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Big Ten Basketball Sunday Schedule, Conference Tournament Guide, FCS Football Previews and Open Thread

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Lot of sports today. Lottttttt of sports today.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

We’re still processing some stuff.

There’s a lot going on in the world, sports-wise—we’ve got Big Ten Wrestling Championships starting TODAY (thread it here), a host of other non-revenue sports from indoor baseball in Minnesota to Big Ten softball in Florida, men’s and women’s hockey rolling along...it’s damn tough to keep up! And that’s BEFORE you remember that there are Big Ten basketball games, FCS football’s spring season, conference tournaments going on...

Looking at Big Ten bracketology and the state of the NCAA Tournament bubble heading into a frenzied weekend and week of conference championship tournaments, let’s remind ourselves of the stakes:

But here’s what you have in the weekend’s Big Ten basketball. MNW added some basketball schedule and FCS football notes at the bottom, too. It’s a weekend open thread. Go nuts.

Big Ten Basketball

Saturday, March 6

Rutgers at Minnesota

11am | FOX | Rutgers - 3.5 | OU 140.5

Dear God, why would anyone put this on national TV.

Poll

which of this is less appealing

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    rutgers-minnesota football on FOX
    (58 votes)
  • 39%
    rutgers-minnesota basketball on FOX
    (38 votes)
96 votes total Vote Now

Indiana at #23 Purdue

1pm | ESPN | Purdue -6.5 | OU 134.5

BoilerBettor: If anyone has any reason why Purdue shouldn’t win this game, please let me know because frankly—I got nothin’.

Painter simply owns Archie and with this being an opportunity for the Boilers to lock in the double-bye (and the 3-seed should Iowa lose), Trevion and company should have plenty of motivation. For once this season, I’m going to put some expectations on this game. Give me the Boilers by double-digits (and if they can bring me Archie’s soul, that’d be great).

Poll

one last win over archie?

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    congratties, boilerfan[XX]
    (67 votes)
  • 4%
    revenge of the damned
    (3 votes)
70 votes total Vote Now

#4 Illinois at #7 Ohio State

3pm | ESPN | Ohio State - 1.5 | OU 150.5

MaximumSam: It’s Senior Day for the Buckeyes. What that means in the season of COVID is mostly a guess. C.J. Walker is playing his last regular season game, Holtmann announced. Kyle Young might be playing his last one. His constant struggle with persistent injuries make it difficult to gauge whether he’ll use his freebie year. If he stays OSU would be at fourteen scholarships, so assuming that cap remains someone else has to go.

Oh, you wanted to know about this game. The Buckeyes are playing as poorly as they have all season and Illinois just wrapped up Michigan in a sheet and stuffed them into a dumpster. You can do the math on that.

Poll

remember that in football, these two play for a trophy?!?!?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    illi
    (16 votes)
  • 33%
    buck
    (8 votes)
24 votes total Vote Now

Sunday, March 7

#25 Wisconsin at #5 Iowa

11:30am | FOX | Iowa -7 | O/U 143

Stew: Fuck wisconsin. I’m probably a bit over confident considering the past week or so of results for both teams. But it’s the last home game for Luka Garzina and Jordan Bohannonnon, and I’ll be damned if they go out with a loss to this goddamn, fucking, shitty-ass excuse of a team that wisconsin calls “basketball”.

Fuck wisconsin.

Poll

choose the error in breeding

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    popcorn skunk
    (24 votes)
  • 63%
    tooth bird
    (41 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now

Nebraska at Northwestern

12:30pm | BTN | NU -7 | O/U 140

MNW: Bookending a 13-game losing streak with two three-game winning streaks would be a pretty classic Northwestern-under-Chris Collins move.

I was prepared to take Nebraska in this one until Iowa left a smoking crater where the Huskers basketball program was...can Nebraska erase that bitter taste and head to the Purple Dreamatorium for a heaping helping of grind-it-out ‘Catsketball? I will, once again, tip C Ryan Young to have a big game inside for the purple, with Pete Nance vs. Dalano Banton to be my must-watch matchup of the game between two lanky weirdos.

Poll

battle for the real

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    NU
    (45 votes)
  • 30%
    UNL
    (20 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now

#2 Michigan at Michigan State

3:30 | CBS | Mich -8 | O/U 137.5

RockyMtnBlue: The rematch. MSU is playing for a tournament berth. Michigan is playing for...well just fucking with MSU I guess. Gotta feel like this is MSU’s game. Michigan is better but are likely to be a bit checked out, while MSU has a multi-decade NCAA tournament streak on the line. Also it’s in East Lansing, noted den of evil.

Last game was called VERY tight, which kept either team from getting into a flow. As much as I normally hate that I think it’s good for Michigan against MSU as it makes it less likely one of our players visits the hospital just before the BTT.

Brian: Watching the second half of round one, you got the impression that Tom Izzo and Michigan State were saving a little something in the tank for Sunday’s rematch in East Lansing.

Add in Izzo’s post-game mention of his team’s lack of effort/hustle and his ominous comment, “We think we know why some things went awry … and we’ll keep that between me and my team and then we’ll go from there,” and I have no doubt we’ll see a different Michigan State team Sunday.

Poll

go

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    blue
    (18 votes)
  • 20%
    green
    (16 votes)
  • 57%
    wait didn’t we just do this
    (46 votes)
80 votes total Vote Now

Penn State at Maryland

6pm | BTN | MD -5.5 | O/U 136

larry31: It was after dispiriting 55-50 loss to PSU on Feb. 5 that MD turned things around, particularly on defense. Since then, MD has gone 5-2. I think they rebound from their loss against NW to beat PSU, having a little extra motivation from losing their game at PSU that they feel they should have won.

Poll

a fitting end to this season

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    penn state
    (9 votes)
  • 29%
    maryland
    (23 votes)
  • 58%
    honestly who cares we’re all gonna die someday
    (46 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now

Other Things of Interest

College Basketball — Conference Tournaments (Sunday)

Patriot League on-campus semis kick off today, along with the Northeast Conference’s abbreviated four-team tournament and the Summit League Tournament. Here are some limited schedules and talkers for Sunday:

Bid Thief Watch?

[3] Campbell Fighting Camels at [1] Winthrop Eagles

11am | ESPN | Winthrop -11.5 | O/U 140.5
Big South Championship Game

[2] Drake Bulldogs vs. [1] Loyola-Chicago Ramblers

1:10pm | CBS | Loyola -8 | O/U 126
Missouri Valley Championship
Enterprise Center, St. Louis

Checking in on the NCAA Tournament hopes of Michigan State—and, I suppose, Indiana?

The Eagles, at 22-1 (17-1 Big South), are at NET #61 and a 12-seed in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology. That looks like they’d fall out of the Dance entirely and be a tidy 1-seed in the NIT, but who knows...

You’d be rooting for Loyola here, too, as Drake is ranging anywhere from an 11-seed to a First Four participant.

You’d also be a terrible person, because go Drake.

LowSoCon? SoLowCon? — Southern Conference Semifinals

[5] East Tennessee State Buccaneers vs. [1] UNC Greensboro Spartans

4pm | ESPNU | UNCG -3 | O/U 130.5
Harrah’s Cherokee Center, Asheville, NC

[7] Mercer Bears vs. [6] VMI Keydets

6:30pm | ESPNU | Mercer -1.5 | O/U 153
Harrah’s Cherokee Center, Asheville, NC

Couple contrasts in styles from a sneaky-parity-filled conference in the Southern, and while there are no hopes for a bid thief here, there sure could be some fun Cinderella-type stories. Mercer toppled Wofford, 62-61, with an and-1 with under a minute left, then held on after the Terriers fouled and their big man missed the front end of a bonus; VMI closed a 14-point second-half deficit to Furman with :30 seconds, took a 6-point lead in overtime, and held on. This one should be a little faster and have some scoring to go around.


Saturday previews and schedule are below:

Arch Sadness

[4] Indiana State Sycamores vs. [1] Loyola-Chicago Ramblers

1pm | CBSSN | Loyola -10.5 | O/U 121.5
Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO

[3] Missouri State Bears vs. [2] Drake Bulldogs

3pm | CBSSN | Drake -2 | O/U 139.5
Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO

More excitingly, we’ve got the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference on CBSSN following some drama yesterday—just before taking the court against Drake in St. Louis, a positive test within the Northern Iowa program meant the Panthers, due to contact tracing, would not have enough people to play.

The twist? That tracing was the mandate of the City of St. Louis, not the Missouri Valley Conference. And the commissioner of the MVC was evidently not aware of that:

So it’s not a great look for the Valley, but their two major seeds—Loyola and Drake—are still alive and will face Indiana State and Missouri State, respectively, today.

The Atlantic Bubble

[4] Saint Louis Billikens vs. [1] St. Bonaventure Bonnies

5pm | CBSSN | SLU -2 | O/U 132
Siegel Center, Richmond, VA

[3] Davidson Wildcats vs. [2] VCU Rams

8pm | CBSSN | VCU -2.5 | O/U 133
Siegel Center, Richmond, VA

One of the odder tourneys—the A-10 was supposed to be at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, as usual, but COVID moved it to Richmond, where the University of Richmond and VCU could play joint hosts.

But the final...is a week from Sunday, March 14...in Dayton?

It’s not the worst idea for the conference, with all four remaining teams around the NCAA Tournament or the bubble. Per Lunardi:

  • St. Bonaventure’s: 10-seed (AQ)
  • VCU: 11-seed (First Four, at-large)
  • Davidson: not included (bubble)
  • Saint Louis: First Four Out

I don’t think we’ll see, for example, SLU or the Bonnies try and grab a last-minute game with a major-conference team looking for an additional game, though a Bracket Buster-style mid-week hoops matchup, with a team or two playing for its March Madness life, would sure be fun.

OVC Championship

[2] Morehead State Eagles vs. [1] Belmont Bruins

7pm | ESPN2 | Belmont -5.5 | O/U 137.5
Ford Center, Evansville, IN

The Ohio Valley Conference Tournament has reached its conclusion, with a presumptive banger of a final on tap.

This is a single-bidder, with Belmont currently projected as a 13-seed AQ...but the Eagles were one of the Bruins’ two conference losses in 2021—interestingly, when they got sucked into the Bruins’ high-tempo style, rather than grinding it out. Will be fun to see if the adrenaline—plus all the fans inadvisably in the arena—jack this one up.

All for the right to lose to Gonzaga... [West Coast Conference Tournament]

[5] Loyola Marymount Lions vs. [4] Saint Mary’s Gaels

8pm | ESPNU | SMC -4.5 | O/U 124.5
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

[7] Santa Clara Broncos vs. [3] Pepperdine Waves

10:59pm | ESPN2 | Pepperdine -4 | O/U 148.5
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Look, there’s little in this if you’re actually looking for a good story that’ll last through the conference final—the WCC is Gonzaga’s to lose, and not only have they not won a conference game by fewer than 11 points (at BYU on 2/8), they’ve only played one of these teams (St. Mary’s, 73-59 on 1/16) closer than 15 points.

But it’s bad late-night basketball, and I can promise you Santa Clara-Pepperdine is on my...

...

...

...

...wavelength.

Poll

Do you regret reading this far?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    I already did.
    (13 votes)
  • 28%
    I do NOW.
    (19 votes)
  • 8%
    Not at all.
    (6 votes)
  • 43%
    I’m ONLY here for the polls and puns.
    (29 votes)
67 votes total Vote Now

FCS Football

Welcome back to the Northeast Conference—did you know they played football?!—the Patriot League, the Colonial, and the non-scholarship Pioneer League! Here’s your quick-and-dirty guide to today’s football:

Saturday Morning

Don’t Watch This

Maine Black Bears at Delaware Fighting Blue Hens [11am, FloSports]
Villanova Wildcats at Stony Brook Seawolves [11am, ???]
Southern Illinois Salukis (-8, O/U 43.5) at Youngstown State Penguins [11am, ESPN+]
Presbyterian Blue Hose at Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (-12.5, O/U 48) [11am, ESPN+]
William & Mary Tribe at Richmond Spiders (-3.5, O/U 43) [12pm, FloSports]
Chattanooga Mocs (-8, O/U 46) at The Citadel Bulldogs [12pm, ESPN+]
Samford Bulldogs at Furman Paladins (-10, O/U 55) [12pm, ESPN+]
James Madison Dukes (-24, O/U 47.5) at Elon Phoenix [12:30pm, FloSports]
Alabama A&M Bulldogs at South Carolina State Bulldogs (-10, O/U 54) [12:30pm, ESPN3]

Watch That

Jackson State Tigers at Grambling Tigers

12pm | ESPN2 | Gramb -10.5 | O/U 49.5

Saturday Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions at Southern Jaguars (-11, O/U 55.5) [1:30pm, ESPN3]
Western Illinois Leathernecks at South Dakota State Jackrabbits (-26, O/U 47.5) [2pm, ESPN+]
UC Davis Aggies at Idaho Vandals [2pm, PlutoTV]
Incarnate Word Cardinals (-17, O/U 54) at Lamar Cardinals [3pm, ESPN+]
Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at Eastern Washington Eagles (-14.5, O/U 64) [3:05pm, PlutoTV]
Illinois State Redbirds at Northern Iowa Panthers (-8, O/U 37) [4pm, ESPN+]

Watch That

Idaho State Bengals at Southern Utah Thunderbirds

1pm | PlutoTV | SUU -4 | O/U 52.5

North Dakota State Bison at Missouri State Bears

2pm | ESPN+ | NDSU -18.5 | O/U 45

{HKY} Wisconsin at Michigan State

1:30pm | BTN

{HKY} Michigan at Minnesota

4pm | BTN

I would like to see if the Bizon can bounce back after a loss at Southern Illinois last week—it’s worth noting they’re replacing NFL Draft prospect Trey Lance. But while it’s not a “Watch This,” we gotta talk about the Idaho Vandals’ home-field advantage at the Kibbie Dome, which Rodger Sherman correctly calls the best in the country:

Baffling. Beautiful. Long live domed western football.

Saturday Evening

Don’t Watch This

Nicholls Colonels (-22.5, O/U 58.5) at Northwestern State Demons [6pm, ESPN+]
Texas Southern Tigers at Prairie View A&M Panthers (-20.5, O/U 56.5) [7pm, ESPN3]

Watch That

McNeese Cowboys at Southeast Louisiana Lions

6pm | ESPN+ | SELA -11 | O/U 61.5

Poll

Will you watch a second of FCS football today?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    No, this is probably unnecessary previewing.
    (16 votes)
  • 52%
    No, but I enjoy learning what’s going on in the world.
    (24 votes)
  • 2%
    Yes, though I can get the schedule elsewhere.
    (1 vote)
  • 10%
    Yes, and this is helpful.
    (5 votes)
46 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the day’s sports. Enjoy, behave, have fun.