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NCAA Tournament: Friday Previews, Open Thread

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Can Rutgers or Wisconsin sneak into the Round of 32? Full previews for the Big Ten on Friday.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Ohio State vs Illinois Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve still got, like, two hours to listen to the Big Ten basketball-in-NCAA Tournament preview podcast and check out our range of March Madness chatter:

Oh, and to join the OTE NCAA Tournament Pick’em Challenge!

OK, we’ll preview the games now. Open thread below.

Big Ten in Action

[1] Illinois Fighting Illini vs. [16] Drexel Dragons

12:15pm | TBS | Illinois -22.5 | O/U 143.5
Midwest Region: Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Indianapolis

Poll

.

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    illini cover
    (18 votes)
  • 16%
    illini win, drexel covers
    (4 votes)
  • 8%
    DRAGONS
    (2 votes)
24 votes total Vote Now

[2] Ohio State Buckeyes vs. [15] Oral Bob’s House of Learning

2pm | CBS | OSU -16 | O/U 156.6
South Region: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette

MaximumSam: Oral Roberts has the old puncher’s chance in this game.

The top player in Bart Torvik dot com’s rankings is Luka Garza. The second? Max Abmas, the Oral Robert wunderkind who shoots nearly every shot and never comes out of the game. He is going to gun.

The team overall is 10th in the nation in three point percentage and first in free throw percentage (that’s good, by the way). OSU typically has a pretty good plan on defense, but they don’t have great defenders. If they can’t limit Abmas, it could be a long afternoon.

Poll

Pick’em:

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Nuts roll
    (10 votes)
  • 46%
    Nuts fail to cover Oral Bob
    (13 votes)
  • 17%
    Oral Bob sucks Nuts
    (5 votes)
28 votes total Vote Now

[9] Wisconsin Badgers vs. [8] North Carolina Tar Heels

6:10pm | CBS | UNC -1.5 | O/U 137.5
South Region: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette

Kind of...: Seriously, what is there to say? UW has trouble with larger people. UNC can send larger people to the glass in waves. “UW has a senior-laden roster. Sense of urgency. Gotta average out.” Blah, blah, blah.

The strongest argument for a UW win is the overall strength of the B1G.

Okay, maybe.

A win will feel like dessert when the entrée was bread and water. A loss will be sweet, sweet relief. Mackey Arena—UW’s personal house of horrors—is as good a place as any for this misbegotten season to breathe its last.

Whatever. Lady Badger hockey playing for a natty Sat night on ESPNU! Catch you on the flip side!!!

Poll

gross

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    red
    (28 votes)
  • 49%
    blue
    (27 votes)
55 votes total Vote Now

[4] Purdue Boilermakers vs. [13] North Texas Mean Green

6:25pm | TNT | Purdue -7.5 | O/U 126.5
South Region: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

BoilerBettor (4 beers into a 4-day weekend): If you want pretty basketball, look literally anywhere else. This game will be all kinds of ugly. To be completely honest, the total might be too high.

There's no reason Purdue should lose this game. Just make sure you pregame appropriately before tuning in.

Poll

Get on BoilerBettor’s level:

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Purdue covers
    (31 votes)
  • 33%
    Purdue wins, does not cover
    (19 votes)
  • 10%
    MEAN GREEN
    (6 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now

[10] Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. [7] Clemson Tigers

8:20pm | TBS | Rutgers -1.5 | O/U 125.5
Midwest Region: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

RU in VA: I can't believe RU has held their -1 and added another .5. I keep waiting for Vegas to watch their games and realize Clemson should be up a half dozen.

As we all know, there's two teams here. One that loses to Clemson by 3 - and one that wins by 16.

I feel like Geo Baker has a good game. He's been second on the marquee all year - and is due to drop 25 on someone.

Here is where I say something about fouls and Myles Johnson.

Poll

ick

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    red
    (52 votes)
  • 20%
    purpleorange
    (13 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now

Other Games We’re Excited For

[8] Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs. [9] Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

3pm | TBS | Loyola -5.5 | O/U 124.5
Midwest Region: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

MNW: I want to see future Northwestern coach Porter Moser lead the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers against the suddenly Moses Wright-less Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Can Cam Krutwig impose himself inside the way he did against Valley competition? I’ll sure watch and find out...

Sneaky Upset Picks?

MNW: Winthrop-over-Villanova is the sexy pick here, but the red-hot Oregon State Beavers taking on Tennessee Volunteers is a fun little talker. The Beavs are playing up the fact they were picked to finish 12th in the Pac-12—because they were supposed to be awful—and they offer a decently well-rounded test for the Vols.

RU in VA: I've got two for ya, Ohio over UVA, and Georgetown over Colorado. Ohio is trendy - but for good reason, UVA are a bunch of turds that wear Vineyard Vines outlet shirts and Sperrys.

Georgetown is hot... And as said above, the PAC is gross. I have no faith in Colorado anything.

Kind of...: Really bold, fellas. The heading says “sneaky” and you grab “sexy” Winthrop and “trendy” Ohio. [MNW note: I literally then chose Oregon State, you butthole!]

Let’s roll those dice. Arkansas likes to run; Colgate will oblige. Red Raider on Red Raider action for the 2nd round matchup with Texas Tech. And every year, some team that won their conference tournament and made a huge move up the seed line comes out flat—fatigued, perhaps—and gets sent packing. One of the last games of the weekend...on TruTV...in Lucas Oil...perfect time for Texas’s offense to sputter.

Abilene Christian takes down the Longhorns.


Here’s your open thread for the day’s basketball.