NCAA Division 1 basketball rules allow for up to two preseason exhibitions or scrimmages. If the scrimmage is against a fellow Division 1 program, the scrimmage must be closed to the public. A closed scrimmage means no fans or media are allowed and the two schools are not supposed to publicize the results. As a result, media “writers” have taken to calling these closed scrimmages “secret scrimmages”. Exceptions to the closed scrimmages have been made by programs seeking to raise money for charity - these games can be played in front of fans/televised as long as the proceeds go to charity.
Teams also have the opportunity to hold preseason exhibitions in front of fans and media against non Division 1 programs. The traditional model since the rule was put into place is one exhibition game against a local non-D1 program and one closed scrimmage as this typically gives teams the best blend of seeing what they need to work on before hitting the real schedule and giving freshman or other newcomers the opportunity to play in front of fans without the results counting. Some programs that don’t have to deal with playing in front of fans (ie: Penn State) will have two closed scrimmages. Other cowardly programs don’t want to shatter the illusion of their greatness before the season begins and will only play two exhibitions.
I’m not going to discuss in detail any of the results of exhibitions against non-Division 1 programs. Nobody cares that you beat Truman State by 40+ points. Not only do those games not count, but they don’t tell you much about how your team looks. All the same, feel free to mock Michigan in the comments for only beating Ferris State by 13.
Secret scrimmages however can give us some understanding in how a team looks going into a season. Although the NCAA rules state that the results aren’t supposed to be publicized, details are often leaked to media members.
This recap article will seek to inform fans of the thirteen most important B1G schools how their teams did in their closed scrimmages based on detailed leaks, media reports, and message board rumors. I’ll try to make it clear what is rumor and what is fact based. In some instances, coaches have successfully locked down all information on what happened behind closed doors.
Please note that coaches will often use these closed scrimmages to practice different situations. Your team may have played a zone even though they only play man-to-man defense in the regular season. The two coaches may have scrapped the usual basketball rules and played a bunch of scenarios instead of two halves or allowed players to foul 12 times and continue playing.
As always a huge thanks to the programs that participate in closed scrimmages and more importantly those that allow the details of them to become known to college basketball fans. Don’t be like Gandalf. Secrets are terrible.
Games in alphabetical order because I hate wisconsin.
Big Ten Basketball 2022 Secret Scrimmages
Illinois Fighting Illini vs Kansas Jayhawks no score reported
Illinois and Kansas did not play the traditional two twenty-minute halves when they met at Lindenwood University’s Hyland Arena. Instead they practiced for three and a half hours on a variety of situational things. Other than coach speak platitudes, very few details leaked to the public. We are told that Terrence Shannon (Illinois) and Kevin McCullar (Kansas) were the best players. Skyy Clark had 18 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal throughout the afternoon.
Indiana Hoosiers vs. File Not Found
The whole point of the secret scrimmage is to test your team out against good competition to determine what you need to improve on before the games start counting and without people finding out about how badly you were blown out by teams like the Kansas City Roos.
The Hoosiers however saw more value in playing two exhibitions against NAIA Marian University and NAIA St. Francis University (of Indiana - not NY or PA) instead. I’m assuming this is so the Hoosiers media, fanbase, and athletic department could keep talking about Indiana being a top 5 team this year, but I’m sure the Indiana fans in the comments will tell me that not only am I wrong about their reasons for scheduling these two games but Indiana is a top 5 team this year.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Kansas City Roos no score reported
Speaking of getting blown out by the Roos... While most basketball teams schedule other P6 programs or at least high major competition, Fran scheduled the Kansas City (formerly UMKC) Roos (formerly Kangaroos) out of the Summit League. You may be wondering - why did Fran schedule a Summit League team to best prepare Iowa for their upcoming schedule. Well, with non-con games against Bethune Cookman, North Carolina A&T, Nebraska Omaha, Southeast Missouri State, and Eastern Illinois, Fran is actually preparing his team for the level of competition they will spend much of November and December playing.
As for the game, the Roos and chief surgeon of the 4077th M*A*S*H unit played one twenty-minute half and two ten-minute quarters. The message board rumors are that Iowa won the first half by roughly 10 points and also won both ten minute quarters. Starters were Perkins, Sandfort, P. McCaffery, Murray, and Rebraca. Murray was apparently the best player on the court.
For reference, last year’s B1G tournament winning team played Kansas City in the regular season and won by 32 points.
Maryland Terrapins some amount Virginia Cavaliers some amount + 6
Update from Maryland men's basketball's "secret" scrimmage at Virginia today:— Sam Oshtry (@soshtry) October 22, 2022
Virginia won the first 20 minute half by 4 and the second 20 minute half by 2. Julian Reese played well for the Terps and Ian Martinez played significant minutes.
A fairly good showing for B1G newcomer Kevin Willard as his Terrapins team took on preseason top 25 Virginia in Charlottesville and kept things competitive.
Maryland Terrapins vs. Villanova Wildcats no score reported
Update from Maryland basketball’s “secret” scrimmage at Villanova:— Sam Oshtry (@soshtry) October 29, 2022
Maryland won the first half by double digits and lost the second half by 4. An overall win against the preseason No. 16 team in the country, albeit without a couple key guys.
Donta Scott stood out for the Terps.
Important to note that Villanova was missing a couple of contributors but Maryland’s two scrimmage results do have me second guessing my preseason thoughts on them just a little bit. Not enough to go back and change my predictions on the master OTE spreadsheet because I am lazy. But they might just be a tournament team.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida State Seminoles no score reported
The Wolverines flew down to Orlando to play Florida State. This is an example of a good secret scrimmage matchup as FSU has a lot of height and length and this is a good test of how Michigan (who will normally have the size advantage inside with Dickinson) deals with a more neutral matchup in the post.
Unfortunately for those of us interested in what happened, the only people talking about this scrimmage are behind pay walls. I’m not paying for access to something that is probably just message board rumors and I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing information behind pay walls (unless I can get that information elsewhere) so all we can say is that its possible BoilerUp89’s favorite ACC coach ran circles around Juwan Howard and blocked all the counterpunches by the Michigan team.
Michigan State Spartans vs. Tennessee Volunteers no score reported
Sparty supposedly held their own against the Volunteers. They are rumored to have shot well, played only an 8 man rotation, and had issues with turnovers. Jaden Akins did not play as he is recovering from a foot injury. Malik Hall got to the FT line 13 times.
Izzo and Barnes are two of the more experienced college coaches out there and don’t seem overly interested in letting outsiders know what happened. This has been pretty typical of Sparty’s secret scrimmages in recent years but at least we got some chickenfeed statements from the local press.
Minnesota Gophers vs. Colorado State Rams no score reported
Roll the tape
John Tonje is going to be electric this year! pic.twitter.com/UH6k7JAELq— Nicholas Tofflemeyer (@NTofflemeyer) October 24, 2022
Minnesota supposedly lost by 4 to last year’s NCAA tournament team Colorado State. The good news is that Jamison Battle did not play and Dawson Garcia only played limited minutes but looked really good on the court. I’m a little surprised Niko Medved stuck around in Fort Collins after last year as this season will probably be a little bit of a rebuild. The Rams are still a solid top 100 type team though. A close loss by Minnesota without major contributions from two of their better players is promising.
Nebraska Cornhuskers 62 Colorado Buffaloes 71 (charity exhibition)
Nebraska played at Colorado in a charity exhibition. While I’m all for charity (this one drew 3360 fans with proceeds going to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund), games against regional rivals should just be non-conference games. That’s how you build a basketball rivalry and fanbase.
As for the game, Colorado led the whole way and didn’t allow a point for the first six minutes of play. The Buffaloes were able to score at will in the paint and comfortably won despite an off shooting night from three point range. The Huskers were down by as many as 17, but closed the lead to five at one point. Three Huskers were in double figures for scoring: Bandoumel (14), Gary (11), and Griesel (10).
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Iowa State Cyclones no score reported
For the second consecutive year, the two programs met in Davenport, Iowa (180 miles either way). Only thing I’ve found on the game is one Iowa State message board claiming their two secret scrimmage results were similar to last year. For context, Iowa State lost to Creighton in their other game and I believe they split their scrimmages last season when they also beat Northwestern but were blown out in their other game.
Ohio State Buckeyes 67 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 80
Finally. An actual score from a closed scrimmage.
In rural West Virginia, the Buckeyes and Demon Deacons faced off. Wake Forest won the scrimmage. Early in the second half, the Deacons blew open what had been a close game and pulled ahead by as many as 20 points before a Buckeyes rally made the final score more respectable. Ten players saw game action for the Buckeyes. Zed Key had a double-double and Brice Sensabaugh led the team in scoring.
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Rhode Island Rams no score reported
Our old friend Archie Miller now leads the Rams. Penn State supposedly won but neither team looked great. As the Penn State basketball fanbase is limited in number, nobody bothered to discuss this scrimmage on any Penn State message boards. I was more surprised that the Rhode Island fans also weren’t discussing it.
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. George Mason Patriots no score reported
Penn State gets close win over George Mason in a scrimmage, per source.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) October 30, 2022
Victor Bailey and Josh Oduru best players for Mason.
Jalen Pickett, Andrew Funk and Seth Lundy best players for the Nittany Lions.
Jeff Goodman took pity on us and granted us some limited information on the state of the Nittany Lions team.
Purdue basketball does not believe in the secret part of the “secret scrimmage”. Although there wasn’t a full box score released like there has been in years past - many stats were reported not only by media members by even by the Purdue basketball twitter feed. I’ll be honest if it wasn’t for Purdue basketball continually getting my hopes up that leaks of these closed scrimmages might become a thing, this article wouldn’t exist.
My undergrad beat my grad school by 13 points at Marian University in Indianapolis. The Boilermakers led by 21 with eight minutes to play. Smith, Loyer, Morton, Gillis, and Edey were the starters. Edey shot poorly from the field but made up for it at the FT line and had ten rebounds. Smith had 12 points, 2 steals, and three turnovers. Kaufman-Renn had 15 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. Newman also chipped in 14 points off the bench. Furst had seven fouls and did not make a field goal. Two Bearcats committed six fouls while Indiana transfer Rob Phinisee scored just 1 point in 27 minutes of play.
Overall the Boilers shot 8 of 20 from beyond the arc, committed 12 turnovers, and went 25 of 31 from the FT line. Cam Heide and Brian Waddell filled out the back end of the rotation with 10 and 8 minutes respectively.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. North Carolina Tarheels no score reported
I’m told that Tate Frazier said UNC won by “15-20” on Titus and Tate last week.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 78 Fairfield Stags 65 (charity exhibition)
Omoruyi had 19 points (including a three pointer), 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks and is starting to look like the next great B1G center that many of us thought he would become. Paul Mulcahy chipped in with ten assists, seven points, and six rebounds. Caleb McConnell did not play.
The final score was closer than I would have expected but without McConnell and with a lot of new roles being defined it’s somewhat understandable. More concerning is that Rutgers attempted just 13 three pointers and only made 4 of them. Only six players went over 10 minutes with all five starters playing over 30 minutes. Rutgers may have a depth issue this season.
wisconsin Badgers vs. Northern Iowa Panthers no score reported
Not many details about the closed scrimmage between the #Badgers and Northern Iowa yesterday but Greg Gard just said UW “never trailed.” So I think it’s safe to say UW won.— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) October 24, 2022
Northern Iowa hails from the Missouri Valley Conference - which while one of the better mid-major conferences (and Arch Madness is one of my favorite conference tournaments) is definitely not a high major like the American, Mountain West, or Atlantic Ten. At least Northern Iowa is one of the better Valley teams and Gard seems to have a working relationship with UNI’s head coach Ben Jacobson as they’ve played closed scrimmages for a few years.
Illinois 87, Quincy 52
Indiana 78, Marian 42
Indiana 104, St. Francis (IN) 59
Iowa 118, Truman State 72 - so Fran still doesn’t believe in defense. Never change Fran. Never change.
Michigan 88, Ferris State 75 - bit close for a top 25 caliber team
Michigan State 73, Grand Valley State 56
Minnesota 71, St. Olaf 55 - hmm....
Nebraska 87, Chadron State 60
Northwestern 69, Quincy 49
Ohio State 101, Chaminade 57
Purdue 102, Truman State 57
wisconsin 76, Eau Claire 45
Are you excited for this year’s basketball season?
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YES! IT’S FINALLY HERE!
My team is winning it all. National champions!
Isn’t this a football blog?
Whatever the bar has on