Michigan State 74, Southern Indiana Eagles 51
MaximumSam: Sparty played some stifling defense, as Southern Indiana didn’t get to double figures until late in the first half. Unfortunately, they still aren’t shooting straight and are a combined 2/31 from three in their first two games.
BoilerUp89: We all thought Michigan State’s three point shooting would improve from 5% in their first game. Technically we were correct as it improved to 9% in game two. Perhaps Joey Hauser was much more important than we all thought? Izzo remains unhappy with defense and rebounding. It’s easy to see why with rebounding. Michigan State gave up 13 offensive boards to the Eagles and only outrebounded them by two.
Nebraska 81, Florida A&M Rattlers 54
MaximumSam: Still no Tominaga, but no sweat for the Huskers. Rienk Mast led all scorers and added 16 rebounds. Will we need to nickname Mast this year? Mastodon? Raise the Mast? We will workshop that one.
BoilerUp89: I’m a fan of Mast and he’s a large part of why I was higher on the Cornhuskers than most of the rest of OTE’s writers in the preseason predictions. Let’s not overreact to games against Lindenwood and Florida A&M though. I want to see how he does against better quality competition that has similar size in the post before we come up with a nickname. That could be awhile.
#245 Youngstown State Penguins at #48 Michigan Wolverines (-17.5), 5:30 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: Michigan looks to keep it rolling against Jarrod Calhoun’s Penguins. Luckily for Michigan, Jim Tressel retired as president earlier this year for YSU. The Penguins won the Horizon League last season, but they lost a bunch of starters and their first game against Louisiana Lafayette. The best returnee is guard Brandon Rush, who averaged 14 points last season on 60/38/79 splits. Torvik goes Michigan, 87-68.
BoilerUp89: Youngstown State started the season with a 62-72 loss to last year’s Sun Belt champions Louisiana. The Penguins shot 8.7% from three in that one or they might have made a game of it. I’ll be watching to see if Michigan’s game 1 domination of Asheville was a fluke or a sign that Michigan has done addition by subtraction.
#225 Morehead State Eagles at #1 Purdue Boilermakers (-28.5), 6 pm
MaximumSam: Morehead State comes in off of a dominating win over the Pride of Portsmouth, Ohio: Shawnee State University. Shawnee State won the national championship in 2021, at least in the NAIA, and I will let you know I have a national championship tshirt from that season, when they were led by Nigerian Terror E.J. Onu. Anyways, Morehead State also lost by 32 to Alabama. Torvik goes Purdue, 78-55.
BoilerUp89: I used to work with a bunch of Shawnee State graduates. Small world. Anyway, Morehead won the Ohio Valley Conference last year by three games, but it was the first year of an OVC without longtime favorites Belmont and Murray State so the conference strength was weaker than previous seasons. The Eagles will try to slow the game down and play slow. They do have a 7 footer on the roster to guard Edey in Dieonte Miles, a former Xavier player whom I’ve watched in person many times. Unfortunately for Morehead, Miles exited the game against Alabama early and did not play against Shawnee State. I haven’t been able to find any news on a potential injury. If he can go, Miles will likely foul out of this game and he’s been a walking foul on defense throughout his career.
#9 Texas A&M Aggies at #50 Ohio State Buckeyes (-0.5), 6 pm, Peacock
MaximumSam: Hey, the Big Ten has a real live opponent in TAMU, who return a bunch of guys from a team that finished second in the SEC and made the tourney (where they were bounced by Penn State). It starts with the SEC preseason Player of the Year Wade Taylor, a point guard who has no fear of scoring and making plays. Joining him is Old Friend and former Spartan Julius Marble, who contributes to the TAMU philosophy of attack the glass at all costs. Could be a rough night for the Buckeyes unless Zed Key can block out four guys by himself. Torvik goes Aggies, 71-70.
MNW: I never doubt the sweaty potato.
BoilerUp89: I don’t think Texas A&M is the 9th best team in the country whatever the advanced metrics say. However, I do think that it’s important to acknowledge that they are a well oiled machine with experience playing together. Ohio State looked out of sorts in their opener and is clearly still getting up to speed. I think that costs them year barring a terrific shooting night.
#350 Boston University Terriers at #57 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-19.5), 6 pm
MaximumSam: The Knights try to get in the win column against the Dunkin Donuts of Boston. Boston has already lost to Northeastern, though they were led in scoring by a freshman, Kyrone Alexander. We know what to do with freshmen, right? Get those trash cans ready. Torvik picks Rutgers, 75-63.
BoilerUp89: Boston is shooting the three point shot better than Rutgers so far this season and freshman guard Kyrone Alexander is part of that going 3 of 5 in the Terriers opener. Rutgers should still bounce back tonight as long as they remain focused when it comes to defense and rebounding. If they somehow fall to 0-2, it’s going to be a long season.
#34 Maryland Terrapins (-10.5) v. #210 Davidson Wildcats, 6 pm, ESPNU
MaximumSam: Hey we already have RandoTourneys, as Maryland heads to Asheville, North Carolina, for the Asheville Championship. The winner/loser plays UAB or Clemson on Sunday for what I assume is the deed to the Biltmore House. Davidson lost their two top scorers from last year, including Old Friend Foster Loyer.
It’s unclear who will be their leaders this year, though guard Grant Huffman led them in shots and assists in their first game against Washington & Lee, a university known as the burial ground for Robert E. Lee’s horse. Torvik goes Maryland, 77-63.
BoilerUp89: How far has Davidson fallen since Matt McKillop took over for his father Bob? We find out tonight whether last year was a one year learning curve season or the drop off is real. Davidson’s scoring was balanced among their starters in their opener. Look for them to share the ball.
#248 Lehigh Mountain Hawks at #153 Penn State Nittany Lions (-15.5), 6:30 pm
MaximumSam: Nothing is promised for Penn State this year. Lehigh isn’t good, and already lost to Cornell, but they do have a pair of solid guards in Keith Higgins and Tyler Whitney-Sydney. They will play a lot of small ball and hopefully PSU remembers practice from last year when they played a ton of small ball.
That line looks a little wide, if you ask me. Torvik goes PSU 78-69.
BoilerUp89: I don’t think Penn State remembers last season. Most of the players are new to the roster. Rebounding was an issue for Penn State in their season opener against Delaware State. If it remains an issue against Lehigh, then we officially have a problem in Pennsylvania. Lehigh will launch from three point range without hesistation.
#267 UTSA Roadrunners at #118 Minnesota Golden Gophers (-12.5), 6:30, Peacock
MaximumSam: Well, Peacock had to pick some games to put on television and they picked...this one. Torvik goes Gophs, 82-68.
MNW: I’m really curious as to whether anyone from Minnesota is actually going to subscribe to Peacock just to watch a Minnesota-UTSA basketball game. What will NBC’s takeaway be?
BoilerUp89: It’s an interesting choice as I think Minnesota basketball fans are already checked out. The Roadrunners do have some size in the post so Minnesota can’t just bully them and will have to outplay them. That being said, UTSA doesn’t appear to be too great of a team. They escaped Western Illinois in overtime.
#245 Oakland Golden Grizzlies at #31 Illinois Fighting Illini (-23.5), 7 pm
MaximumSam: Oakland nearly beat OSU on Monday, though if you listen to their coach he says he watched film of the Buckeyes all summer. Perhaps they will have less fight for the Illini, since he’s only watched their film since Monday.
Old Friend Rocket Watts put up a goose egg against the Buckeyes - let’s see if he remembers how to score against a Big Ten team. Torvik says Illini, 85-65.
BoilerUp89: Our first comparison point between two Big Ten teams. I think Oakland’s game against the Buckeyes said more about the youth of Ohio State than it did about Oakland, but we will find out. The Illini defense was terrific in game 1 and they found ways to score inside of the arc. Will the three point shooting and free throw percentage improve in game 2? Will Dainja get more run? Is Gibbs-Lawhorn a true impact freshman? These are questions I want to find out in addition to being able to make comparisons between the Illini and Buckeyes.
#327 Alabama State Hornets at #43 Iowa Hawkeyes (-28.5), 7 pm, Peacock
MaximumSam: Man, there are a lot of games tonight. Let’s just pretend I previewed this one, all right? Don’t tell anyone or I’ll sick Fran on you. Torvik goes Iowa, 92-66.
BoilerUp89: Alabama State only lost to Mississippi by 10. I’d be surprised if they keep that up. They were aided by awful Rebel shooting more than anything. I do expect Iowa to push for 100 again, because that’s what Fran does in the non-conference. Beat up on bad teams.
#67 Dayton Flyers at #39 Northwestern Wildcats (-4.5), 7:30 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: All right, this is more like it. No patsies here, and this should be a solid game. Dayton plays through big man DaRon Holmes, who is one of the best big men in the country, so Matt Nicholson will have his hands full. The rest of the roster wants to beat you up, so we could have a revolving wheel of elbows tonight.
Both of these teams played extremely slow last season, so expect more blood than points. Torvik says Cats, 65-59.
MNW: One thing I’ve appreciated about Nicholson is his defensive ability—I’m genuinely intrigued to see how he handles Holmes, while MaxSam rightly notes that this is going to turn into a street fight.
It’ll be good to see how the ‘Cats slow Dayton off the dribble, hedging on pick-and-rolls and forcing them to shoot you off the court. Their length will slow Brooks Barnhizer, who needs to learn to create his own shot, while who knows where Boo Buie is concerned. Let’s see how it goes!
BoilerUp89: It’s not the game of the night, but it may be the most important one for tournament resumes. Dayton and Northwestern are both hoping to be under consideration come Selection Sunday and this game will be a big piece of that resume for either of them. DaRon Holmes is a star, but Nicholson is a plus defender in the post so perhaps he can slow Holmes down just a bit. Both teams what to play defense, slow the game down, and mug the opponents. Expect a physical game that hopefully doesn’t become too chippy.
#5 Tennessee Volunteers at #29 Wisconsin Badgers (+2.5), 8 pm, Peacock
MaximumSam: The trifecta of Real Games concludes with the Vols invading the Kohl. Tennessee was picked to win the SEC by the media. Rick Barnes and the Vols play relentless defense and hope to score, which for Barnes has been a great combo for regular season success, but not so much in the tourney.
Since we are in the regular season, the Badgers had better be on notice. The Vols return a bunch of guys from a Sweet Sixteen team last year, including the greatly named Santiago Vescovi. Since both of these teams are comfortable playing slow and playing defense, we could have an Iowa football game break out. Torvik says this is a pick’em.
BoilerUp89: Tennessee has the benefit of having already played at Michigan State - albeit in an exhibition - so they shouldn’t be intimidated by the Kohl center. While the Badgers broke 100 for the first time in five years (and 90 for the first time in three years) against Arkansas State, Tennessee has a defense. A really good defense. If you are a gambler, hammer the under. The total was set way too high for two defensive teams that like to slow things down.