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Big Ten Basketball Previews: So...how are YOU doing?

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Sure, there’s a Top 10 matchup...but are things good with YOU?

Oregon v Wisconsin Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

I asked our writers to preview the week’s games, of course, but man, it’s been...well, it’s been a fucking year.

So tell us, in the previews or in the comments: Things OK? You doing alright?

Tuesday, February 23

{WBB} Iowa at #8 Maryland

12pm | BTN

#5 Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan State Spartans

6pm | FS1 | Illinois -7 | O/U 145.5

Green Akers: I’d say to tonight’s truck-sticking should be the final plug pulled on MSU’s tournament hopes, but there’s still 3 more games against top-5 opponents left. I’d also say if MSU can match their level of play from the last 30 minutes against Indiana over the rest of the year, they might still pull this off, but with their inconsistency, that’s an unreasonable expectation.

Project Finish Decorating The Living Room might get some additional time-resources tonight.

Thumpasaurus: Andrew and I have yet to watch any type of contest between Illinois and Michigan State while in the same room. This dynamic has been successful so far. I just, he’s cute and I like him but I value our friendship so much that I don’t want to risk losing that by taking things to the next level, you know?

I do however agree with him that Michigan State could pull this off. To an almost Pittsburgh Steelers-like degree, Illinois has shown an alarming tendency to lose focus against unranked opponents. I understand that it’s difficult to show up at 100% night after night, and I’m not asking for that, but in the game against Nebraska there was a moment where Ayo stretched the Illini lead to six with a highlight dunk and the rest of the team visibly hit cruise control, then gave up a 10-0 run.

Ayo bailed them out against Nebraska and Northwestern. Michigan State has more talent than those two. Complacency will get them burned here. They’re already behind the 8-ball in the standings because they lost to the worst Maryland team of the Big Ten era by miles. Let’s not bring that energy here.

Poll

Tell me who wins Illinois-Michigan State.

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Illinois.
    (24 votes)
  • 4%
    Michigan State.
    (3 votes)
  • 17%
    I’d rather not.
    (11 votes)
  • 39%
    I just hope both teams have a terrible time.
    (25 votes)
63 votes total Vote Now

Penn State Nittany Lions at Nebraska Cornhuskers

7pm | BTN | PSU -6 | O/U 142.5

BRT: I am more optimistic, because why not? (Looks at the world, realizes optimism is definitely unwarranted. Also hasn’t had coffee yet and took three tries to spell “optimism.”) I think the Huskers will beat Penn State. They’ve been playing decently the past few games, and that might be enough.

And, I’m doing surprisingly ok. Ten more weeks until summer. I cut out a new quilt for the first time in forever, and I got another cat! Her name is Agatha Kittie and she’s adorable.

Jesse Collins: I woke up on Saturday to sunshine and what would eventually turn into 70 degree weather. All signs of ice, and snow, and ice again had disappeared, and the only thing that belied the stupid storm that crippled texas were a bunch of broken trees. That said, I have power and water now, and while the situation for others needs to get better fast, the fact that it’s nice out helps.

Oh, and Nebraska plays two game this week again because sure, breaks are for losers.

Penn State will most likely exact revenge for what was a back-breaking loss towards their tournament hopes. Turns out losing at home to a bad team is no good.

Poll

Can Herbie do the double?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Sure!
    (13 votes)
  • 37%
    Nah!
    (20 votes)
  • 38%
    Tell me more about Agatha Kittie, BRT...
    (21 votes)
54 votes total Vote Now

Wednesday, February 24

Indiana Hoosiers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

7pm | BTN

Interested in writing about Rugster hopps? Drop me a line.

Poll

This is a game.

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Indeed it is.
    (25 votes)
  • 5%
    Indiana.
    (6 votes)
  • 36%
    Rutgers.
    (39 votes)
  • 35%
    No, it’s not.
    (38 votes)
108 votes total Vote Now

Thursday, February 25

#9 Iowa Hawkeyes at #3 Michigan Wolverines

6pm | ESPN

Stew: I have 3 small children in a global pandemic. I go no where. I see no one. I have no hobbies. I have no in person friends. I have no life. I get up, get kids ready for school. Work while also helping kids. Constantly feed kids. Entertain kids. Put kids to bed. Stare off into the distance until I’m too tired to go to bed.

Anyway, Iowa plays Michigan. Iowa will probably lose. Eat at Arby’s.

Brian: Michigan’s trip to Columbus over the weekend marked the beginning of a season-ending gauntlet that includes games against #4 Ohio State, #9 Iowa and #5 Illinois before a season-ending home-and-home against Michigan State (a team that won’t have any problem getting up for the Wolverines). Michigan has been sitting atop the conference standings virtually the entire season – but the Big Ten’s regular season championship will be determined over the next two weeks. That two-week period will also serve as a gauge of how good Michigan really is.

The Iowa match-up is especially compelling. To a certain extent, Michigan and Iowa operate similarly offensively: A dominant force down low surrounded by a slew of capable long-range bombers. True, Garza – the presumptive National Player of the Year – is more integral to Iowa’s offense than Dickinson (or any one player) is to Michigan’s, but there are similarities nonetheless. But that’s not to say the teams play identically.

The numbers tell you that Iowa’s offense has performed slightly better than Michigan’s offense has performed this season – but the Hawkeyes aren’t nearly the defensive team that Michigan is. Will the Wolverines be able to slow down the Hawkeye attack? Or will Garza keep the Michigan bigs in foul trouble all day while Joe Wieskamp and company rain down threes? If you’ll forgive the cliché, it’s the classic question of what will happen when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

Really looking forward to seeing how the game plays out.

RockyMtnBlue: Iowa. So at last we meet for the first time for the last time*.

We know they won’t call fouls on Luka Garza, so this game will come down to how many fouls they call on Hunter Dickinson. If the zebras let them play they’ll beat the hell out of each other and it’ll be Iowa’s superior 3pt shooting against Michigan’s superior overall defense. That might be fun to watch.

If they put Dickinson on the bench it won’t be fun to watch at all.
*for certain values of ‘last’

Poll

Victorious yellow will be accompanied by

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Whatever color Luka Garza deems as our secondary color; Garza be praised
    (54 votes)
  • 55%
    Actually it’s not "yellow"—
    (66 votes)
120 votes total Vote Now

Nebraska at #5 Illinois

6pm | BTN

BRT: Decent won’t be enough against Illinois, however. The last game between these two was super exciting, but it also should have shaken Illinois out of whatever complacency they were indulging in last time. I don’t expect this one to be especially close.

Jesse: As for Illinois, I expect them to also exact some revenge, but even if the Cornhuskers do have something left in the tank, it will fall apart late because this continues to be dumb.

Thumpasaurus: Holy shit, two weekday games in the early slot? Wow. Anyway, it’d be pretty embarrassing to drop this one ahead of next Tuesday’s showdown with the elusive-but-not-elusive-enough Wolverines, so I won’t rule it out.

Thumpasaurus (2/24/21): If Nebraska wants to steal one here, they’ll simply foul Illinois on every trip down the floor before they can get a shot up and watch them shoot 40% from the line.

Poll

Uh, so...

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Illinois rolls, no matter what the line—I’m pretty confident here
    (56 votes)
  • 9%
    Another nail-biter, but Illini prevail
    (10 votes)
  • 11%
    HUSKERS BREAK THROUGH
    (12 votes)
  • 22%
    I just hope both teams have a good time.
    (23 votes)
101 votes total Vote Now

#4 Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State

8pm | ESPN

MaximumSam: Ah, coming off an exciting but disappointing game with Michigan, we get another huge game against Iowa. Can OSU put a limit on Garza again? Can...*furious whispers from the back*

I’m sorry. It appears the next game is actually against Michigan State. On the road, with the always wonderful 9 pm tip. Against a Sparty team in desperation mode and who has a shot at an at large big with a few more wins. Surely, nothing could go wrong there.

This might be a battle of attrition. OSU is a bit banged up, as Musa Jallow missed the Michigan game, and Seth Towns, E.J. Liddell, and Kyle Young have all looked gimpy at times. Michigan State is squeezing in six games in two weeks, and are already mentioned earlier in this article because they play Illinois tonight. I’m expecting a grind.

Edit: Ah so Sparty whipped the Illini. What could go wrong? Nothing, I’m sure.

Poll

Pick:

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Brutus
    (69 votes)
  • 30%
    Sparty
    (30 votes)
99 votes total Vote Now

Northwestern Wildcats at Minnesota Golden Gophers

8pm | BTN

MNW: I will be teaching in another state and another time zone on Thursday. There’s a fair chance I make it back to my lodging in time for this, but I might just pass out instead of subjecting myself to it.

I have no confidence in Northwestern, and even less confidence in Northwestern against a Minnesota team playing at home and for its NCAA Tournament life.

So yeah. Things are decent, Northwestern is not!

Poll

.

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    cat
    (30 votes)
  • 71%
    squirrel
    (77 votes)
107 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your schedule and open thread for the week. Behave.