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End of December Basketball Recaps: COVID Cancellations, Cupcake Choking, Cornfield Consternation

You know, for the teams that are still playing.

NCAA Basketball: Central Florida at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been awhile since we last did a basketball recaps article. Partly that’s because I’ve had better things to do like spending time with my family. Also, games have been getting cancelled everywhere and that’s depressing to talk about.

But I know our readers have been desperately waiting for the recap to the Rutgers-Central Connecticut game, so without further ado, here’s the post-Christmas recap of B1G basketball.

Tuesday, December 28

#13 Ohio State Buckeyes - New Orleans Privateers Canceled

Maryland Terrapins 76 - Lehigh Mountain Hawks 55

larry31: Cupcake City, Baby!

Don’t blame MD. They had another team scheduled. The game got cancelled because the other team had a COVID outbreak. Maryland was able to substitute Lehigh because Syracuse cancelled their game with Lehigh due to COVID. College basketball in the COVID era. Good times.

I think I saw the point spread as 20.5. So, Maryland beat the point spread. I was at this game. Between the game being cancelled then rescheduled, students being away, mid-week game and COVID, Xfinity Center was very sparsely attended. Oh yeah, the team has hugely disappointed, that may also drive down attendance. No energy in that big cavernous stadium.

This game did not feel like a beat down. Maryland just methodically ground out a large lead due to superior athleticism and talent. Yawn.

Wednesday, December 29

Minnesota Golden Gophers - Alcorn State Braves Canceled (WSR: WOOOO! ANOTHER NON-LOSS!)
Penn State Nittany Lions - Delaware State Hornets Canceled
Indiana Hoosiers - North Carolina* Canceled

*Asheville campus

Illinois Fighting Illini - Florida A&M Rattlers Canceled

#10 Michigan State Spartans 81 - High Point Panthers 68

Green Akers: Nice, comfortable 13-point win, didn’t get the cover but the line was quite inflated, nothing to see here citizens

————incinerates game tape with flamethrower————

A disinterested, short handed MSU came out in front of a disinterested, short handed Breslin crowd after an 8-day layoff, fucked around, and nearly found out despite the 13-point margin.

Tubby Smith’s High Point ran the glacial pace you expect of talent-deficient teams and, at one point late in the second half, had canned 10/17 3-pointers (10/14 from the 3 guys who made them all). That, plus a comical number of missed layups and free throws, kept it close for about the first 32 minutes before enough shots started to land for the home team to put it away.

Nothing to worry about Sunday, I’m sure.

#3 Purdue Boilermakers 104 - Nicholls Colonels 90

BoilerUp89: Honestly the defensive performance in this one was a disaster. I know there were plenty of Purdue fans that were happy with the offensive performance or celebrating going undefeated in non-conference play, but anyone who watched this game should not be happy with Purdue’s defense at the moment. Got a long way to go if Purdue wants to meet their expectations for this season.

#24 Wisconsin Badgers 89 - Illinois State Redbirds 85

Kind of...: How big is your glass? Because this season could go hard in either direction depending on how full or empty it is.

NOBODY would have predicted 10-2 at the point. Thus far, record-wise, UW has been a huge and pleasant surprise.

However, the last two games have been a 3 point win over Nicholls State (#214 KenPom) and a 4 point win over Illinois State (#197 Ken Pom). Now, the former was without Johnny Davis and the latter was without three members of the rotation, but still. The silver lining in last night’s victory over the Redbirds is that the Badgers won despite Davis shooting 6-23 from the floor. Steven Crowl led the scoring with 21 and Chucky Hepburn contributed an efficient 13 points.

The dark cloud is that not many B1G teams are going to max out at 6’8” the way Illinois State did, and Hepburn, for all his potential, is still a true frosh PG heading into the B1G meat grinder.

Let’s go ahead and write off Monday’s trip to Mackey. The three games after that—1/6 vs. Iowa, 1/9 @ Maryland, 1/13 vs. OSU—all basically look like 50/50 games at this point. 2-1 would be really, really helpful.

Iowa Hawkeyes 92 - Western Illinois Leathernecks 71

Thursday, December 30

Northwestern Wildcats — Prairie View A&M Panthers cancelled

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 80 - Maine Black Bears 67

UCF Citronauts 85 - Michigan Wolverines 71

MaximumSam: The alarm bells are going off for Michigan, who entered the season with title hopes and now need to put together a good B1G season to make the tourney.

Here, the defense was pretty rough, giving up a combined 53 points to UCF’s best two players. Central Florida is a quality team (47th on Torvik), but now Michigan has one win against a top 100 team and four losses by double digits. Not great.

Maryland Terrapins 81 - Brown Bears 67

larry31: This one was more interesting. A slightly bigger crowd and the crowd actually showed life. Maybe because Maryland was down 4 at the half and down 6 with 16:47 to go.

At that point the Terps were 0-9 from 3-pt land, which is a recurring theme with this year’s team: bad 3-pt shooting. MD then went on a 13-0 run and extended the lead from there. This run was lead by Fatts Russell. Nobody on Brown could keep up with him, and he very intelligently picked his spots to drive to the rim. Hakim Hart and Erica Ayala were very efficient. Hakim Hart played excellent defense.

Brown plays very aggressive defense almost always double-teaming MD players down low and often trying to trap on the perimeter. Someitmes they would triple team a MD player down low. In the first half, MD was horrible at identifying the open man (or men) when the trap came, which resulted in the halftime deficit. They made the proper adjustments in the 2nd half. But these struggles were against the Kenpom #168 team.

Saturday, January 1

Rutgers 79, Central Connecticut 48

MNW: Super glad we waited for this game. The Blue Devils are 337th in Kenpom, and Rutgers avoided the abjectly miserable offensive performance that doomed them against similarly-bad teams like Lafayette. Moving on.

Power Ranking Voting

Same as the last time, only we might not have a subsequent Power Poll article—rank the Big Ten basketball teams, 1 for the best and 14 for the not-bestest! We’re working on a live-updating graph below for how your fellow OTE-readers voted. (Here’s the link, if the Google Form below won’t embed.)

Let’s see how this works for an embedded, live-updating graph:

We’ll be back tomorrow morning with a lot more from around the Big Ten basketball world — the Maryland “reverse hot seat,” conference restart previews, and more! Thanks for making OTE your home for Big Ten basketball.