Wednesday, January 4th
MaximumSam: Don’t look now, but Michigan is now 3-0 in the Big Ten, in first place, and heading to East Lansing. Perhaps the talk of shooting Juwan Howard into the sun woke the team up, because since the Central Michigan Incident they’ve been pretty locked in on defense. Jalen Pickett got his (26 points and 9 rebounds) but the rest of the team went 7/26 from 3. Michigan also got contributions from more than two guys, as both guards landed in double figures and Joey Baker hit three 3’s.
MaximumSam: There’s really one stat that explains this game. Northwestern went 32/40 from the stripe. Illinois went 6/10. Make no mistake, this is not blaming the refs. Illinois can’t attack the basket and isn’t helping timely on defense, leading to things like Robbie Beran dunking on Dain Dainja’s face (and getting fouled).
MNW: Northwestern is going to ugly up any game they can get their hands on — that includes Boo Buie missing his first 10 shots and the ‘Cats still winning comfortably. What it HASN’T typically included is Northwestern going +20 in FT attempts and offensive rebounding like their hair was on fire. It isn’t going to be pretty in Evanston, but this ‘Cats club fights, and it’s fun to watch.
Thumpasaurus: Lol I made the right call.
Men’s team is cooked. I don’t know why they can’t play basketball but they can’t play basketball. An experienced point guard would do wonders for this team.
Thursday, January 5th
#61 Maryland Terrapins (10-4, 1-2) at #12 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-4, 2-1), 5:30 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: Maryland looked completely helpless on their trip to Michigan and got eviscerated. Now they head to the RAC to take on the country’s third ranked defense. Previous efforts against UCLA (7th) and Tennessee (1st) went very poorly. If Kevin Willard has some magic dust to sprinkle on his offense, he had better get to sprinkling. Rutgers is up to 12th on the Torvik scale and is fresh off of dumping Purdue into a lake; we’ll see if they have any letdown. Torvik says Rutgers, 65-57.
#9 Purdue Boilermakers (13-1, 2-1) at #11 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-3, 2-0), 6 pm, FS1
MaximumSam: The current FancyStat leaders in the Big Ten square off in Columbus in what should be a pretty fun game. Should be, though I’m not sure the Buckeyes can do anything with Zach Edey. The book on Purdue is pretty much out now - do whatever you can to limit Edey and hope they don’t make open threes. Given Purdue is 308th in the country in three point shooting, that’s a fair tradeoff. The question is do the Bucks have anyone they can throw at him who he doesn’t just chuck into the stands. Torvik picks the Buckeyes, 72-69.
#27 Indiana Hoosiers (10-3, 1-1) at #60 Iowa Hawkeyes (8-6, 0-3), 8 pm, FS1
MaximumSam: Iowa, now 0-3 in the conference, has to try and dig itself out of a hole against the Hoosiers. They’ll have to do it without Patrick McCaffery, who announced he’s taking a leave of absence to deal with anxiety issues. It’s a tough loss for them, as they were already struggling to shoot straight and he’s one of their better shooters. We will see two of the conference’s best in TJD and Kris Murray. TJD recently shared some of his fan mail, which included a handwritten NastyGram where a Hoosier fan lamented that TJD was not the “awesome leader” that Calbert Cheaney was. Pro-tip, never start your crazy letters talking about how it’s illegal for the reader to see them. Anyway, Torvik says Iowa, 77-76.