’s going to be hard to out-do 54-53, but this one might not be far off. CLANGA’s got one of the better defenses in the country.



This poll is closed

  • 27%
    (18 votes)
  • 72%
    (47 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now

Ohio State Buckeyes at Penn State Nittany Lions

6:30pm | BTN

MaximumSam: The Jamari Wheeler game. Penn State’s transfers could actually form their own team and probably finish in the top half of the B1G. Wheeler has came to the Buckeyes with the reputation as a defensive stopper with no offense. He’s been fine defensively for Ohio State, if not particularly special. His offense has come around a bit - Chris Holtmann stressed to him the importance of shooting the ball if no one is guarding you. He has responded, shooting 53% from three.

We’ll see if he has something special for his old team.

misdreavus79: The formula for Ohio State is simple: Take care of the ball, and they stand a chance. Don’t take care of the ball, and they’re going to be eaten alive.

Oh, and of course they face former Penn State player Jamari Wheeler, who just happens to be very good at stealing the ball.

May the lord have mercy on our souls.


Who you got?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    (11 votes)
  • 81%
    (50 votes)
61 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the weekend’s hoops. As misdreavus says—may the Lord have mercy on your souls.