Late previews are on me for this one, guys and gals—realized at about 10:15 I’d never put out a preview. We’ll update things as we can, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Sorry about that, and thanks for stopping by OTE to talk basketball.
Saturday, January 8
All times CT, because this is a Midwestern blog.
11am | BTN | Purdue -9.5 | O/U 138
1pm | BTN | Rutgers -8 | O/U 142.5
BRT: Well, it's not a gimme (no games are for Nebraska), but after facing a couple of ranked teams in a row, this feels like it's at least possible for the Huskers. That said, possible isn't the same as probable.
The Huskers have been playing reasonably well lately, taking OSU to overtime and hanging with MSU for most of the game. Commentators are fond of saying that these decent performances against strong opponents will have to break through into wins sometime, but as someone who watched 2021 Nebraska football, I know that just isn't true. But, here's hoping.
POSTPONED DUE TO COVID
Sunday, January 9
11am | BTN | Line, Total TBD
Buffkomodo: Well this is mighty convenient. In any other setting, this would certainly be a trap game. Coming off the high emotion win over Ohio State, I look for Indiana to struggle early in this one. I don’t find Minnesota to be an overpowering team and coming to Assembly Hall doesn’t bode well for those teams. I think Indiana wins this one but it’s tighter than Twitter fans want it to be.
Then again, it’s quite possible that Indiana shows growth and maturity and comes out and slaughters Minnesota from the get go. Hell, it’s at home. Until they actually do it once I don’t expect this outcome, but recognize it could happen.
Northwestern Wildcats at #13 Ohio State Buckeyes
4:30pm | BTN | Line, Total TBD
MNW: Northwestern has been quietly competent on defense this year—unless Ohio State does something like go all Providence on the bit and have their bench spring for 60% three-point shooting and 21 points, I think Northwestern gives itself a shot if this game stays under 70 points for the winner. Comparing E.J. Liddell to anyone is foolhardy, but Northwestern had some success keeping Gabe Brown under wraps for the first half of MSU-NU—if the ‘Cats can continue Liddell’s shooting slump by packing the lane and daring him to beat them from outside? Who knows.
That said—this isn’t a game I’m holding my breath for Northwestern to win. There’s just no consistency or “gamer-ness” out of this squad: they have been consistently less than the sum of their parts. Pete Nance flits in and out of contests, and for as much as I love his game, I don’t like him against Liddell or Zed Key. Chase Audige and Boo Buie are already liable to force shots, and against a LONG backcourt like the Buckeyes have, it’s not going to go well unless the ‘Cats move the ball quickly on offense and get penetration or post touches. And Joey Brunk is a pound-for-pound better C than Ryan Young, neutralizing a quiet strength the ‘Cats like to hide away for the middle of halves.
Jesus. I’ve really talked myself outta this one. Buckeyes by 20.
MaximumSam: I wouldn’t be that confident in a Buckeye victory. They haven’t looked very good since the layoff, and E.J. Liddell can’t make a basket. Now he draws Pete Nance, whose versatile game is getting looks from the NBA. All of Northwestern’s B1G games have been tight slogs, and I expect this to be another one.
6:30pm | BTN | Line, Total TBD
This one’s blank just because we hate wisconsin.
Weekend preview thread! Usual rules apply. Go! A full schedule will be up shortly. Thanks again for swinging by OTE to talk Big Ten basketball!