Welcome b-ball aficionados. The Big Ten is feeling pretty good, with a big 6-2 victory in the Gavitt Games, plus some great OOC wins over Kentucky and UCLA last week. Sunday is a pretty packed day, so if your NFL teams is looking rough, read on to find your other options.
Miami Hurricanes (4-0) vs. Maryland Terrapins (4-0), 12pm, ESPN
larry31: St. Louis was favored by 2 pts. KenPom had St. Louis ranked in the 30s and Maryland was ranked by KenPom at #47. Didn’t matter. Maryland treated St. Louis just like the cupcakes Niagra, West Chester, and Binghamton. Maryland sprinted out to a 10-2 lead and had almost doubled up St. Louis by halftime, leading 53-27. Once again, high energy pressing and trapping defense discombobulated an opponent, leading to turnovers and easy transition buckets. Still not sure how this style will works against the big brutish thugs, like Hunter Dickinson, roaming the paint. but, Willard’s style is working for now.
If this exact roster coached by Turge had played against the same players coached by Willard, Turge’s team would have lost. Turge’s team simply would not have matched the energy that Willard’s team would bring. With this blowout win, Maryland has moved up to #29 in KenPom, right behind OSU and ahead of PSU and UM, among others. Interesting.
Maryland plays Miami on Sunday after Miami knocked off Providence. Miami is ranked #36 on KenPom, so it should be a good test for Maryland. I imagine Maryland will be a slight favorite.
Illinois Fighting Illini (4-0) v. Virginia Cavaliers (3-0), 2 pm, ESPN
MaximumSam: The main event of the, uh, Main Event Tourney in Las Vegas features your Illini, who rode Terrence Shannon, Jr. and his 29 points and 10 rebounds to a win against UCLA Friday night. They take on Virginia, who blitzed Baylor in the second half to get out to a 23 point lead before eventually winning by 7. Virginia has their own Player of the Year candidate in guard Armaan Franklin, who is averaging 18 a night on 60/53/89 shooting splits. Shannon verses Franklin looks like a banger, and so does this game. Torvik says Illinois pulls it out, 66-65.
BoilerUp89: Clear game of the day and an interesting contrast of styles. Going to be really interesting to see who can establish their tempo on the other.
Arkansas Pine-Bluff Golden Lions (1-5) at Nebraska Corhuskers (2-1), 2:30 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: Nebraska looks to get back on the board after getting trucked by St. John’s. They shouldn’t have too many problems with the 338th ranked Lions. Pine-Bluff was reasonably competitive against TCU and Oklahoma, but they also lost by 26 to Kent State. Danger Man is senior wing Shaun Doss, who is averaging 20 points a game on 40/50/85 shooting.
Indiana Hoosiers (3-0) v. Miami Redhawks (1-3), 4:30 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: This one is being played in Indianapolis for some reason (I’m sure a great reason, Indiana fans, relax). Wally Szczerbiak isn’t walking through that door for Miami. As a former Miami student, I remember going to the Sweet Sixteen against Kentucky in St. Louis. That’s where I learned how completely obnoxious Kentucky fans are, and why I root for them to lose in every game and will until the end of time. In any event, Miami is not going to the Sweet Sixteen this year, and they’ve already lost to Evansville and Marshall.
BoilerUp89: This is Indianas exempt "tournament" that allows them to play more games. The Hoosier Classic includes Indiana, Miami (OH), South Florida, Arkansas State, and Eastern Michigan. Rather than play in a true neutral site tournament and schedule these teams for their home slate IU is going about things differently scheduling home/road/neutral one offs with good teams instead of facing them in one 3 day tournament. This is the only game of the Hoosier Classic in Indianapolis and its in Indianapolis for the same reason Purdue will play Davidson in Indianapolis. The city and its suburbs are the lifeblood of both programs recruiting. As for Miami (OH), notable basketball recruiter and terrible coach Travis Steele (formerly Xavier head coach) leads them and that's going to end in disaster.
Penn State Nittany Lions (4-1) v. Colorado State Rams (4-1), 5 pm, ESPNU
MaximumSam: Penn State gets the consolation game in the Charleston Classic against the Rams, who had the good sense to lose to the College of Charleston. They are another solid outfit, ranking 81st on Torvik. They’ve shot the ball extremely well, going 59% from two and 39% from three, and have a 32 win over South Carolina. The Penn State Size Watch sees them facing James Moors, a 6’10’’ junior who averages 10 and 5 for the Rams. Torvik sees another PSU victory, 68-66.
BoilerUp89: Really hoping Charleston wins the tournament and some major program snaps up Pat Kelsey after this season so we can watch his teams on the national stage more often. As for Colorado State - this is a good test for Penn State - and another big one for any bubble hopes they might have. 10-10 in the B1G with losses to all your good non-con opponents might not get it done this season.
Ohio Bobcats (1-2) at Michigan Wolverines (3-1), 6:30 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: The Wolverines, fresh off of getting drilled by Arizona State, come home to face Ohio (no state). The Bobcats are the victims of MAC success last year, losing Mark Sears to Alabama and Ben Vander Plas to Virginia. This year’s team features 11 guys who have all played substantial minutes. They have a lot of guards and big man Dwight Wilson, who is averaging a double double. He’s only 6’8’’ though, so Hunter Dickinson looks to feast again. Torvik says Michigan wins, 81-68.
Here’s your open thread for the day’s hoops. MNW tells me football season is OVER—the rest of you have a good time.