UConn Huskies 77, Indiana Hoosiers 57
MaximumSam: The Hoosiers got pummeled in this game, as UConn owned the glass. They doubled up the Hoosiers on rebounds, 44-22, and more than tripled them on assists, 19 to 6. Xavier Johnson was a no show, as he played 14 minutes and scored 4 points and had one assist, which left the rest of the team floundering. Malik Reneau had a nice game with 18 points and 3 blocks, he and Ware make for a nice pair up front.
BoilerUp89: Alex Karaban is a tremendous player for UConn, but he’s not a low post player. Malik Reneau took advantage of that in the first half punishing him while Ware distracted Clingan. For Indiana though there are too many guys not filling their role. Reneau had just 3 rebounds as a PF with a physical advantage on his opponent. Mgbako continues to be allergic to defense. Xavier Johnson spent the whole game in foul trouble and was a non-factor while in. More importantly just aren’t enough answers on the offensive end for the Hoosiers when Ware can’t dominate his defender (and he wasn’t doing that versus Clingan today). Effort on rebounding and defense seem to be an persistent issue team wide.
Mississippi State Bulldogs 66, Northwestern Wildcats 57
MaximumSam: The Cats got Boo Buied by MSU’s freshman point guard Josh Hubbard. He scored 29, almost half of the Bulldogs total. Rough three point shooting (6-26) doomed Northwestern as well, as Ryan Langborg went 1-7 and Boo Buie himself only had 9 points. No Hall of Fame Tipoff Trophy this year.
BoilerUp89: Mississippi State is the best team on Northwestern’s non-conference schedule, so this isn’t the worst loss in the world. However, Northwestern held a 48-47 lead with 7 minutes to go before the Bulldogs took control down the stretch. Chris Jans has a defense first team and they held Buie in check. This was just Buie’s 4th game this season or last that he failed to score ten points or more. That’s not going to be a recipe for Wildcats success.
Ohio State Buckeyes 73, Western Michigan Broncos 56
MaximumSam: The Buckeyes got some active defense and good shooting in the first half that gave them a quick 20 point lead that they rode the rest of the game. Felix Okpara looked the part, getting 11 rebounds and 4 thunderous blocks.
BoilerUp89: Beating WMU by more than Northwestern did is encouraging. The Buckeyes had a balanced offensive attack, shot the ball well, and limited themselves to just 8 turnovers.
Michigan State Spartans 81, Alcorn State Braves 49
MaximumSam: Sparty made their shots and this was a bludgeoning as MSU raced out to a 30 point lead in the first half. Happy sophomore Tre Hollomon went for 5/5 from three, while Sad Freshman Xavier booker went 1-6.
BoilerUp89: No Walker, no problem for Sparty against Alcorn State. They still aren’t getting much production from the post.
Illinois Fighting Illini 88, Southern Jaguars 60
MaximumSam: Still no Coleman Hawkins for the Illini, but no matter. Terrence Shannon had 24, and Amani Hansberry more minutes than Dain Dainja. Has Brad Underwood killed DainjaTime?
BoilerUp89: Illini continues to shoot poorly from three (5 of 22 in this one), but bludgeoned the Jags on the glass 50-17. As someone who expected Dainja to be a starter this season, I’m puzzled how he doesn’t even get all that many minutes with Hawkins out. Has he taken a massive step backwards that I don’t see? Did he steal Underwood’s dog?
#49 Indiana Hoosiers (-7) v. #169 Louisville Cardinals, 3:30 pm, ESPNU
BoilerUp89: Don’t sleep on Louisville, they are coming off the best game of the Kenny Payne tenure. Both squads are flawed, but Louisville more so. If the Cardinals pull off the upset, the rebounding margin is going to likely be a reason why. Indiana has been slaughtered on the boards so far this season (sub 300 in both offensive and defensive rebounding). Louisville aggressively crashes the offensive glass to get second chances.
#1 Purdue Boilermakers (-5.5) v. #13 Gonzaga Bulldogs, 4 pm, ESPN2
BoilerUp89: Last season, Purdue announced themselves to the basketball world by beating Gonzaga by 18 after dark at the Phil Knight birthday bash. Gonzaga didn’t have anyone that could guard Zach Edey but continued trying to defend him one on one. I doubt we see Mark Few make that mistake this year. Ryan Nembhard and Nolan Hickman are talented guards that will give Purdue’s defense some issues. The freshmen of Gonzaga are untested and unknown. The Zags have played just one D1 game so far this season: Yale.
Purdue takes a 27 game regular season non-conference winning streak into this year’s Maui Invitational. I doubt that streak reaches 30 (Maui is loaded), but if it does then Purdue will be ranked #1 in the AP poll and on a collision course with a second consecutive 1 seed.
#39 Virginia Cavaliers v. #47 Wisconsin Badgers (+3.5), 5 pm, FS1
BoilerUp89: Turtle ball advocates meet up (unless you think Gard has actually changed his ways). Virginia is the slowest tempo team in the nation. The Badgers will need to keep an eye on three point snipers Isaac McKneely and Jake Groves. Their shooting ability has the potential to turn a 20-20 game into an insurmountable 26-20 lead for the Cavaliers with 3 minutes to go.
Virginia has their usual smothering pack line defense and have coupled with lethal three point shooting so far this season (40.6%). The Badgers should have an advantage in the paint and on the glass, but against the Virginia pack line are going to have to find ways to knock down some threes. That’s something the Badgers have struggled with so far this year.
MaximumSam: They should have put this in the early window. Perfect game for an afternoon nap.
Indiana or Louisville?
Purdue or Gonzaga?
Wisconsin or Virginia?
A team that plays slow, boring, unwatchable basketball and wears red
A team that plays slow, boring, unwatchable basketball and wears blue