Basketball today! A few big matchups, including a ranked showdown at the Breslin Center to tip off your Saturday morning!
Maybe you’re thinking “But what’s at stake? Sure, Indiana’s probably going to the NIT, but can they ruin anyone else’s seeding? How “on the bubble” is Michigan, really?
We talked bracketology just a day ago, in fact:
Now let’s get to the good stuff:
Men’s Basketball Schedule
Saturday, February 19
#12 Illinois Fighting Illini at #19 Michigan State Spartans
11am | ESPN | Illinois -1.5 | O/U 137.5
Green Akers: I have no idea, man. On the one hand, MSU has played dead in early to mid February like clockwork for the better part of a decade. On the other, Illinois is a way better team, and there’s no signs of the usual late-season rally.
Short of multiple Spartans just kinda…being a lot better, there’s no obvious route to consistency here. Feels like Illinois by like 8-10 points.
HWAHSQB: Well, our last game we lost by 11 on the road to a team we previously beat by 35 points. So we beat Sparta by one point at home, so I’m expecting a 45 point loss today.
Seriously though, losing to rutger at the RAC on a bad shooting night is just a thing that happens. However, a team that was previously among the best in the country at rebounding and was generally known for hard nose play and toughness getting outworked, outhustled, and outrebounded 45-27 is a thing that happens to teams to teams that are going nowhere. Illinois has been outrebounded in 6 of its last 8 games. Going on the road against a strong interior team sounds like a recipe for another loss.
In summary, Green Akers, my team wants to lose worse than yours!
Iowa Hawkeyes at #18 Ohio State Buckeyes
1:30pm | FOX | Ohio State -4.5 | O/U 152.5
3pm | ESPN | NU -3 | O/U 136
MNW: I have willingly spent money to attend this game. My wife even decided she wanted to attend. So if you’re a Gophers fan and see a large, miserable-looking man in a gray Northwestern sweatshirt, just leave me alone and let me die in peace.
Northwestern should be able to use their size and impose their will in this one, but lotta bricks gonna be laid today. Unless Payton Willis decides he can shoot—and the Gophers respond to Ben Johnson’s criticism after back-to-back egg-layings. Then the ‘Cats are fucked.
WSR: Someone has to be less-miserable after watching this game, and I hope it’ll be me. I doubt it, but I hope so. This team seems to have hit a wall, and having yet another game (4th in 7 days) is not ideal. Willis does seem to be the key, so hopefully he’s ready to go.
Sunday, February 20
12pm | CBS | Line, O/U TBD
Kind of...: UW has been playing better on the road than at home for most of the last month, and Michigan enters fresh off a road win in Iowa City, so hopefully Michigan is a little tired having played Thursday. Otherwise, Hunter Dickinson may go off, and it will be up to the UW defense to shut Michigan down from three.
Basically, this could look like UW/Indiana (TJD goes off, but Badgers win) or UW/Illinois (Kofi goes off, and Badgers lose), and it will mostly depend on what happens around the perimeter when Michigan has the ball.
4:30pm | FS1 | Line, O/U TBD
BoilerUp89: Big Ten play has proven to be scary and full of terrors. Your future 2022 national champions (Rutgers) travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on the underdog (I assume, not going to bother checking that) Boilermakers. The good news is that Rutgers has shown they are allergic to beating things associated with Marquis de La Fayette as they previously lost to Lafayette this season. So hopefully the change in venue will be enough to turn things around from the previous matchup between these two teams.
If it isn’t... well, I’m not super optimistic since Rutgers previously beat Purdue without Geo Baker and Purdue has entered their second stretch of thoroughly poor play this season in the past 3 games. Purdue doesn’t have anyone who can guard Ron Harper Jr. (in fact guarding the 4 position seems to be the biggest issue for this team). Meanwhile Rutgers is beating Top 25 teams left and right and sits just one game back in the loss column in the Big Ten standings.
Monday, February 21
Indiana Hoosiers at #18 Ohio State
6pm | FS1 | OSU -7 | O/U 135.5
6pm | ESPN2 | MD -2.5 | O/U 128.5
misdreavus79: Penn State has three road games left, and this is the most winnable of them all. If the Nittany Lions want to finish close to .500 in conference play, they need to get this win.
Of course, Maryland has already beaten much better teams at home*, so it’s not like beating the Terps is a foregone conclusion. But, for a team many pegged to finish at or near the top of the conference, one has to think there isn’t much Maryland is playing for anymore, which gives the Lions a perfect opportunity to grab another elusive road win in Big Ten play.
*Narrator: Maryland has only won one game at home in Big Ten play.
Here’s your thread for the day’s basketball. Schedule up in a little bit. Behave.