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Big Ten Basketball: Thursday Open Thread

The Illuminati are Rutgers

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Minnesota
Hey. Look at us. Here we are, together. And that’s what matters.
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday, January 18th

Nebraska Cornhuskers 63, Ohio State Buckeyes 60

MaximumSam: Well, hey, the NIT is a perfectly respectable tournament. It was created one year before the NCAA tournament and was often considered the superior event. This year, the finals will be held in Las Vegas, and who doesn’t want a spring time jaunt to Vegas? A little basketball, a little blackjack, maybe some Cirque du Soleil. Things are going great.

Thursday, January 19th

#10 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (13-5, 5-2) at #42 Michigan State Spartans (12-6, 4-3), 5:30 pm, FS1

MaximumSam: Sparty finds themselves shorthanded again, as Malik Hall aggravated his foot injury and is on the shelf for at least a couple weeks. It’s a tough loss both because Sparty is already thin and doesn’t really have anyone that can replace him. Meanwhile, Rutgers is firmly in the chase for the Big Ten crown with only two losses and a win over league leader Purdue. They also received a commitment on Sunday from Five Star forward Ace Bailey out of Georgia. The future of the Big Ten is coming up Rutgers. Torvik picks them here, too, 61-60.

BoilerUp89: Sparty looked really good on Monday without Hall against Purdue. If they can bring that same defensive effort and knock down jumpers, I like their odds in this one.

#6 Purdue Boilermakers (17-1, 6-1) at # 191 Minnesota Gophers (7-9, 1-5), 6pm, ESPN2

BoilerUp89: All the bots hate the Barn. Raze the Barn! Place Edey in bubble wrap.

#60 Michigan Wolverines (10-7, 4-2) at #76 Maryland Terrapins (11-6, 2-4), 6 pm, ESPN

MaximumSam: Last time, Michigan put an unholy whopping on the Terps, 81-46. Since then, Maryland beat Ohio State (but who hasn’t) and got drilled by Rutgers and Iowa. They are at home, but they still get Hunter Dickinson’s weird irrational anger towards the program. He hasn’t been phenomenal this season, but he did drop 32 in the last game and seemingly wants to punish the entire state for not sending him enough recruiting postcards. Torvik goes Terps, 72-70.

BoilerUp89: Maryland has a height problem. Hunter Dickinson also hates Turtles. Could get ugly.

#52 Indiana Hoosiers (11-6, 2-4) at #31 Illinois Fighting Illini (13-5, 4-3), 7:30 pm, FS1

Thumpasaurus: It continues to be impossible to know what to expect from the Fighting Illini in any given game. There has been slightly less standing around on offense since Jayden Epps took over the lead guard role, but defense continues to be sporadic except for in one category: blocks.

This inspired me to write up a whole treatise on how overrated blocks are as a stat.

Illinois is second in the country averaging 6.3 blocks per game, but it’s not clear what they do with these blocks.

Anyway, the state of Coleman Hawkins is so important to Illinois. The Illini cannot survive an entire game of him being shitty, airballing logo threes early in the shot clock and suffering controller disconnects on defense where he just kind of freezes for a couple seconds. He wasn’t very good for most of the Michigan State game, but he woke up and hit a couple deep balls late in the game to spark a run that put it out of reach.

Flip a coin, man. There’s no ceiling for Illinois, and there’s also no floor.

Hey remember when this game was supposed to determine who won the conference? Lol.

BoilerUp89: An Indiana win would here would make me feel better about Purdue’s conference odds.