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Big Ten Basketball Midweek March of Malaise: Maryland, I guess? Maybe Rutgers?

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Rutgers tries to continue Iowa’s slump, wisconsin-Nebraska time change, and Northwestern WON’T lose 10 in a row again...right?

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Rutgers Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

It is currently -1 here. The high today is zero. Tomorrow I can look forward to a bright, sunshiny day of Zoom calls and a high of 3. By Friday the high will be -6.

All this is to say while we’ve recapped the weekend that was in Big Ten basketball, absent a real meaty bracketology update, I’ve got little else for you. Iowa is doing the thing where they collapse in February and Fran bristles at suggestions he oughta keep Luka Garza on the floor more, Illinois is being all talented and bullshit, and Ohio State is somehow the fourth-best team in the nation.

This sucks. Minus the Iowa thing.

Rather than, as I had assumed, getting a Monday off, instead there are games tonight. Here is a place to talk about said games.

Big Ten Basketball Schedule

Monday, February 8

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

7pm | BTN | Minn -10.5 | O/U 148.5

UNL: 4-9 (0-6 B1G), KP 123
Minn: 11-7 (4-7 B1G), KP 42

This one’s at the Barn, I doubt the Huskers will show any defensive resistance to Marcus Carr, and when he gets into the lane, it’s Liam Robbins time.

Poll

Creatures of the Plains

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Goldy covers
    (14 votes)
  • 19%
    Goldy wins, Herbie covers
    (4 votes)
  • 14%
    HERBIE CATCHES THAT DADGUM VARMINT
    (3 votes)
21 votes total Vote Now

#4 Ohio State Buckeyes at Maryland Terrapins

8pm | FS1 | OSU -3 | O/U 138

OSU: 15-4 (9-4 B1G), KP 8
MD: 10-9 (4-8 B1G), KP 44

Normally I’d look at what Penn State did to Maryland and assume that a defense like Ohio State’s would have no problem with the Terps. But crazier things have happened, and with the Buckeyes’ big game really being limited to Zed Key as a true big...maybe Donta Scott can handle EJ Liddell and the Buckeyes’ length? If Justin Ahrens and Justice Sueing are shooting efficiently, though, this one’s either a shootout with Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins, and Darryl Morsell, or it’s over quick.

Vegas is hedging here with that 3-point line. Interesting to see if the Terps can keep that magic against ranked teams going.

Poll

Pick:

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Nut
    (14 votes)
  • 36%
    Turtle
    (8 votes)
22 votes total Vote Now

Tuesday, February 9

Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan State Spartans

6pm | ESPN2

PSU: 7-8 (4-7 B1G), KP 30
MSU: 9-7 (3-7 B1G), KP 62

Not even gonna feign interest.

Poll

PEW PEW PEW

This poll is closed

  • 100%
    LAZERZ
    (52 votes)
52 votes total Vote Now

Wednesday, February 10

{WBB} Penn State at #15 Indiana

2pm | BTN

{WBB} Illinois at Minnesota

6pm | BTN+

{WBB} #12 Ohio State at Wisconsin

6pm | BTN+

{WBB} Iowa at Nebraska

7pm | BTN+

Indiana Hoosiers at Northwestern Wildcats

4:30pm | BTN | IU -3.5 | O/U 138.5

IU: 10-8 (5-6 B1G), KP 25
NU: 6-10 (3-9 B1G), KP 72

When last these two teams met in the year 2020, widely regarded as a fun time for all involved, Chase Audige caught fire and the inside presence of Ryan Young quietly racked up 13 and 9 on Race Thompson and the Hoosier frontcourt.

It is the vastly inferior year of 2021, as we all know, and Indiana might now actually be good at basketball. Damn shame, that. IU has found a groove with the “just run things through Trayce Jackson-Davis” offense, while Thompson and guards Armaan Franklin and Aljami Durham have shown potential to contribute points.

...but if there’s any reason I’d tip Northwestern, it’s that the ‘Cats do, somehow, run deeper—if mediocre-r—with a lineup that, when they last saw IU, ran 9 deep, with 8 players playing double-digits.

Is that where Northwestern’s at now? No. Boo Buie is riding the pine for greater stretches, Ty Berry still looks cowed by the pace of the Big Ten, and Ryan Greer...is a backup point guard on a good day. Maybe Northwestern uses this opportunity to rediscover the pace and depth that rattled off three Big Ten wins and saw them briefly ranked. I doubt it, but we can believe.

Poll

Remember the ‘60s?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Cocaine Willie
    (15 votes)
  • 37%
    Bison the Bison
    (9 votes)
24 votes total Vote Now

#25 Rutgers Scarlet Knights at #15 Iowa Hawkeyes

6:30pm | BTN | Iowa -6.5 | O/U 151

RU: 11-6 (7-6 B1G), KP 24
IA: 13-6 (7-5 B1G), KP 5

When these two teams met in early January, Iowa actually prevailed in a close contest rather than choking, with 25 points from Luka Garza and a breakout 14 and 9 from Keegan Murray pacing the Hawkeyes.

We’ve moved to February, though, and we’ll see if the ol’ clang-and-bang can stymie the Iowa offense now that the refs are TOTALLY not calling fouls committed against Garza because they’re MEAN and HATE IOWA. (Honestly, though, physical game helps the Knights. Myles Johnson had a double-double in the last outing, and he’s a fun matchup against the Offensive Player of the Year.)

I dunno. We’ll see. Beyond the bad and clearly biased refereeing, one thing that stood out from the Iowa-Indiana tilt was just how bad the Hawks are closing down shooters and understanding their rotations on defense. Against a Rutgers team where any of Jacob Young, Ron Harper Jr., Geo Baker, and Montez Mathis—to say nothing of Paul fucking Mulcahy—will pull the trigger from deep, this has the makings...

Poll

A reminder that these two football teams are somehow "power-matched" for the next five years.

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Iowa
    (24 votes)
  • 76%
    Rutgers
    (78 votes)
102 votes total Vote Now

#21 Wisconsin Badgers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

8:30pm | BTN | wisc -11 | O/U 137.5

uw: 14-6 (8-5 B1G), KP 11
UNL: TBD

Nah.

Poll

pick your red

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    red
    (25 votes)
  • 47%
    no the other red
    (23 votes)
48 votes total Vote Now

Thursday, February 11

{WBB} Rutgers at #21 Northwestern

3pm | BTN

{WBB} #12 Michigan at Purdue

5pm | BTN

#24 Purdue Boilermakers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

7pm | BTN

PU: 13-7 (8-5 B1G), KP 22
Minn: TBD

Sit in awe, once again of this stunning social commentary:

Otherwise I don’t know, man. Something called Brandon Newman torched the Gophers for 29 in West Lafayette a couple weeks ago, and Trevion Williams bullied Liam Robbins en route to a double-double.

Seriously, what even IS a Mason Gillis? Fuck it is infuriating that Purdue gets these nobody stiffs in there and Chris Collins can’t tell a four-star from a fucking hole in the ground.

Jaden Ivey scored 7 points in 18 minutes and Purdue won going away. Goddamnit I hate basketball.

Poll

gopher train

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    gopher
    (15 votes)
  • 43%
    train
    (29 votes)
  • 34%
    what ho, the five-million dollar loan of 1857! how droll!
    (23 votes)
67 votes total Vote Now

Other Sports of Note

Updated for games on 2/10.

Wednesday, February 10

Non-Big Ten College Basketball

Furman Paladins at UNC Greensboro Spartans

4pm | ESPNU | UNCG -1 | O/U 143.5

Northern Iowa Panthers at Drake Bulldogs

6pm | CBSSN | Drake -9.5 | O/U 143.5

Right the ship, boys!

Pair of SoCon games that run at a decent pace and feature some teams that will be in the hunt for a conference title, too:

East Tennessee State Buccaneers at The Citadel Bulldogs

6pm | ESPN+ | ETSU -7.5 | O/U 153.5

VMI Keydets at Western Carolina Catamounts

6pm | ESPN+ | WCU -2 | O/U 154.5

Rhode Island Rams at Saint Louis Billikens

8pm | CBSSN | SLU -8.5 | O/U 137.5

Whether you’re a jilted Maryland fan wanting to keep up on the Mitchell twins or a Minnesota fan hoping the Billikens can bolster your resume, there’s something in this game for all three of you.

San Jose State Spartans at San Diego State Aztecs

10pm | CBSSN | SDSU -29.5 | O/U 144.5

Do not watch this game unless you are a sadist.

Soccer

{FA Cup} Sheffield United vs. Bristol City [1:30pm, ESPN+]
{FA Cup} Leicester City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion [1:30pm, ESPN+]
{Coppa Italia} Atalanta vs. Napoli [1:45pm, ESPN+]
{Coupe de France} Caen vs. Paris-Saint Germain [2pm, beIN]
{Scottish Premiership} St. Mirren vs. Celtic [2pm, ESPN+]
{FA Cup} Everton vs. Tottenham Hotspur [2:15pm, ESPN+]

Tennis

Probably some good stuff in the Aussie Open, too. ESPN2 for whip-around and the ESPN app for all the courts on the Plus. I’ve got my eye on a couple:

  • 6pm: #11 Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs. Svetlanta Kuznetsova (RUS) — holy shit Sveta is still playing I thought she retired years ago
  • 8pm: #1 Ashleigh Barty (AUS) vs. Daria Gavrilova (AUS)
  • 10pm: #5 Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)

Old previews follow. Skip to the bottom for the full schedule and the open thread.

Monday, February 8

Tuesday, February 9
South Alabama Jaguars at Georgia State Panthers

1pm | ESPN+ | GASt -5.5 | O/U 144

VCU Rams at Dayton Flyers

4pm | CBSSN | VCU -1.5 | O/U 132.5

In a topsy-turvy A-10 because of COVID, Dayton is technically off the pace at 7-4, behind 4-2 Richmond and a trio of VCU, Davidson, and UMass all at 6-2. But they’re all technically chasing...

La Salle Explorers at St. Bonaventure Bonnies

5pm | ESPN+ | SB -13 | O/U 136.5

The Bonnies?! Apparently St. Bonaventure was a pretty consensus mid-to-top tier team in the A-10 heading into 2020-21, and at 7-2 they lead the back.

Kent State Golden Flashes at Bowling Green Falcons

6pm | CBSSN | BGSU -1 | O/U 157

#14 West Virginia Mountaineers at #7 Texas Tech Red Raiders

8pm | ESPN | TTU -6 | O/U 140

I find it low-key fascinating that a player like Mac McClung is willing to buy into the aesthetically cancerous basketball that is Chris Beard’s grab-and-hold “no middle” defense. (Here’s a great read on how that differs from the pack line.)

Meanwhile Press Virginia just keeps doing Huggybear’s things, with Derek Culver averaging a double-double inside and Miles McBride active as get-all in the press and half-court.

Could be a fun up-and-down affair, could be a defensive struggle, but it’s two Top 15 teams I don’t actually mind seeing be good—correct assessment of how awful Beard’s defense is aside.

#19 Creighton Bluejays at Georgetown Hoyas

8pm | CBSSN | Creighton -7.5 | O/U 150.5

Is Georgetown great again yet?

New Mexico Lobos at Colorado State Rams

10pm | FS1 | CSU -17 | O/U 133.5

Only because it’s the last game of the evening. Holy moly has Paul Weir’s squad fallen off a cliff after some real chemistry issues in 2020, and it’s been an ugly 2021.

Meanwhile here’s Niko Medved’s Colorado State, just a loss behind Utah State and a win ahead of Boise State in a fearsome 1-2-3 at the top of the Mountain West charts. Swingman—from Minneapolis, he said with a smirk—David Roddy is nearly on a double-double a game, pulling down 9+ boards to go with 16 ppg, while guards Isaiah Stevens and Kendle Moore can shoot the lights outta the damn gym. It’s fast, fun, defensively solid ball in Fort Collins.

Monday, February 8

UNC Greensboro Spartans at Furman Paladins

4pm | ESPNU | Furman -4 | O/U 143.5

The G is the current consensus bracketology pick for the...SoCon? Let’s say SoCon. I ain’t looking this up. Furman’s usually decent. Try this one.

Dr. Loyola Greyhounds at Lafayette Leopards

6pm | ESPN+ | Laf -1.5 | O/U 142

I so desperately want former ‘Cat Tavaras Hardy to succeed at Dr. Loyola so he comes back to Evanston and we get back to playing real fucking basketball. God, can you imagine?

Coppin State Eagles at Norfolk State Spartans

6pm | ESPNU | NSU -6.5 | O/U 151.5

Let’s say...MEAC. Maybe these teams are good! Maybe not! All I know is it’s nice to learn about teams that aren’t unranked Kansas or Kentucky yet still dominate every. ESPN. broadcast.

You’ve had all season to find new talking points, guys.

Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at Alabama State Hornets

8pm | YouTube | ALSt -18.5 | O/U 142.5

Kenpom #357 (dead last) at #352. It’s like spoiled milk. You gotta take that whiff.

Jackson State Tigers at Southern Jaguars

8pm | ESPNU | Southern -2.5 | O/U 134.5

In actually-decent SWAC news, this one features the best of the rest—after Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern—in what should be a fast, if sloppy, game. Neither is great on offense, but again, learn something about some new schools rather than watching Kansas-Oklahoma State on ESPN because it’s comfortable.

#1 Gonzaga Bulldogs at BYU Cougars

10pm | ESPN | Zaga -10.5 | O/U 155.5

JESUITS VS. MORMONS.

LATE-NIGHT GAME.

BEST REMAINING CHANCE TO UPSET GONZAGA, PROBABLY. (I’m not Kenpom, what do I know.)

Look, there ain’t much of a chance, but BYU puts up a quality fight and gets to have players 2-3 years older than most, so maybe they can derail Jaylen Suggs for a half and make it interesting. I’ll be up late grading through the ennui, and this’ll be on.

Other Sports

The Australian Open is on! Whether you’re an early bird who catches the last matches or a night owl who watches the Australian day begin, there’s lots of controversy (Nick Kyrgios for once being right and getting in a war of words with Novak Djokovic), local heroes catching fire for the home crowd (#113 Alexei Popyrin downing 15-seed David Goffin in a typically-Aussie fifth set or #21 Alex de Minaur downing trumpy asshole Tennys Sandgren), and new young guns like Canadian Denis Shapovalov or Cori Gauff trying to make more deep runs into tournaments.

Here are a few matches I’d tip to be good or interesting (all on the ESPN family of apps, with ESPN2 hosting whiparound coverage along with usually the biggest name in the field holding down their major coverage):

6pm: #8 Bianca Andreescu (CAN) vs. Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE)
8pm: #10 Serena Williams (USA) vs. Nina Stojanovic (SRB) — almost certainly the ESPN2 match
8pm: James Duckworth (AUS) vs. #20 Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)
9:30pm: Venus Williams (USA) vs. Sara Errani (ITA)
10pm: #1 Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Frances Tiafoe (USA) — my match of the day
12:30am: Reilly Opelka (USA) vs. #27 Taylor Fritz (USA) — which young gun collapses first?! STAY TUNED!
12:30am: #11 Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs. Bernard Tomic (AUS)

Soccer

Tuesday, February 9

{India} Bengaluru vs. ATK Mohun Bagan [8am, ESPN+]
{FA Cup} Burnley vs. AFC Bournemouth [11:30am, ESPN+]
{FA Cup} Manchester United vs. West Ham United [1:30pm, ESPN+]
{Coppa Italia} Juventus vs. Inter Milan [1:45pm, ESPN+]
{La Liga} Real Madrid vs. Getafe [2pm, beIN]

I hope Man U at least has the courtesy to just beat us in the run of play and not rely on Ole Fergie Time and a PK.

Who am I kidding, of course that’s how it’ll go.

Fuck Mike Dean.


Here’s your thread. Behave.