Wednesday, December 7th
MaximumSam: A.J. Hoggard must read this blog and saw me questioning his game in the preview, because he went after PSU and scored 23. I was high on Sparty because of their two experienced guards, and for one game at least, they made me look good, as Tyson Walker added 14 and both helped control a close game down the stretch. The Nits played well, and Jalen Pickett had 17 rebounds to go along with his 13 points. But they missed 19 threes and couldn’t keep Hoggard out of the lane.
BoilerUp89: Penn State will need to make more three pointers to win conference games. They shot below 30% in this game and as a team that relies on three point shooting as much as they do, that isn’t going to cut it. AJ Hoggard had a great game for Sparty and was joined by Tyson Walker and Joey Hauser in double figures.
MaximumSam: All we can say is that the Hoosiers lucked out that Weasel Griesel wasn’t available for the Huskers. Otherwise they would have been doomed. I suppose TJD dropping a triple double is worth a mention, just to keep Hoosier fans from getting in their feelings.
BoilerUp89: If Indiana is going to shoot 44% from three, they are going to win a lot of games. The Huskers dared Indiana to make threes and for once the Hoosiers obliged. Tamar Bates went 5/8 from the perimeter while Trey Galloway went 4/6. Getting contributions for just one of these guys on a regular basis would be huge for an offense that has relied heavily on TJD and Xavier Johnson. Because Nebraska packed the paint (this was the correct decision by the way even though it didn’t work out) TJD had just 12 points but he was able to get 10 assists and 11 rebounds to get just the third triple-double in Indiana history.
Purdue Boilermakers 85, Hofstra Pride 66
MaximumSam: This game was played. Dozens of fans watched.
BoilerUp89: This game wasn’t televised. Zach Edey had a 23 point, 18 rebound night. Braden Smith, Caleb Furst, Fletcher Loyer, and Trey Kaufman-Renn were all in double figures as Mason Gillis missed another game due to injury. This game was over after a 20-2 start. Word on the street is that Purdue’s defense wasn’t the greatest - but I’ll note that a) they were up 18 points six minutes into the game and b) their defensive efficiency numbers for the season actually improved after this game. Shout out to Amar’e Marshall, a freshman at Hofstra, who had 24 points.
Thursday, December 8th
#33 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-2) at #31 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-2), 6 pm, ESPN2
MaximumSam: The Buckeyes tip off their Big Ten schedule, and look to be in a familiar place. While I thought they would struggle offensively but improve defensively, their numbers so far have been more Iowa-like than anything, ranking 4th in adjusted offense but 104th in defense. Here comes Rutgers, sporting the reverse stats, ranking 5th in defense but 163rd on offense. We get a battle between two of the better big men in Cliff Omoruyi and Zed Key. Key has been, surprisingly, OSU’s best player. It’s questionable whether he can keep that level of production in conference play, but another great game tonight and maybe I’ll start believing. Torvik picks the Buckeyes, 69-65.
BoilerUp89: The Omoruyi-Key matchup is most intriguing to me. While the headliners are Omoruyi and Key, I suspect the game actually comes down to how the guards do. Freshman Derek Simpson will play his first conference road game which can always be interesting and the Buckeyes quartet of freshman will get their fresh B1G experience. The teams are built completely different. The Buckeyes play offense but struggle on defense and the Scarlet Knights are the opposite. The best matchups will be with the Buckeyes on offense and Rutgers on defense, but I suspect the alternative may be more fun.
#29 Iowa State Cyclones (7-1) at #25 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2), 7 pm, FS1
MaximumSam: Iowa could really use another decent OOC win, as Seton Hall hasn’t looked good. The Cyclones won’t be an easy out - they’ve been strong defensively, ranking 6th in the country. However, they have been somewhat of a mess on offense. Their leading scorer, Jaren Holmes, has been good from three but bad from two and the free throw line. They miss a lot of shots, so the question will be if the Hawkeyes can get the rebounds and get on the break. The Cyclones ranked 31st in offensive rebounding, so there’s a good chance we get Fuchsia Fran tonight. Torvik goes Iowa 71-67.
BoilerUp89: I’m not quite ready to say Iowa needs this non-conference win since their best non-conference win to date is Clemson (a middle tier ACC team), but if they don’t get it, their resume is going to be only their B1G schedule. The most interesting stat of this game for me is Iowa’s turnovers. Iowa turns the ball over the least in the country. Iowa State’s defense generates the most turnovers in the nation. Neither Iowa’s offense nor Iowa State’s defense is elite outside of the turnover category so this seems like the thing the game will hinge on.
Iowa State has 7 seniors and 3 freshman. Those are the people who have played this year. Yes, Gabe Kalscheur is still hooping.
#66 Michigan Wolverines (5-3) at #169 Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-4), 8 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: Michigan got a tough break with Jaelin Llewellyn being out for the season. He hasn’t been good yet this year, but Michigan’s point guard depth is now pretty much freshman Dug McDaniel, who has been terrible. It’s possible they move Kobe Bufkin to the point, or just scrap having guards and run everything with Jett Howard and Hunter Dickinson. For Minnesota’s part, they could really use a good Jamison Battle. Since returning from injury, his shooting has been really rough, including 35% from two, which is almost 20 points lower than his average last year. Torvik goes with Michigan, 69-65.
BoilerUp89: Llewellyn’s injury is important for Michigan. While he hasn’t scored at the rate expected, he’s been an important cog in getting the offense settled and a veteran presence in the backcourt. Luckily for Michigan, they get what is considered an easy opponent in B1G play to figure out how to play without him. Dickinson hasn’t been as good as Zach Edey this year, but considering Edey outrebounded Minnesota by himself, expect Dickinson to have a big game. Somebody, anybody needs to step up and help out Dawson Garcia and Ta’Lon Cooper for the Gophers. We thought that would be Battle, but he’s had a rough start to the year since he returned from injury. Pharrel Payne looked decent in the Purdue game, perhaps he will get more minutes tonight?