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Big Ten Men’s Basketball Weekend Previews

A couple of in-state rivalries, but the highlight is Purdue-Ohio State

Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Welcome back to another exciting preview article of Big Ten men’s basketball. There were zero complaints that I cared about regarding me using Eastern Time last time, so let’s do it again!

Saturday, January 29

Michigan Wolverines @ #10 Michigan State Spartans


MaximumSam: This could be a fun matchup. Michigan has showed signs of life lately, whipping Maryland and Indiana before surviving, er, Northwestern. DeVante Jones is no longer garbage and Caleb Houstan is making shots. Sparty has been a bit head scratching lately, sandwiching a great win over Wisconsin between losses to Northwestern and an Illinois team without Cockburn and Curbelo. Expect anything, is what I’m saying.

BoilerUp89: Tom Izzo tries to tie Bobby Knight once more.


Michigan or Michigan State?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Juwan Howard ties Tippy Dye
    (8 votes)
  • 87%
    Tom Izzo ties Bobby Knight
    (54 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now

Indiana Hoosiers @ Maryland Terrapins


BoilerUp89: Speaking of Bobby Knight’s team, the Hoosiers take a road trip to Maryland where they will be favored. Sounds like Phinisee will miss this game for Indiana and considering how well he’s been playing of late that is a bummer for the Hoosiers. Maryland on the other hand has a bit of momentum for the first time all season and is coming off two nice wins (Illinois and @Rutgers). I’m curious to see how Maryland guards TJD but the key for the Terrapins might be to get Indiana’s guards in foul trouble. Without Lander and Phinisee, Indiana’s depth at the guard position could be tested if their starters get into foul trouble.


Indiana or Maryland?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    (25 votes)
  • 43%
    Ugly flag
    (19 votes)
44 votes total Vote Now

#24 Illinois Fighting Illini @ Northwestern Wildcats


BoilerUp89: Northwestern has lost 7 of their last 8 - with a win at the Spartans in between - but all but 1 of those games was within single digits. So while Northwestern is finding new and exciting ways to lose (and lose Chris Collins his job), they’ve been strangely competitive against the top of the conference.

Will Curbelo or Cockburn play after missing the game against Michigan State? Can Pete Nance lead Northwestern to an upset of the Illini? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions.

MNW: Answers to your questions, in order: Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, he cannot.

The Illini are 3-point favorites WITHOUT those two and just beat Michigan State with the same roster. A team that finds ways, in the last four minutes of every game, to do every stupid thing possible, won’t be an issue.

Both Alfonso Plummer and Jacob Grandison shoot over 40% from deep, so I think there’s your answer right there for how the Illini get it done.


Illinois or Northwestern?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Electromagnetic spectrum of ~600 nm
    (24 votes)
  • 27%
    Electromagnetic spectrum of ~400 nm
    (9 votes)
33 votes total Vote Now

Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Nebraska Cornhuskers


BoilerUp89: This is a must have game for Rutgers if they want to keep their fragile tournament hopes alive. For Nebraska it represents one of their best chances to grab a win in conference play.


Rutgers or Nebraska?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    East coast elite
    (35 votes)
  • 25%
    Flyover country
    (12 votes)
47 votes total Vote Now

Sunday, January 29

#16 Ohio State Buckeyes @ #6 Purdue Boilermakers


MaximumSam: Yeesh, a tough challenge for the Buckeyes, who previously got whipped on the road against Indiana and Wisconsin. It’s tough to see where the Buckeyes get a victory here - Zed Key is fun but not sure how he holds up against the Willedey. The best shot is probably getting Liddell and Young trying to get those guys moving around and guard out to the perimeter. Easier said than done.

BoilerUp89: As MaximumSam mentioned the key for OSU on offense will be drawing the two-headed center monster of Purdue out of the paint by making threes and thus freeing up either Key or Liddell to bang inside against Purdue’s power forwards. I can also just about guarantee Jaden Ivey is going to be challenged by EJ Liddell at some point in the game and try to dunk over him. One of the nations best shot blockers isn’t going to back down from Jaden Ivey.


Ohio State or Purdue?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    tiny nuts
    (4 votes)
  • 93%
    (59 votes)
63 votes total Vote Now

Minnesota Gophers @ #11 Wisconsin Badgers


BoilerUp89: Minnesota’s little engine that could story seems to have run out of steam as B1G play has got going and they’ve had issues continuing to pull off wins. The good news for the Gophers is that Wisconsin doesn’t crash the offensive boards that much because Minnesota has been getting outrebounded again and again lately. The bad news is that Wisconsin is one of just 7 teams that turn the ball over less than Minnesota. If the Gophers can find a way to limit Johnny Davis they might have a chance. Unfortunately that is harder done than said.

Kind of...: UW doesn’t make a priority out of crashing the offensive boards—they prefer to get back and set up their defense—they did just grab 13 against Nebraska and won’t turn them away if Minnesota is just inept at securing defensive rebounds. At the same time, there’s trap game potential as a trip to Champaign Wednesday beckons. Whatever happens, it’s probably going to have ugly stretches, but with Tyler Wahl back in the lineup and Steven Crowl and Ben Carlson both showing improvement lately, UW really should win comfortably.


Minnesota or Wisconsin?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    (13 votes)
  • 76%
    (43 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now

Monday, January 31

Iowa Hawkeyes @ Penn State Nittany Lions


BoilerUp89: Iowa’s schedule begins to lighten up a little bit, but this is an important game in their path to 10 conference victories. It will be a definite contrast of styles as Iowa is the 9th fastest tempo team in America and Penn State is the 17th slowest. Whichever team can establish their preferred style of play on the other will be my pick to win the game.

misdreavus79: Penn State kept pace with Iowa, for the most part, when this game was played a week ago. Can the second one, being played at home this time, prove to be the difference? The Murrays took over late to blow the margin up at the end, so ensuring they don’t go off again will be paramount if Penn State wants to come away with the victory.


Iowa or Penn State?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Coach with two sons on the team
    (25 votes)
  • 50%
    Coach whose son joins the team in 2023
    (26 votes)
51 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the weekend’s basketball.