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Big Ten Basketball Midweek Previews: March 2-4

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Rutgers takes a big step back, Michigan and Iowa hope to secure high seeds. Previews, picks, and more:

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Lots to get to, including laughing at our newest OTE writer! Isn’t that why you keep coming back to this website?

Big Ten Recap

Nebraska Cornhuskers 72, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 51

Remember how we’ve been talking about Rutgers as a lead-pipe, stone-cold lock?

RU in VA: Not great, Bob.

Just pointing out, my prediction was extremely close. I said that NE would lead by 30 for 75% of the game - and I was real close. They just led by 30 for 100% of the game.

I think this is an outlier based on what I watched. Reminder - RU schwacked and embarrassed MSU by 30 earlier this year and Izzo didn’t sound the alarm.

What I saw that concerns me was coaching. For all the praise Pike gets, some of his coaching decisions are madd weird. Rutgers has athletic talent. That’s why they win. So running an offense that consists of 5 dribble hand offs and an ISO drive/crappy 3 point attempt sounds dumb, right? You got 40 minutes of that last night. Defense was even worse with a game plan of “let’s just hope they miss when they shoot the orange ball at the hoop thing.”

BigRedTwice: This has been the most fun Nebrasketball game I can remember in awhile.

Jesse Collins: So like, I get that Nebraska isn’t good but this talk of them being the worst P5 school (saw that on twitter) is plain wrong. We are ONE of the worst but there are definitely schools that we are better then. Like Iowa state.

Anyhow, I’m with BRT. That’s was fun. We won rebounding, we passed the ball, we defended, we shot the ball well... All in all a great game.

Green Akers: Iowa State, Boston College, Vanderbilt, possibly Cal

DJ: Wake Forest

Jesse: Yeah. Not sure what to make of the bottom of the PAC 12. I think we are better than the bottom feeders but they have better records.

Poll

Who had the best night?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Nebrasketball
    (47 votes)
  • 54%
    Actually, I think I did! Cooked myself a nice dinner, got a good night’s sleep...
    (56 votes)
103 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who had the worst night?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Rutgers
    (27 votes)
  • 28%
    Iowa State for being a trash-ass basketball team
    (32 votes)
  • 16%
    Pac-12 basketball, probably
    (18 votes)
  • 30%
    RU in VA, with his first awful OTE prediction just a week into the job
    (34 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now

Big Ten Previews

Tuesday, March 2

#4 Illinois Fighting Illini at #2 Michigan Wolverines

6pm | ESPN | Mich -8.5 | OU 146.5

RockyMtnBlue: Michigan’s magic number for a conference title (based on winning percentage) is 1. So it’s on. Last I heard Ayo Dosunmu is a game time decision. Judging by what Duane Washington was able to do, Ayo might score 50 if he plays.

Normally I never want Michigan to double the post, but Cockburn has exactly 2 assists this entire season and one of those was really a turnover that Illinois got to first. I’d be ok with doubling or even triple-teaming him in the post until he proves he’s will to pass it back out.

I’d like to point out that Little Brother has been a huge help here. They gave Illinois a critical, unexpected loss, and assaulted Illinois’ best player in the process. Thanks, MSU. You’re the best (and also thugs who should be jailed).

Poll

Game

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Illinois
    (25 votes)
  • 67%
    Michigan
    (53 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now

Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan State Spartans

7pm | BTN | MSU -3.5 | O/U 137.5

Poll

didnt we just do this

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    michigan state
    (35 votes)
  • 26%
    indiana
    (21 votes)
  • 29%
    no you’re having a fever dream
    (23 votes)
79 votes total Vote Now

#25 Wisconsin Badgers at #23 Purdue Boilermakers

8pm | ESPN2 | Purdue -1.5 (Is this for real?) | O/U 129

Kind of...: As I’ve noted in a comment previously, UW has an all-time 4-41 record at Mackey. Nobody cares about two teams who were sub-.500 in conference play in 1972, so let’s focus on the three more recent wins and see if there is any reason for hope tonight.

In 2005, UW had Devin Harris and [ed.—Kind of’s memory is shit.] was Elite Eight-bound while Purdue went 3-13 in B1G play, so not all that comparable. In both 2012 and 2014, UW came to West Lafayette on a three-game losing streak in B1G play. This year’s Badger squad has lost their last three games in conference play (not counting NW), so maybe, just maybe there’s hope?

Of course, Purdue’s 2014 team went 5-13 in conference, so only the 2012 game (Purdue went 22-13/10-8 in Robbie Hummel’s ninth and final season) is really close as far as comparisons go. And honestly, the 2021 Badgers (souring before your eyes) are more like the 2012 Boilers (a fine team who clearly understood their window had closed at the hands of VCU’s pressure defense the year before) than this year’s Boilers (a young, loose team playing with confidence and no pressure) are.

Unless UW just has one of those nights where everything falls, it’s going to be ugly. Do you have a minute to talk about college hockey (#5 men, #2 women)? Or volleyball (#1)?

BoilerBettor: I’m typing this up while listening to someone drone on about mission statements and the editor keeps crashing on me, so I’ll be brief.

This season could easily be turned into a pick your own adventure book. Tonight, I’ll pick Eric Hunter Jr. to go off for 20+ points while Trevion hits more free throws than his statistics indicate he should be able to. Boilers roll their way into securing a double-bye. I profit. Choo choo, bitches.

RockyMtnBlue: I’m new to this whole sports betting thing, but I’ve never seen an O/U this low. I’m sure that means this’ll be a great game to watch.

Poll

choose

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    the mascot so named because early lead miners would burrow into hills or something
    (16 votes)
  • 76%
    the train one
    (53 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now

Wednesday, March 3

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Penn State Nittany Lions

6pm | BTN

WSR: Do we really have to do this? Come on. I don’t want to.

You can’t make me watch this, either.

Poll

victory bell

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    the ones who break it
    (23 votes)
  • 64%
    the ones who don’t remember it’s a trophy
    (42 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now

Maryland Terrapins at Northwestern Wildcats

8pm | BTN

MNW: Sure would be great to send another team spiraling toward the wrong side of the bubble.

At this point, as a fan, it’s just Northwestern playing out the string—Maryland is hypothetically one of the teams we match up better with, and I would pound the ball inside to Ryan Young and get Pete Nance in that midrange area.

That means we will shoot 4/25 from deep and lose by 6.

larry31: rutger just lost by UNL by 20! So, nothing should be surprising.

That said, MD seems to have a bunch of players who have totally bought in with the defensive synergy and energy. They seem to actually believe that they win by playing really good defense, and they seem energized by it. Whereas, a lot of teams just seem ready for the season to end (MN, IU, rutger?)

Most college players play just good enough defense to stay on the court so they can score. This year’s MD team seems totally different than that. Gonna have to go with MD not going full rutger, and winning against NW.

I don’t care if it is by one point or 20. A win is a win in the B1G.

Poll

this, too, is a game

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    sure is!
    (13 votes)
  • 52%
    turtle
    (61 votes)
  • 7%
    cat
    (9 votes)
  • 28%
    no it’s not
    (33 votes)
116 votes total Vote Now

Thursday, March 4

Michigan State at #2 Michigan

6pm | ESPN | Mich -12 | O/U 140

RockyMtnBlue: The first of two in a row against Little Brother (maybe 3 from Michigan’s perspective if MSU finishes in the 8 or 9 slot). This game will suck. It will be ugly. It will be physical. I put the O/U on Injured Michigan Players at 1.5. And next game will be worse.

You know MSU is going to win at least one of these. If the universe has demonstrated anything it’s that its an uncaring bastard and has it out for me personally.

Poll

go

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    blue
    (55 votes)
  • 45%
    green
    (45 votes)
100 votes total Vote Now

Nebraska Cornhuskers at #5 Iowa Hawkeyes

8pm | BTN | Iowa -16.5 | O/U 152.5

BRT: Three in a row! Let's do it! Alright, probably not. It was fun to see the Huskers step up in the wake of Teddy Allen's departure, but Iowa is a little better than Rutgers. This feels like one where the Huskers try hard, but still lose by about 15.

Stew: Iowa plays UNL, and I’ll be damned if I’m not a bit concerned after last night. That being said, Iowa should be able to win this fairly comfortably, given UNL’s lack of talent, schedule compression, and general terribleness. It would be really, really nice to have a bit of a laugher, but I doubt we’ll get it.

Something I want to point out, though, is that Iowa’s defense has improved pretty dramatically over the last couple of weeks. From in the 130s to breaking into the top 60, according to KenPom.

Poll

corn

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    husked
    (16 votes)
  • 83%
    hawked
    (79 votes)
95 votes total Vote Now

Oh my goodness, all this basketball #content!

We’ve got some non-rev chatter coming for you later today, perhaps more bracketology soon, and keep checking out Atinat, KO...BNR, HWAHSQB, WSR, and the whole oddly-initialed wrestling gang’s amazing coverage of the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament:

Schedule’s below, and this is your open thread for the midweek’s basketball. Go nuts.