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January 17-19 Men’s Basketball Previews: Maryland-Michigan have a Disappoint-Off, Wisconsin heads to resurgent Northwestern?

Plus: whether Northwestern can capitalize with fans in the stands (stop it, there are at least a few hundred) and how a coach soliciting a prostitute is Damon Evans’s fault? Wild stuff.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Northwestern
The most you’ll ever see Chris Collins wearing his mask.
Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Lot of Big Ten basketball today, including a Martin Luther King Day special, as Illinois and Purdue tip off shortly in a nationally-televised game on FOX! Here are a few previews and catch-ups from across the world of Big Ten hoops.

Also, this one includes an extensive recap of Maryland’s loss to Rutgers that includes blame for a Maryland assistant coach soliciting a prostitute resting on the decision to undermine Mark Turgeon, so...

Read on?

Monday, January 17

#7 Purdue Boilermakers at #25 Illinois Fighting Illini

11am | FOX | Illinois -1 | O/U 147.5

BoilerUp89: First off, the Illini should be ranked higher than #25. I know they haven’t been playing their best basketball the last couple of games (but they are still winning) and their resume isn’t as good as Wisconsin’s but their talent is that of a top 15 team. They are also the last of the undefeated B1G teams and something like 20-1 during conference play in the past year. So the Illini are really good and are probably favored by a few.

This game has the best possible center matchup in the country. Purdue’s two headed center monster faces off against the best center in the country in Kofi Cockburn. If foul trouble isn’t an issue for either side, this matchup is going to be a treat to watch and I’m really curious to see whether Trevion Williams improved shape or Zach Edey’s overall growth position them better than last year to compete with Kofi. I’m going to guess both sides centers get their points and mostly cancel each other out.

Which means that where this game truly will be decided is outside of the arc. Both teams have three really good shooters: Plummer, Frazier, and Grandison for the Illini and Thompson, Stefanovic, and Ivey for the Boilers. Whomever wins that battle will win the game in my opinion. Especially since Curbelo has shows no signs of coming back yet.

One final twist - I’m not sure how well attended this game will be. Since it’s at noon on a Monday (and MLK day isn’t observed with a day off everywhere) non-student attendance could be hit and miss. I’ve also been informed that the students are virtual this upcoming week and won’t be on campus.

My prediction: Purdue and Illinois split the season series.

Indiana Hoosiers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

5pm | BTN | Indiana -8.5 | O/U 146

Buffkomodo: Seasons of “what could have been” litter the recent past of Indiana basketball. I don’t want to dwell on the Iowa game, but it really left a sour taste.

This game is a must win for Indiana. I wholeheartedly believe they needed to split this back to back road stint to stay in position to finish above .500 in conference. Seeing the opportunity to have gone 2-0 sucks, but if there’s anyone they can beat on the road it has to be Nebraska, right?

God, I hope so.

Tuesday, January 18

IUPUI Jaguars at #16 Ohio State Buckeyes

6pm | BTN

Maryland Terrapins at Michigan Wolverines

6pm | ESPN2

Ed. note: Larry’s been sending me recaps of Maryland games, but absent a dedicated recap article as of right now, we’re putting them here.

larry31: It wasn’t a joke, but a statement of fact when I wrote that Maryland didn’t win against Northwestern but, rather, Northwestern was more successful than MD at giving the game away. This eyesore masquerading as a P5 basketball game existed because neither Chris Collins or Danny Manning are good coaches.

Not the case when MD went against Rutgers. Steve Pikiell can coach.

Rutgers executed down the stretch and turned an 11-point halftime deficit into an 11-point win. That’s right. MD was outscored by 22 points in 20 minutes of basketball by a team that is just not good at offense. And it was a textbook example of a good coach making halftime adjustments and a mediocre coach taking at least 10 minutes to adjust to the other teams adjustments.

Maryland was up 11 points at halftime because the Terps were 13/15 at the free throw line whereas Rutgers was 0/1. Maryland aggressively drove the lane and drew fouls. The halftime adjustment for Rutgers was to double team anyone on MD that drove the lane. I’m certain Rutgers also made offensive adjustments because they had loads of turnovers in the first half, which did not occur in the second half. The Terps’ 11 point lead evaporated in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Maryland finally made some adjustments which kept the game close. With about 3 minutes to go, the game was tied 55-55. Then Rutgers, the team that is well-coached, executed their offense and played good defense down the stretch and steadily built an 11 point lead in the final 3 minutes of the game.

Danny Manning is literally coaching himself out of any future P5 head coaching positions. Manning WILL NOT be MD’s future head coach. So, that’s some good news.

Maryland is the B1G’s basketball version of the 2021 Indiana football team. A team that started with such lofty expectations has sunken to an unforeseen level of suckiness. MD may get 3 wins for the rest of the season. They’re that bad. No joy or passion from the players They are currently playing without their head coach (Turge) and one of their top assistants (Bruce Shingler) who was suspended for 30 days for getting caught for attempting to conduct a booty call that involved a financial transaction. That’s a polite way of saying he got caught in a prostitution sting. Maryland basketball is truly a tragicomedy.

a postscript from Larry: Bruce Shningler’s embarrassing suspension for soliciting a paid booty call is the direct result of AD Damon Evans undermining Turge. Assistant coaches Bino Ranson and DeAndre Haynes left Maryland for more money this off-season because. Damon Evans refused to provide the budget to Turge to keep his assistants. this left Turge having to scramble for assistant coaches over the summer, one of them being Shingler. Evans definitely wanted Turge gone, but knew he had to extend Turge after Turge made the NCAA tournament 5/6 years.

Good cases can be made for keeping Turge. But, also, enthusiasm for the basketball program has waned noticeably in recent years. Xfinity Center used to be a loud raucous place. Not now.

#13 wisconsin badgers at Northwestern Wildcats

8pm | BTN

MNW: First game back in Welsh-Ryan for the Wildside since a COVID-mandated moratorium on student attendance while Northwestern went remote for the first two weeks of Winter Quarter. We’ll see if that helps the ‘Cats with a team that could easily bomb them into oblivion from deep and use Johnny Davis to get dribble penetration into the lane.

Avoiding emotional investment will be key to success in this one—can I successfully distract myself enough at bar trivia that I don’t hang on every basket? STAY TUNED!

Kind of...: One of those fun games where neither fan base feels all that good. UW’s struggles at Welsh-Ryan aren’t quite on the level as those at Ryan Field (not possible, really), but it’s never been an automatic win, either. Northwestern just beat Sparty without Pete Nance, so I would hope the Wildcats have UW’s attention.

If UW shoots reasonably, they should win, but that’s not really much of an insight. Davis has struggled, relatively speaking, the last two games and it would be nice to get him on track again. Tyler Wahl has been great lately, and/but it would be nice if Steve Crowl continues his development in the post.

Wednesday, January 19

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Penn State Nittany Lions

5:30pm | BTN

Iowa Hawkeyes at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

7:30pm | BTN

Not Playing This Early Week

Michigan State Spartans

Here’s your open thread for the week’s hoops. Schedule below—classes start tomorrow, so we’ll see if I get to updating it beyond today...fingers crossed.