An 8-2 night for the Big Ten is a less than stellar start for the conference. Raise your hand if you had Penn State and Minnesota as two of the five teams that would take care of business from start to finish - put your hand down you liar! It’s a long season, but hopefully it remains as entertaining as the opening night.
Purdue Boilermakers 98, Samford Bulldogs 45
MaximumSam: Zach Edey could only muster 16 points against Samford and Sons. they might as well quit now and save themselves the humiliation.
BoilerUp89: Purdue handled Samford’s press decently. Scholarship players had just 12 turnovers. The Boilermakers shot 55% from three and won by 53. The complaint department is closed.
Penn State Nittany Lions 79, Delaware State Hornets 45
MaximumSam: PSU is full of transfers, but the big players were returnees Kanye Clary and Jameel Brown, who combined for 42 points. Only one other guy, Zach Hicks, got to double figures, so we’ll have to see if those guys are real players.
BoilerUp89: Baldwin is a real player but he had an awful shooting night. I’m not sure what to make of this game. On it’s face, Penn State won by 30+ points. However, their opponent was 1 of 16 from three. The Nittany Lions had 21 turnovers compared to the Hornets 23. They only won the rebounding battle by 2, giving up 17 offensive boards to Delaware State. Winning big is good, but there were some areas of concern.
Princeton Tigers 68, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 61
MaximumSam: Rutgers takes the first big L for the conference, confirming that Pikiell will only schedule Incarnate Word East from here on out. Lack of scoring was predictably the issue; Aundre Hyatt went 0-5 and Noah Fernandez went 3-10. I had pegged Jamichael David as a redshirt candidate but he played and went 2-10 for four points. Great work.
BoilerUp89: Princeton knows how to break a press and were unfazed by Rutgers defense. Omoruyi having just 12 points and 7 rebounds isn’t going to cut it if the team can’t shoot threes. Matt Allocco led the Tigers with 21 points, 9 rebounds and played 39 minutes. I thought this would be the best game of the night. It was good but I was wrong.
Ohio State Buckeyes 79, Oakland Golden Grizzlies 73
MaximumSam: Hell of a battle for the Buckeyes, but they got a late surge to win the game. Felix Okpara started over Zed Key, and Evan Mahaffey got the start as well. Both were outshined by the bench, as Key dropped 17 and Scotty Middleton dropped 13. The backcourt, Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle, combined for 34 points. On the downside, Mahaffey, Devin Royal, and Dale Bonner combined for zero points.
BoilerUp89: Ohio State is a young team with a lot of new pieces. An early season struggle isn’t completely unexpected. They responded to the challenge though and pulled out the victory. Mahaffey didn’t attempt a shot. I’m not sure how he continues to start if that doesn’t change.
Illinois Fighting Illini 80, Eastern Illinois Panthers 52
BoilerUp89: The Illini tried to sleepwalk through the first half, but their dreams were interrupted by an angry Brad Underwood. A late first half run saw them take control of the game and they built on their lead early in the second half. True freshman Gibbs-Lawhorn led all scorers with 18 points off the bench. One other interesting note (besides the photo’s caption), Sencire Harris will be redshirting this season.
Wisconsin Badgers 105, Arkansas State Red Wolves 76
BoilerUp89: I thought these programs played a slow brand of basketball? Apparently they didn’t get the memo. The Badgers shot 65% from the field, and 50% from three. Hepburn had 20 points for the Badgers.
MaximumSam: The Badgers dropped 100? I’m buying a lottery ticket.
Nebraska Cornhuskers 84, Lindenwood Lions 52
BoilerUp89: No Tominaga, no problem. Four Cornhusker starters were in double figures and Sam Hoiberg led the way off the bench with 15 points. Most impressive to me was that Nebraska limited themselves to committing just 9 turnovers.
Minnesota Golden Gophers 80, Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 60
BoilerUp89: The Gophers were outrebounded by 3, had three more turnovers, and won by 20. That’s because they shot 35 free throws and made 27 of them as Bethune-Cookman could not stop fouling. Dawson Garcia set the pace at the charity stripe going 14 of 16 on his way to 23 points.
Northwestern Wildcats 72, Binghamton Bearcats 61
BoilerUp89: Northwestern fans were worried for most of this one and rightfully so. This was a four point game with under three minutes to play. Boo Buie once again played the role of superhero scoring 27 points. Barnhizer lived at the free throw line and was a perfect 10 for 10 there but struggled from the field.
James Madison Dukes 79, Michigan State Spartans 76 (OT)
BoilerUp89: First off, hats off to Michigan State for scheduling this game. It’s easy to mock them for taking a loss, but James Madison is going to be a solid team this year and we all prefer watching competitive games to watching throttling of sub 300 squads.
James Madison played some inspired basketball and did not back down from the challenge. They led throughout the first half, and weathered the storm when Michigan State took the lead in the second half. Terrence Edwards Jr. had 24 points. T.J. Bickerstaff had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Dukes. This marks the first November home loss for Tom Izzo.
For Sparty, 1 of 20 from three is abysmal. Tyson Walker had himself a game with 35 points, but like his teammates could not hit a three pointer. He did not get nearly enough help from his teammates in this one. In his post game comments, Tom Izzo was extremely upset with what he feels is a lack of leadership in the locker room.
MaximumSam: MSU’s vets, outside of Tyson Walker, looked like a pile of wet socks. The freshman playing the biggest role was surprisingly Coen Carr, who dropped 14 with 6 rebounds and played 28 minutes, while Xavier Booker got the benchwarmer treatment and only played 5.
362 to 1 update
Last year, I (BoilerUp89) attempted to count down from 363 teams to 1 champion. Unfortunately, that article series was too much work as a standalone from our normal recaps + conference tournament previews and was abandoned in early March, but I still want to do the countdown. So you’ll find a section in between the game recaps and before the game previews whenever the number decreases. Which won’t be for awhile after today.
This season 362 teams are competing in NCAA Division 1 basketball. Sadly, the Hartford Hawks departed for Division 3. At least they will always have the 2021 tournament to remember. Also exiting from Division 1 (and all intercollegiate athletics) is St. Francis Brooklyn, one of the original Never Made the Tournament club members. Pour one out for the Terriers who never got to experience the Big Dance. We will miss rooting for them every year to finally get through.
Our new Division 1 member is Le Moyne. The Dolphins hail from upstate New York just outside Syracuse. As a transitioning member to Division 1, Le Moyne is ineligible to participate in the NCAA tournament. They are joined in ineligibility by Bellarmine, Queens, UC - San Diego, Stonehill, Lindenwood, Southern Indiana, Texas A&M-Commerce, St. Thomas, Tarleton, and Utah Tech. Merrimack has become eligible for the first time ever (I deeply regret that they were ineligible last year despite winning their conference tournament).
351 teams remain in the running including all of your Big Ten teams.
Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at Indiana Hoosiers (-12.5), 5:30 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: Watch out, Hoosiers. The ghost of Pat Chambers has reconstituted at Florida Gulf Coast, who blitzed USC in their opener last season. They return Old Friend and former Purdue guard Isaiah Thompson, who led them in points and assists last year. They return a bunch of other guys, too, and this is a sneaky tough game for an Indiana team that will clearly be feeling things out early. Torvik goes Hoosiers, 79-68.
BoilerUp89: Pat Chambers won’t be intimated by Assembly Hall and will have his team ready to play. Thompson and backcourt running mate Chase Johnston are both good shooters from three, but could have an issue with the Hoosiers length and athleticism.
Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers at Maryland Terrapins (-20.5), 6 pm
MaximumSam: The Terps open up with a Mountaineers team that was in the bottom half of the MAAC last year, though they do return plenty of guys and could start five seniors. Dangerman is probably Dakota “Pepe” Leffew, who shot 39% from three. Torvik goes Maryland, 76-61.
North Dakota Fighting Hawks at Iowa Hawkeyes (-19), 7 pm
MaximumSam: Is there a difference between a Hawk and a Fighting Hawk? Tough to say, though I guess one would rather be fighting than not. Speaking of fight, they do have a pair of forwards that can play in B.J. Omot and Tsotne Tsartsidze. Tsartsidze is from Georgia, though as as you might expect, not that Georgia. Torvik goes Fighting Frans, 89-68.
UNC-Asheville Bulldogs at Michigan Wolverines (-10.5), 7:30 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: Michigan tips off and we at OTE are sad that we have to find a new meme for them that doesn’t include Hunter Dickinson. Perhaps we’ll find one tonight - Asheville returns four starters from a team that went 27-8 and made the tourney last year. Their top player is former Tennessee Volunteer big man Drew Pember, who averaged 21 points a game on 50/38/83 splits. Pember actually rode the bench next to new Michigan transfer Olivier Nkamhoua, so maybe they can compare notes. Torvik goes Michigan, 76-67.
BoilerUp89: Pember v. Nkamhoua would be the main reason to watch this, but as MaximumSam mentions, Asheville did make the tournament last year as a 15 seed. They didn’t do much once in the tournament but having pieces back from a team that had a successful year last season is an advantage early on the season.
Late to the party, tonight’s foursome goes?
This poll is closed
A perfect 4-0
3-1, one small slip up
2-2 wait - what?
1-3 or 0-4, burn it all down