There comes a point when the conference has to start winning some games against quality competition or our jokes about five NCAA tournament bids are going to become a reality. It hasn’t been that long since the conference only received 4 bids. There is nothing wrong with losing to Marquette or Creighton or Duke, but the Big Ten has to offset some of these losses with wins and it can’t just be Purdue and Michigan doing that work.
Providence Friars 72, Wisconsin Badgers 59
MaximumSam: Well. I predicted Wiscy to go 10-1 in their very tough nonconference slate, and apparently I know nothing. They got thumped by the Friars in a game that wasn’t competitive in the slightest. Wiscy got down 15 in the first half and was down 25 in the second before “only” losing by 13. Not too many bright spots: A.J. Storr had 22, and freshman John Blackwell looked the part. Also, Connor Essegian returned from injury but only played 6 minutes. Reporters asked Greg Gard if he was still limited by his injury, and Gard said they’d have to ask him. So things are going great.
BoilerUp89: This was not a 13 point game until Providence let off the gas with the win well in hand and the Badgers kept fighting to make the final score look more respectable. This game was approaching 30 point margin territory if Providence made some free throws. Providence got double digit scoring from 4 starters led by junior guard Devin Carter. The Badgers still have non-conference games remaining versus Virginia, Marquette, and Arizona.
MaximumSam: Welp. The good news is the vets showed up as Malik Hall, Tyson Walker, and Jaden Akins all played well. The three point shooting was just Not Great instead of Pathetic. But man, they didn’t get much from anyone else. A.J. Hoggard and Mady Sissoko combined for more fouls (6) than points (2). Xavier Booker only recorded a statistic because he missed a shot. Ryan Young had almost as many points (8) as MSU’s entire bench (10). Woof.
BoilerUp89: Michigan State actually played Duke closer than I thought they would. Tyson Walker had another great game with 22 points. Malik Hall and Jaden Akins joined him in making threes and getting to double figures. 65 points isn’t going to get the job done against quality competition most of the time though. Especially when you send your opponent to the free throw line 30 times. Carson Cooper in particular will have to learn to play defense without fouling. Sparty needed his rebounding on the court more last night - he outplayed starter Mady Sissoko but fouled out.
Penn State Nittany Lions 83, St. Francis 53
MaximumSam: Undefeated Penn State. Hang a banner.
BoilerUp89: Say what you will about Penn State’s weak schedule (I’ve said plenty), it is the beginning of a massive rebuild and they are winning the games so far.
MaximumSam: Another Big Ten game against a good opponent, and another L. This one was competitive, and was a three point game late, but the Illini couldn’t close the gap. Turnovers were expected, and the Illini committed 15. They couldn’t do much with Tyler Kolek, who dropped 24 with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Dain Dainja only played 4 minutes.
BoilerUp89: Free Dainja! Marquette is a guard heavy team. Why wouldn’t you force them to defend the paint against Dainja and try to get them out of their comfort zone?
Shannon had 21 points but 5 turnovers. Domask added 18 points and Goode 13. Together those three matched Marquette’s top three scorers at 52 points. Marquette got additional scoring from everyone that played, Illinois did not, and the Illini had 15 turnovers to Marquette’s 8. That was more than enough to hand Marquette the victory despite a subpar shooting night from three and the free throw line for the Golden Eagles.
Northwestern Wildcats 63, Western Michigan Broncos 59
MaximumSam: I would write about how close this game was, but hey, a win is a win at this point. Go Cats.
MNW: Northwestern did not rebound well. At all. Like, Western pulled down half their misses on the offensive glass.
If this becomes a trend, folks will point to this game as the reminder that Northwestern is extremely thin in the frontcourt—Matt Nicholson picked up some fouls and was ineffective, and at points the ‘Cats trotted out 6’7” Nick Martinelli as the tallest guy on the court. That is...a choice.
More concerning was that Boo Buie and Brooks Barnhizer had to play all but a minute of this one and scored 66% of the Wildcats’ points. Northwestern was bad (6/26) from deep, assisted on a low number of shots (12/23), and saved themselves by forcing 17 turnovers and making free throws. Frosh Jordan Clayton was a pleasant surprise at guard, logging 23 minutes, but only nabbed 3 points—and no ‘Cat other than the aforementioned duo scored more than 6.
On to Mohegan Sun to see our old friend Archie Miller and exact revenge on the Rammies for the 2010 NIT.
BoilerUp89: Nobody else mentioned the statistic in this article (we talked about it during last night thread at length) so I will. Western Michigan rebounds: 43. Northwestern rebounds: 21. It’s hard to win games when you get slaughtered on the boards that badly, but Northwestern did despite subpar shooting from behind the arc. That’s a testament to how bad Western Michigan is, but it’s still the best win the Big Ten had last night.
Creighton Bluejays 92, Iowa Hawkeyes 84
MaximumSam: It was an L, but it was a defense free L. We’ll take it. Ben CRIKEY led all scorers with 24, so get ready for Crocodile Hunter jokes all through conference play. If we aren’t winning on the court we will win with references to things our kids have never heard of.
BoilerUp89: Creighton is really, really good. They have a little bit of everything: shooting, rebounding, and a rim protector in Kalkbrenner. There is no shame in losing to them, especially when starting Bluejays guard Trey Alexander finished one assist short of a triple-double (23 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists). As amusing as Iowa basketball being the polar opposite of Iowa football is, the lack of defense puts a ceiling on this team despite what was again is a lethal offensive attack.
#290 Merrimack Warriors at #49 Ohio State Buckeyes (-21.5), 6 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: The Buckeyes look to get off the mat against the liberal elites of Merrimack. The Warriors look to take the air out of the ball and zone you up and force you to make shots. A pretty good strategy, really, against most Big Ten teams these days. They do have a freshman point guard in Budd Clark who has been surprisingly effective early. I hope Bruce Thornton brought his trash can. Torvik says Buckeyes, 76-57.
MNW: I wouldn’t have pegged a private Augustinian college as a liberal elite, but what do I know. Charlie Day is an alumnus of Merrimack, so go Warriors.
BoilerUp89: MaxSam must prefer the teaching of the Jesuits or Marianists.
The Warriors won the NEC regular season and conference tournament last year. Wait - why didn’t we see Merrimack in the NCAA tournament last year then? Because they were in their final season of transitioning to Division 1 and thus ineligible. The tournament runner up went in their place which is stupid. Nobody should have gone. The NCAA transition rules are dumb and I’ve been a firm believer of that since March 17. Merrimack is eligible to go to the NCAA tournament this year.
#195 Stony Brook Seawolves at #43 Nebraska Cornhuskers (-16.5), 7 pm
MaximumSam: Didn’t I already preview Nebraska like two days ago? Well, here they are again, and hopefully Keisei Tominaga can hit some shots and we can go back to thinking up cool nicknames for him. Stony Brook has gotten walloped by the two Division 1 teams they played in St. John’s and Duquesne. Torvik sees a similar result here, with Nebraska winning 78-63.
MNW: Yes, this is the elite, sought-after Cornhuskers Classic, AKA the Chickenshit MTE. Stony Brook gave us Steve Pikiell, so I’m mixed on them.
BoilerUp89: This is game 2 of the Cowards Classic. Every team must play all 3 of their MTE games within 10 days. Duquesne is the real challenge to Nebraska in this round robin MTE. Anyway, for Stony Brook Aaron Clarke has been their best player and is 6 of 12 from deep early on this season. Nebraska should guard him. The Seawolves also have some height on the roster, so Nebraska will have to fight for rebounds.
#153 Georgetown Hoyas at #63 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (-8.5), 7:30 pm, FS1
MaximumSam: Ed Cooley’s old team whipped Wisconsin, let’s see how his new team does with Rutgers. They are coming off a one point loss to Holy Cross, one where old friend and Illinois transfer Jayden Epps dropped 22 points. They also sport Name of the Year Candidate center Supreme Cook.
Dikembe Mutombo’s kid Ryan is also on the team, though he doesn’t play much. Torvik goes Rutgers, 73-64.
MNW: Remember when Bill Carmody took Holy Cross to the NCAA Tournament? Good times.
BoilerUp89: If Rutgers wants people to take them seriously, they need to win this game. Ed Cooley is a tremendous coach, but Georgetown was left as a disaster by Patrick Ewing. Early signs point to this being a multi-year rebuild.
Is it time to panic?
This poll is closed
Not for a Purdue or Michigan fan
The conference is trying a new strategy of being bad in November, let’s see if it pays off for them
I started panicking a week ago
No, the Big Ten is racking up quality losses
Gavitt Games - Day 3
This poll is closed
Rutgers wins and ties things back up at 3-3
Rutgers loses and best B1G can do is split