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Purdue at Michigan, Iowa at Maryland: Big Ten Men’s Basketball Midweek Previews

All the Michigan makeups start with a Purdue matchup, and Iowa heads to the tumbling Terps. Can the Hawks avoid a bad loss? Come find out—and talk about all the Big Ten basketball this week!

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Iowa
Donta Scott, doing impressions of every Iowa and Maryland fan ever
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, February 8

#14 Wisconsin Badgers at #17 Michigan State Spartans

6pm | BTN | MSU -4.5 | O/U 139.5

Green Akers: Recent results suggest MSU is due for an “up” game, so I feel ok about the win and probably even the cover. That said, something like 57-52 entirely covers that possibility, so I’ll likely still be feeling some reflux regardless of win or loss.

Beez: We’ve been instructed to discuss refs and ref-related issues in our previews, so here we go:

Top 3 reasons you’ll complain about the refs during Wisconsin-MSU: The Rematch

  1. Michigan States endless stream of uncalled illegal moving screens that they’ve been running for two decades.
  2. Johnny Davis getting tripled teamed on a drive and smashed in the head but no fouls.
  3. Literally any time Brad Davison touches the ball or is around the guy with the ball and the refs don’t automatically call a “we’re mad about a foul from three years ago you dirty piece of shit” technical.

On the the game—Michigan State cruises. They always get up for games against Wisconsin—their true rival—and still have the same mismatches that let them roll Wisconsin at Wisconsin two weeks ago.

“But Tyler Wahl is back!” you might say. Doesn’t matter. With a full squad in their last two games, Wisconsin shot like 6/50 from 3, got steamrolled by Kofi Cockburn, and almost lost to Penn State. It’s not gonna go well tonight.

Kind of...: Beez is a wise man. Right now, the hope for UW is they stay in the top 4 so they don’t risk a 5/12 or 5/13 loss in the B1G tournament. Everything else is gravy.

misdreavus79: I have no opinions on the game, but this right here is the content y’all signed up for!

#13 Illinois Fighting Illini at #3 Purdue Boilermakers

8pm | ESPN | Purdue -6 | O/U 148

BoilerUp89: The spread is almost certainly too high. But I suppose the degenerate gamblers of OTE can better speak on that than me.

Kofi isn’t going to take over this game like he did Wisconsin. Purdue actually has some post players to keep him under 30 points. Shooting from 3-point range and getting the other team’s stars in foul trouble will determine the outcome of this game. Choo, choo.

Thumpasaurus: Kofi will definitely not score 37, but also I think he’ll make it more than 22 minutes without fouling out this time. Even given that Purdue does have the size to deal with him, he was super bad against them last time and was clearly frustrated by two early fouls nailing him to the bench. He’ll play more this time, as will Omar Payne, which may or may not be a good thing.

On the other hand, we will definitely not get 20 starter quality minutes out of Bosmans-Verdonk.

Trent Frazier has really been coming on lately. He and Da’Monte Williams have been a fantastic tag team for on-ball perimeter defense. This most recent iteration of Illinois Basketball has tended to show up in a big way for games like this, especially on the road. They tend to keep their faceplants limited to lower-profile opponents.

Tough ask to take down Purdue on the road, but I don’t believe there’s anyone in the country we can’t play with. We’re better than when we played Purdue last, and we’re better than when we narrowly lost to Arizona. There’s no reason this shouldn’t be the game of the year in the regular season. I can’t wait to take this ride.

Michigan Wolverines at Penn State Nittany Lions

8pm | ESPN2 | Michigan -2 | O/U 131.5

misdreavus79: It’s not a road game, thus, no need to be on #11PointsInAHalfWatch yet. Who knows, maybe Penn State actually makes this a game and wins it, but the way Michigan has been playing as of late gives me pause. Was it Purdue being lax on defense of was it Michigan figuring out how to make their shots? If it’s the latter, it’ll be a close loss. If it’s the former, Penn State has a chance.

Now, to answer my editor’s question:

@misdreavus79 why is penn state basketball

Well MNW, because how would you truly know happiness if you don’t first embrace suffering? To be a Penn State basketball fan is to welcome suffering with open arms. And I, and the dozens of us (dozens!) humbly serve our flaming bus, for one day it will engulf our enemies in the cinders it blesses us with day by day. All hail the flaming bus!

Indiana Hoosiers at Northwestern Wildcats

8pm | BTN | Northwestern -1 | O/U 137

MNW: Surely this line will have flipped by game time.

Anywho, a very special welcome back to Killer Mopp. When last these two teams met, they combined to play an incredibly stupid 2OT game where Armaan Franklin and Ali Durham lost the capacity to miss threes, and I expect nothing less tonight.

TJD will get his, but Pete Nance and/or Ryan Young should be able to match Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson inside. Could get spicy.

That means it’s up to Northwestern’s guards.


Wednesday, February 9

#16 Ohio State Buckeyes at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

6pm | BTN | Line, Total TBD

RU in VA: Thanks to BoilerUp—Rutgers is the MOST ERRATIC team in the country right now.

Don’t ever bet on them. They can bust an over by 20 points, finish a first half with 15, or shoot 75% from 3. I have no idea what’s going to happen here. It’s at home, which likely leans Rutgers. But Ohio State is good, which likely leans Ohio State.

MaximumSam: OSU has been pretty iffy on the road this year. Pretty unconvincing performances against Wiscy and Indiana, and even went to overtime against Nebraska. Heading to the RAC doesn’t inspire much confidence. They also got word that Seth Towns isn’t coming back this season. Couple that with no Justice Sueing and apparently no Eugene Brown, OSU is back to zero wings. “Can anyone guard Ron Harper” may be the story of the game.

Minnesota Gophers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

8pm | BTN | Line, Total TBD

WSR: For the love of any and all deities, please do not let us lose this game. We hopefully shouldn’t, because Nebraska isn’t good, but we’re not good either so this could be fun to watch to people who like awful basketball and desperation.

Thursday, February 10

Iowa Hawkeyes at Maryland Terrapins

6pm | ESPN2 | Iowa -4 | O/U 146.5

The movable object that is the Iowa defense meets the stoppable force that is the Maryland offense.

Honestly, most Terrapins fans seem to have moved onto thinking about who the Terps' next coach will be, so...

...hypothetically Maryland should offer some resistance at home. The Hawkeyes shouldn't be able to pick on the Terps inside, and Maryland has a little length that could slow down Keegan Murray through fouling him constantly. Just ask any Iowa fan ever.

#3 Purdue at Michigan

8pm | ESPN | Purdue -3.5 | O/U 145

BoilerUp89: Big road game for the Boilermakers coming just two days after an emotional victory to pull back into a tie for first place. Michigan is at home and in need of a big victory to boost their tournament resume. Since the two teams just faced off 5 days ago they will be familiar with one another.

A few things that give me reasons from optimism:

  • In the first matchup, Michigan shot 44.4% from three while Purdue shot just 27.8% from behind the arc. If percentages improve even a little bit towards their season respective averages, it should help overcome the difference in home court advantage from the change in venue.
  • Much complaining has been made by Purdue fans about having to play this game so close to the Illinois game. But Michigan is arguably more tired. Michigan is coming off two road games in the same stretch that Purdue had two home games and the Wolverines had to keep fighting to the final horn against Penn State. As a matter of fact, 4 of their 5 starters had to play 32+ minutes and the 5th played 28. Purdue meanwhile has a lot of depth - so much so that Brandon Newman (a starter for much of last season) can’t even get minutes regularly.
  • Purdue has already seen Michigan’s press and figured out how to break it via setting a pick on the guy guarding the ball handler. Michigan’s tired legs should also make their press less effective.
  • Against both Illinois and Michigan this past week, Matt Painter has been running more high ball screen action for Jaden Ivey and it’s worked really well. Part of this is because Dickinson and Cockburn are two of the short list of centers nationally that Purdue can’t just have Edey or Williams overwhelm in the low block. But the Ivey has been making good decisions with the ball in his hands and his ability to change speeds makes it very difficult for slow, lumbering centers to defend. If Dickinson isn’t in foul trouble and the game is close, look for Purdue to go to high ball screen action repeatedly in the second half like they did against the Illini.

Here’s your open thread for the week’s shootyhoops. Need betting advice? Thump has you covered with a homerific Big Ten bet of the day. Need to know what else to watch? I’ve got a schedule below. If I’m recommending the sickest, most reprehensible basketball of the day, it’s Evansville at Indiana State (6pm, ESPN+)—the Sycamores are bad but the Todd Lickliter-led Purple Aces are even worse. If you want to see some MACtion on the hardwood, Ohio at Toledo (6pm, ESPN3) is for the conference lead, with both at 10-1 heading down the stretch.

Great late-night stretch on Tuesday, too, with #12 UCLA at Stanford (10pm, ESPN2) and #22 Saint Mary’s at Santa Clara (10pm, ESPNU)...though I think there’s a sneaky good game at the Walter Pyramid as DAN MONSON’S 12-9 (7-1) Long Beach State hosts 14-6 (7-1) CSU Fullerton (9pm, ESPN+).

Behave, have fun, and for the love of dog don’t watch Minnesota-Nebraska.

(Kidding. You should totally watch it.)