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Big Ten Basketball: Saturday Open Thread

The Great Battle of Michigan Misery

Syndication: Lansing State Journal
He’s the one who stole the cream cheese! That’s him!

Thursday, January 5th

Purdue Boilermakers 71, Ohio State Buckeyes 69

MaximumSam: As a Buckeye fan, this game made me sad. As a basketball game, it made me pretty happy. Freshmen were the name of the game, as Brice Sensabaugh and Braden Smith led each team with 21 and 16, respectively. OSU led most of the way even with losing Zed Key to a shoulder injury early in the first half. They were undone mostly by Purdue shooting 42% from three, well above their season average. It was a very clean game - only 22 fouls were called in total. After seeing so many wrestling matches it was nice to see some basketball, even if I watched my Buckeyes lose their best player and a late lead against a top ranked foe for the second time in a week. #notsalty

BoilerUp89: Ohio State built an early double digit lead as Purdue started out cold, but missed a couple of opportunities to stretch it out further and only led by three at the half as Purdue took advantage of offensive rebounds to get a bunch of second chance points.

One wonders what would have happened if Key played, but Brandon Newman missed the majority of the game for Purdue as well (reportedly he wasn’t feeling well, but I don’t have details) so both teams were down a big contributor.

A back and forth second half was entertaining. Painter’s use of end of game timeouts was fantastic and the Boilers made just enough plays to take home the victory in what used to be a house of horrors. Recently though, Purdue is 4-1 in their last 5 games in Columbus. More importantly, Purdue now has a .500 or better record against every Big Ten team until at least February 19.

Iowa Hawkeyes 91, Indiana Hoosiers 89

MaximumSam: Now this is Iowa basketball. Down 21 in the first half? Who cares. Fran got T’d up after having another Frantrum, then somehow intimidated the refs into taking the T back? That’s some next level Franning. TJD and Kris Murray put on a show, each dropping 30. Jalen Hood-Schifino showed a lot, too, dropping 21 and dishing 9 assists. But all five Hawkeye starters got to double digits and Iowa finally got into the win column in the B1G. Tough loss for the Hoosiers, but the bigger loss may be Race Thompson, who suffered a knee injury and was on crutches. Indiana is getting awfully thin.

BoilerUp89: The loss of Race Thompson to possibly season ending injury is devastating. Down two starters, Indiana is now the TJD and JHS show. That’s probably not enough offense, but especially when you get into a track meet with Iowa.

Really not sure what happened with the technical coming back. Might I suggest that the referees in that crew never call another B1G game. I have no ulterior motives.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 64, Maryland Terrapins 50

MaximumSam: A big yawner of a game, as Rutgers led nearly from start to finish and was up 18 in the second half. Maryland looks almost completely helpless against good defenses. They did finally get a decent performance out of Donald Carey, who went 4-8 form three. Rutgers continues to look like one of the frontrunners in the conference.

BoilerUp89: I still think Maryland has issues with teams that have good defensive post players. They score a lot of their points from inside the arc, but against defenses that can pack the paint and not be bullied by 6’7” and 6’8” guys they’ve struggled as they aren’t a good shooting team.

Rutgers is the best defense in the Big Ten. Possibly the best defense in the country. Would have been nice if they played any sort of a non-conference schedule to help out the conference, but no use crying about that now. The Scarlet Knights are going to be competitors for the conference crown throughout the season.

Saturday, January 7th

#92 Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-7, 1-3) at #215 Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-7, 0-3), 11 am, BTN/CBSSN

BoilerUp89: Nebraska has made some improvements in their play this season knocking off Iowa and giving Purdue a scare. But this is still a road game and they’ve been significantly worse on the road.

For Minnesota this represents their best remaining opportunity for a conference win.

MaximumSam: All right Minny. Here it is, your shot at glory in the conference, or at least a win. Torvik picks the Huskers, 62-59.

#57 Wisconsin Badgers (11-2, 3-0) at #47 Illinois Fighting Illini (9-5, 0-3), 12:30 pm, ESPN2

BoilerUp89: Just as everyone expected the Badgers are leading the conference standings. We will ignore the fact that the teams they’ve played are a combined 2-9 in B1G play. Tim Wahl’s ankle injury on Wednesday night looms large. He’s been the Badgers leading scorer as well as their second best rebounder. His status for Saturday remains unknown but he did not practice on Thursday.

The Illini (my preseason pick to win the conference) have seen the bottom fall out. This is a team that remains extremely talented (see their non-conference wins against Texas and UCLA), but they’ve hit some major locker room disagreements and have been lacking in cohesion for nearly a month. The latest development is Skyy Clark leaving stepping away from the team. Clark has been a key contributor and scored in double figures in all but 1 game he’s played in. There is still time for the Illini to figure it out, but they really need to do so in the next week as they have an upcoming schedule that presents them an opportunity for a winning streak they will need to salvage this season.

MaximumSam: Skyy Clark has left the program, which honestly might be addition by subtraction for the Illini, as his turnover rate almost doubled his assist rate. Hard to make any predictions here without knowing what Tyler Wahl’s status is. Torvik goes Illinois, 66-62.

#55 Michigan Wolverines (9-5, 3-0) at #54 Michigan State Spartans (10-4, 2-1), 1:30 pm, FOX

BoilerUp89: In state rivalry time! Can’t help but feel that Michigan gets a little bit of a break drawing the road game at East Lansing before the spring semester has started. I have no idea what to make of the Wolverines at this point as they are somehow 3-0 in B1G play (although similar to Wisconsin their opponents record is a combined 3-8 in B1G play) but lost to every non-conference team of note and Central Michigan.

Michigan State meanwhile seems to have gotten their legs under them with the return of Malik Hall. He hasn’t been a star in his first two games back, but this is a team that seems to play better with him on the court regardless of his output.

MaximumSam: We could have a banger on our hands, as these teams and programs hate each other, the FancyStats call them even, and they are both healthy and playing well. Kobe Bufkin has emerged as a third scorer for the Wolverines, which opens things up for Hunter Dickinson and takes pressure off of Jett Howard. Malik Hall played 12 and 18 minutes in his first two games coming back from injury, and figures to start and track Howard all game. I’m looking forward to a fun game. Torvik goes Sparty, 72-68.