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Big Ten Basketball Weekend Recap: The Only Winning Move...

Ranked Gophers and Badgers tumble, woes continue for Sparty and Northwestern, plus an Ohio State-Northwestern ranked showdown in women’s hoops. Come talk B1G basketball!

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

We’re all here to laugh at Michigan State fans’ sudden utter lack of interest in basketball, right?

Feel free to “your team” me all you want in the comments.

Big Ten Basketball Recaps

tl;dr — to win in the big ten don’t play, never leave home, or just play northwestern

Saturday, January 30

Penn State Nittany Lions 81, #14 wisconsin badgers 71

MNW: Penn State took the wisconsin script and flipped it completely:

  • The badgers shot 25% (7/28) from deep
  • Penn State grabbed six steals and forced 12 badger turnovers (to 6 of their own!)
  • The foul disparity here was 21-to-10 in favor of Penn State!

That’s incredible to see.

Perhaps just as noteworthy was the play of Lions guards Myreon Jones and Izaiah Brockington. The junior duo combined for 38 points on 16/27 shooting (3/3 from deep for Jones), crashed the boards, and generally made the badgers defense look bad. Oh, and something called John Harrar scored 17 points and kept the badger bigs in trouble all night.

There are some issues here with wisconsin—Nate Reuvers bounced back with 18 points but has struggled, particularly on D, Micah Potter left something to be desired defensively, and D’Mitrik Trice couldn’t buy a bucket. On their most efficient night, wisconsin is still not to be truffled with. But the length and athleticism of Penn State caused them problems.

Purdue Boilermakers 81, #21 Minnesota Golden Gophers 62

From what I caught on radio: the Boilers harassed Marcus Carr into one of the worst games of his career, overcoming a 24-10 deficit and outscoring the Gophers 71-38 the rest of the way. That is, what we call in the Blog Business, “Good”.

Unless you’re a Minnesota fan. Then it’s bad.

But you knew that, especially given that the Gophers were on the road. All hail the Barn, I guess.

BoilerBettor: Pick your poison against this team. The offense struggled horribly and then something clicked. No Sasha, no problem.

Sunday, January 31

#13 Ohio State Buckeyes 79, Michigan State Spartans 62

Andrew K: I’ve never seen a bigger freshman-sophomore regression than Rocket Watts. He’s still playing decent defense, but it’s like he forgot how to handle the ball.

Man. Get your shots in, this MSU team is bad and not getting better.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 64, Northwestern Wildcats 56

MNW: Northwestern remains broken.

It’s frustrating as hell to watch empty possession after empty possession as Miller Kopp and the 6’10” Pete Nance struggle to create shots for themselves—it turns into Chase Audige putting his head down, playing hero-ball, and taking chirpy technicals. That’s to say nothing of F Robbie Beran, who is completely lost on offense and has been a defensive liability along with G Boo Buie, failing to do the basics like close down shooters with their hands up.

Not to say Audige’s “fuck you” attitude is not what this Northwestern team needs, which is a fucking spark from somewhere. Lately it’s been C Ryan Young—RY M C A to those in the know, on account of his old man game—who had 14 points off the bench and is a consistent ball-mover out of the post.

On the whole, though, this game was awful. Rutgers jumped out to a 31-11 lead, with a...vocal...bench and lots of energy from Geo Baker and Myles Johnson, though Northwestern clawed it back to 5 points by halftime. Lot of ebb and flow marred by terrible shooting (the ‘Cats were 4/20 from deep, Rutgers 5/22) and an obscene number of turnovers: 18 for the Knights, 20 for Northwestern. This was bad basketball, but the Rutgers clang-and-bang stymies the NU offense perfectly—force them to have playmakers who can shoot over or drive past a grabby physical defense, and watch the ‘Cats implode.

Basketball sucks.

thanks espn

With Illinois’s win over Iowa on Friday night—see that recap here, though know Stew is still whining REFFFFFFS—it’s somehow even MORE Michigan’s conference to lose, having lucked into single-plays with Illinois and Iowa, infuriatingly.

What’s on tonight?

Big Ten Women’s Basketball

#14 Ohio State at #23 Northwestern

7pm | BTN

The Buckeyes have back-to-back ranked wins, and big ones: 88-86 over #7 Maryland and 78-70 over #16 Indiana. ESPN’s Charlie Creme has gone so far as to declare the Buckeyes the best team in the Big Ten. Hungarian F Dorka Juhasz is an absolute force on the boards at 6’4” and will really frustrate an undersized Northwestern defense possibly without junior F Courtney Shaw.

Key for the ‘Cats here will be to use their junk defense to scramble OSU guards Madison Greene and Jacy Sheldon—the two combined for just 1/15 shooting and 5 turnovers against Indiana—and deny ball entry to Juhasz and Aaliyah Petty. They’ll need another productive shooting night out of Lindsey Pulliam, along with freshmen bigs Anna Morris (6’3”) and Paige Mott (6’1”) to keep Ohio State from setting up and going to town on the low block.


probably just pick who you like more, tbh

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Ohio State
    (7 votes)
  • 56%
    (9 votes)
16 votes total Vote Now

Other College Hoops

There are so few tonight that I can list them all here for you:

Austin Peay Governors at SIU Edwardsville Cougars

2pm | ESPN+ | APSU -6.5 | O/U 143

St. Francis (Brooklyn) Terriers at Long Island Sharks

4pm | NEC on the Run | LIU -4 | O/U 156.5

Bradley Braves at Indiana State Sycamores

4pm | ESPN3 | Bradley -2 | O/U 132.5

Illinois State Redbirds at #25 Drake Bulldogs

6pm | ESPN3 | Drake -19 | O/U 142.5

Drake, at 16-0, has finally reached the “I guess we gotta rank ‘em, right?” phase of mid-majordom. Welcome to UWGB transfer Shanquan Hemphill, the fantastic guard play of Roman Penn, D.J. Wilkins, and Garrett Strutz, and just enough wing and inside production from Tremell Murphy and Seton Hall transfer Darnell Brodie to make it work.

The Bulldogs barely survived the Redbirds in overtime yesterday; coming off a COVID outbreak they’re playing condensed scheduled here on out, so we’ll see if they can do enough to run the undefeated record into a weekend trip to Valparaiso.

Murray State Racers at Southeast Missouri State Redhawks

6pm | ESPN+ | Murray -7.5 | O/U 135

East Tennessee State Buccaneers at Wofford Terriers

6pm | ESPN+ | Wofford -1.5 | O/U 134.5

Probably the game of the night in terms of competitiveness. Both of these SoCon teams can slow it down and grind it out.

Valparaiso Crusaders at Evansville Purple Aces

6pm | ESPN3 | UE -2 | O/U 126.5

Duke Blue Devils at Miami Hurricanes

6pm | ESPN | Duke -11 | O/U 136.5

How many years has Jim Larrinaga been at Miami now?! Good God.

UCF Knights at Memphis Tigers

7pm | ESPN+ | Memphis -9 | O/U 134

Loyola-Chicago Ramblers at Missouri State Bears

7pm | ESPN+ | Loyola -8 | O/U 135.5


Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions at Jackson State Tigers

7:30pm | JSSN | JSU -11.5 | O/U 136.5

Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at Grambling Tigers

7:30pm | GSU | Grambling -25.5 | O/U 140.5

Alabama A&M Bulldogs at Texas Southern Tigers

7:30pm | YouTube | TXSo -9 | O/U 144

Been a rough go for the Golden Lions (KP 353), who we last saw barnstorming the Midwest and who have their two conference wins over KP #351 Alabama State and KP #357 Mississippi Valley State.

We don’t know a ton about JSU yet; during a COVID outbreak, they missed games against Texas Southern and just plain Southern, who with Prairie View A&M are the class of the SWAC.

The Delta Devils, on the other hand, have just two losses—to SWAC also-rans Alabama State and Alcorn State—by less than 13 points. They just lost to SWAC frontrunners PVAMU by a final of 77-31, and at Jackson State 106-56. I don’t know how they do it; I wouldn’t have the pride to keep showing up for that.

#9 Oklahoma Sooners at #13 Texas Tech Red Raiders

8pm | ESPN | TTU -7.5 | O/U 134.5

Oh, you wanted good basketball? Here you go. Enjoy Texas Tech’s wrestleball.

Mac McClung is fun, though.

South Carolina State Bulldogs at North Carolina Central Eagles

8pm | ESPN2 | NCCU -17.5 | O/U 139.5

Actually screw that we’re watching this.

You might be saying, “But MNW, SCSU is 0-13 and 355th in Kenpom, only above Mississippi Valley State and Chicago State—the latter of whom quit the season!”

I would say “Stop using ‘latter’ in a sentence unless you’re talking about Mormons, and stop whining about amazing basketball on TV.”

We have no idea what the Eagles are; at 2-3, they’re 2-3, with their only wins over NCCAA Carver College and, somehow, over Southern. They took a beating from Iowa but playing both Coastal Carolina and, unbelievably, North Carolina down to the wire. They’re 17.5-point favorites. So...they probably should win?

But if the Bulldogs push the tempo as is their wont, this could turn into a game with some runs and some excitement. Once OSU-NU is done, I’m on this.

Here’s your schedule and thread for the night. Laugh at MSU basketball below.