College basketball is over. See you all next November when hope springs eternal that it is actually The Year.
(It’s not The Year. It’s never The Year.)
Saturday, January 8
#3 Purdue Boilermakers 74, Penn State Nittany Lions 67
BoilerUp89: It was progress for the Boilermakers as they took down #1 in BoilerUp89’s Friday rankings—blame user M1EK for challenging me to rank the Nittany Lions—and took baby steps on defense. It wasn’t a dominating defensive performance, but it was better than we’ve seen the past two games for the Boilers.
Purdue led by as many as 13 in the 2nd half before foul trouble for both Edey and Williams forced Purdue to play without a center for a stretch. During this stretch of play Penn State was able to whittle away the lead and they would even take the lead with just under 4 minutes to play. Purdue would then go on a 10-2 run to end the game and secure the victory. Purdue limited themselves to just 8 turnovers.
Trevion Williams returned to not starting games but came off the bench for 21 and 9. He also seemed to get back to doing the little things instead of trying to make the highlight reel pass. Edey had 6 points and 6 rebounds in just 9 minutes of play.
For some odd reason, both Painter and opposing head coach Micah Shrewsberry decided Sasha Stefanovic was the best player in the game. Don’t get me wrong, I like Sasha a lot but I’m not really sure why he played a team high 39 minutes or got the box and 1 defensive treatment.
Painter seems to be shortening the rotation as he’s having issues trusting players to play reliable defense. Brandon Newman sat out for the first time all year. Caleb Furst and Eric Hunter were limited to just 12 and 15 minutes respectively and for Furst that was with the two centers only combining for 30 minutes.
RU in VA: Well, game #3 where Rutgers looks like a legitimate tournament team. Wins over Purdue, Michigan, and Nebraska bode well for the rest of the season. This game was relatively close in the first 10 minutes until second team big man Dean Reiber made a big 3 that started a few single digit runs.
After that, it wasn’t close—and a nice change of pace not relying on the 3 ball (like against Michigan) and playing to their strength of driving and getting fouls against a smaller and slower opponent. On to Penn State.
#10 Michigan State Spartans vs. Michigan Wolverines POSTPONED
Sunday, January 9
Buffkomodo: Indiana got an incredibly balanced game scoring wise. 5 guys in double figures isn’t bad. The defense wasn’t even bad the whole day. It really didn’t surprise me to see Indiana struggle early to put away Minnesota because there was bound to be a let down coming off an emotional win vs Ohio State Thursday night. They were able to get it together twice actually and pull away in the end of the first half and the end of the second half, sealing the win in style.
Feels nice to be above .500 in conference play before going to parts unknown to play Iowa and Nebraska. Surely Indiana can at least split those games.
#13 Ohio State Buckeyes 95, Northwestern Wildcats 87
MNW: Remember when I said the ‘Cats had been playing better defense and Ohio State star E.J. Liddell had struggled since the Buckeyes’ COVID break?
Well, fuck me.
Look at the Gamecast and it’s just Ohio State keeping Northwestern at arm’s length for literally the entire game. Pete Nance had 20, Chase Audige and Boo Buie weren’t black holes, and sophomore Ty Berry had his breakout game, shooting 4/6 from deep for 23. Berry in particular was phenomenal, looking for space in the half-court offense and spotting up really well.
None of that matters, because this time the ‘Cats clogged the paint but couldn’t close out the perimeter, as Ohio State shot 57% from the field and Liddell in particular was 5/7 from deep and 12/20 overall for 34.
Another quality loss for Northwestern! We’re back to a hallmark of the Chris Collins Era: moral victories as part of what could stretch into a double-digit losing streak. It’s Maryland at Welsh-Ryan on Wednesday, then @MSU, vsWisc, @PU, @Mich, vsIL, vsRU—win on Wednesday or face another first-round appearance of the Big Ten Tournament.
What a disaster this is shaping up to be.
MaximumSam: The B1G may be a bit defense optional this year. At least, this game was. Both teams couldn’t miss, and it was really E.J. Liddell’s 17 points in the first five minutes that kept a bit of breathing distance between the two teams. Also helpful, Malaki Branham hitting 24, his third straight good game.
Defensively, it was pretty rough. The Buckeyes go on the road against Johnny Davis and company Thursday - another defensive outing like this and Davis may get 50.
#23 Wisconsin Badgers 70, Maryland Terrapins 69
Beez: Prior to the start of the game, there was a Slack discussion where the topic was “Why is Wisconsin only favored by 1 in this game.” I gave a classic, uninformed by sarcastic Beez answer about how Wisconsin is v bad without Johnny Davis but he’s so good that it averages out to be a narrow victory.
MCClap, on the other hand, pointed out the road environment, Maryland’s team speed, and how Wisconsin is always hot garbage at Maryland.
Well...Vegas and MCClap were right. This is the first close win that has me legitimately worried this season, because it is now VERY real that “Wisconsin loses another close one despite 23 from Johnny Davis” could be said after about 90% of the team’s remaining games. I don’t know where the defense or 3-point shooting on this team have gone, but woof.
Also, Wisconsin won because they scored more.
Beez Update: I’m getting word now that Brad Davison AND Greg Gard were in on the alleged point shaving, with Gard instructing Davison to miss the final FT on purpose because, supposedly, it takes way more time to get a rebound off a missed FT and try to pass it up court for a last-second shot than to make the FT and let Maryland rebound it. This seems like “strategy” from Gard, which is what makes it immediately suspicious
Who had the best week?
Who had the worst week?
I don’t think there are any other college sports on, so here’s your open thread for Monday’s basketball if you want a place to waste some time.
Monday, January 10
Campbell Fighting Camels at Winthrop Eagles
4pm | ESPN+ | Winthrop -4 | O/U 136.5
Winthrop tends to be the class of the Big South, but don’t sleep on Campbell.
Wofford Terriers at UNC Greensboro Spartans
5pm | ESPN+ | Wofford -3 | O/U 125.5
Two of the best teams in SoCon, with Wofford the odds-on favorite to make the NCAA Tournament. I’d give it a look.
Grambling Tigers at Florida A&M Rattlers
6:30pm | Facebook | FAMU -3.5 | O/U 135.5
Of the SWACtion tonight, this is...maybe as good as it gets? Jackson State-Alabama A&M at 7pm on YouTube could be OK, but that’s got a total of 118.5 and you might want to steer clear of THAT awful a clang-fest.
South Dakota Coyotes at North Dakota Fighting Hawks
7pm | ESPN+ | USD -5 | O/U 145.5
The respective little brothers of each Dakota, doing bad and dumb things on the basketball court. But they should put up some points! It’s a good chance for Iowa to start scouting their next undersized center, too.
Alcorn State Braves at Alabama State Hornets
8pm | YouTube | EVEN | O/U 138.5
OK, here’s the best SWACtion of the night—and probably around the time where you’re trying to avoid whatever football is allegedly on the TV.
San Diego Toreros at Pepperdine Waves
9pm | WCCtv (online) | Pepperdine -3 | O/U 140.5
In the completely made-up and not-at-all-favored-to-Gonzaga WCC Tournament, these two are solidly Day One candidates, somewhere around the 7-8 seed range. But they could trip up NCAA Tournament hopefuls San Francisco or Saint Mary’s down the line, so if you’re a true degenerate, worth just searching “WCC Network” and giving it a watch—quality of the feed is usually pretty good.