If you’re a team just entering the Big Ten Tournament today, your team probably hasn’t lived up to usually lofty expectations. If you’re a team who made it through to the second round, you (1) either want it to be over so your coach can be fired, or (2) don’t exist, because you are a Penn State basketball fan.
Basketball was played yesterday. Mostly women’s basketball. No men’s basketball to talk about, no sirree.
Recaps, some previews, the occasional thought below.
Seriously. A LOT of malaise. Read Hawkeye Elvis’s travel notes from Indianapolis...we’ll have his Day 2 updates shortly.
Recaps: March 10
Nebraska 72, Minnesota 61
Northwestern 67, Illinois 42
MNW: It was 38-8 at halftime. That’s about all you need to know.
Michigan State 75, Penn State 66
MNW: An Alyza Winston three turned a back-and-forth second half into a slow but steady Spartan victory as the stingy Spartan D forced 19 turnovers. I’m not plugged into the Penn State hoops world—then again, what Penn State fans are?—but it baffles me that Carolyn Kieger left Marquette to take this job unless there’s a story in Milwaukee that I missed.
Iowa 83, Purdue 72
On a night where Caitlin Clark didn’t turn in her best shooting performance of the year, Monica Czinano did. Clark’s 27 on 8/21 shooting played second fiddle for a change, with Czinano just absolutely, ridiculously dominant inside: 16/18 shooting for 38 points.
You’re reading that correctly: The two had 65 of Iowa’s 83 points. I’m sure this is sustainable.
Minnesota Golden Gophers 51, Northwestern Wildcats 46
MNW: Northwestern basketball, 2020-21 edition, died as it lived: Inept on offense for huge stretches of the game, blindly chucking shit at the basket, and refusing to get the ball into the post—hi, Ryan Young!—when it mattered.
INSTANT CLASSIC.— Andy Greder (@andygreder) March 11, 2021
Stat: The #Gophers-Northwestern men’s basketball game Wednesday in the Big Ten Tournament was the first Division I game in eight years where both teams shot under 45 percent on field goals, 3-pointers AND free throws, per @StatsBySTATS.
The 2017 NCAA Tournament is completely gone. It’s over, and it’s never coming back.
For some insight, in case you were wondering: With AD Jim Phillips taking off for the ACC commissioner job and now president Morton Shapiro announcing his retirement, there won’t be a new AD in office in time to make any substantive changes. As a friend reminded me via text tonight, this entire roster returns next year.
Maybe this all turns around in 2021-22. I certainly want it to. But I have no confidence in the Chris Collins regime to make a single goddamn change unless he gets in a band of players that are every bit the court-slapping nut he is.
You can put the gif in the comments. At least Northwestern was “good” in that game.
WSR: This is the game that we deserve when we put Northwestern in the B1G tournament, and Minnesota absolutely did their part. Let us never speak of this again.
Penn State Nittany Lions 72, Nebraska Cornhuskers 66
BRT: What a frustrating game. Jekyll and Hyde.
Jesse: BTN just got excited about playing all but 4 scheduled Big Ten games and well the Big Ten can fuck right off.
Previews: March 11
Big Ten Tournament Schedule (Men’s)
 Michigan State Spartans vs.  Maryland Terrapins
10:30am | BTN | MD -1 | O/U 130.5
Green Akers: Who the hell knows, man. The last matchup between these teams was in the midst of an unfathomable gauntlet for MSU, but they also looked flummoxed by Maryland’s small lineup. If the performance MSU got from Rocket Watts and Joey Hauser against Michigan is sustainable, MSU wins easily, but that feels like a stretch.
This poll is closed
 Minnesota vs.  Ohio State Buckeyes
1pm | BTN | OSU -11 | O/U 146
MaximumSam: Ohio State hasn’t beaten the Gophers since December of 2018. Minnesota whacked them earlier this season as the Buckeyes had no answers in guarding Liam Robbins or the perimeter, as Robbins went for 27 and the Gophers shot 40% from three. The teams went in opposite directions after that game, but color me suspicious until I see the Buckeyes playing something resembling defense. Of note, it looks unclear if Robbins or Gabe Kalscheur will suit up - both of them killed the Buckeyes in the last game.
WSR: Before the tournament, Pitino had said that Robbins should be back for this game and Kalscheur might be. If they are, hopefully the Gophers can keep it close. Make it end. Please.
A basketball game:
This poll is closed
 Indiana Hoosiers vs.  Rutgers Scarlet Knights
5:30pm | BTN | Rutgers -3 | O/U 131
Candystripes: The only reason to tune into this game is to see what very well might be Archie Miller’s last game as Indiana head coach. Should the Hoosiers happen to win tonight, just copy and paste this section for the rest of the week.
Actually, if you want to watch good Indiana basketball, check on the women’s team instead.
RU in VA: I’m looking forward to this one because the stats are on our side.
“According to STATS LLC., there have been 981 similar matchups across Division I college basketball over the past 10 seasons. The teams entering the third game 2-0 are a combined 710-271 (.724 winning percentage) in the third meeting.”
And I think the league knows Indiana’s plays. This should be interesting.
Ah, the storied CQ/OTB rivalry:
This poll is closed
I’d rather watch this as a women’s basketball game
 Penn State vs.  Wisconsin Badgers
8pm | BTN | wisc -5 | O/U 134.5
Beez: There’s not much reason to expect Wisconsin to win at this point, other than a decent-ish showing in a loss at Iowa recently and the fun fact that they’ve faired perfectly fine against teams below them in the standings. I will not be the least bit surprised if they lose here, nor if they win the following game. Anything more than that is a pipe dream. My prediction? TBD wins easily.
This poll is closed
Big Ten Tournament Schedule (Women’s)
 Northwestern vs.  #13 Michigan Wolverines
12pm | FS2
MNW: The Wolverines have been the Wildcats’ kryptonite in 2021—we’ll see if getting the ball rolling against an understaffed Illinois can help Lindsey Pulliam and Veronica Burton find their stroke against the Wolverines.
 Nebraska vs.  #7 Maryland
10am | FS2
DJ Carver: MD gonna win. Thoughts over :)
Actually interested to see if someone can replicate the NW defensive effort against MD to slow them down. Holding the top scoring team in the nation under 60 or whatever was impressive.
 Michigan State vs.  #9 Indiana
5:30pm | FS2
Candystripes: I’m just happy IU Women’s Basketball is having a great season. They’ve been building to this for a while now.
Green Akers: About all I know about MSU’s team these days is Nia Clouden’s really good and the team is really middle of the road.
 Iowa vs.  #19 Rutgers
7:30pm | FS2
RU in VA: Adding Diamond Johnson to the squad this year has been devastating. 11th in NET, with a fourth best offensive efficiency in the NCAA.
The first matchup was an L for the Knights - much due to a slow start and a 16 point hole leaving the first Quarter.
If the total on this game is down in the 120-130 range, the Knights should win it, with their aggressive and physical defense clamping down on Caitlin Clark’s passing lanes and forcing the non-Clark, non-Czinano Hawkeyes to beat them. But if Czinano can get position inside on Rutgers big Tyia Singleton, we could see the Hawks move up a line in NCAA bracketology.
Every game matters right now, obviously, but with Rutgers trying to move up a line or two and overcome the hit their seed will take from the program’s COVID pause, a deep run in the Big Ten Tournament is a must.
Stew: Yeah, with Iowa it’s all about the duo of Czinano and Clark. There’s some help around, but those 2 drive the team.
Here’s your thread for the day!