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Big Ten Basketball: Tuesday Open Thread

Ah, ha, ha, ha, 7-5, 7-5

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Rutgers
I’m blocking the hell out of this - oh no he’s passing he’s passing!
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday, February 5th

Michigan Wolverines 77, Ohio State Buckeyes 69

BoilerUp89: Ohio State has fallen to 13th in the B1G standings after losing their 9th game in their last 10. For reasons that only Chris Holtmann understands, B1G freshman of year front runner Brice Sensabaugh was benched to start this game. Sensabaugh responded with a 4 of 14 shooting performance and fouled out of the game with just 26 minutes played.

Hunter Dickinson had 26 points and 11 rebounds.

If you had the under on this game, I’m so sorry.

MaximumSam: Brice Sensabaugh, who is terrible defensively and never passes, but is ridiculously efficient as a freshman at taking people off the bounce. Every coach’s dream. In other news, Bruce Thornton emerged from a long slumber to get 22 points on 11 shots. This season is sunk, but maybe, finally, OSU has a point guard.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 72, Penn State Nittany Lions 63

BoilerUp89: Big loss for the Nittany Lions who are now unlikely to make the NCAA tournament - although we will keep you updated on their hopes as the final weeks of the season progress. Keisei Tominaga went 5 of 10 from three and scored 30 points to destroy Penn State’s hopes and dreams.

Northwestern Wildcats 54, Wisconsin Badgers 52

Kind of...: Q: Did Northwestern get away with a blatant travel just before scoring a late go ahead bucket?

A: Yes, you are correct that Wisconsin’s offense is historically awful. Yes, Tyler Wahl has severely regressed and neither he nor Steven Crowl can be counted on to make a reasonable % of layups and other in-close shots. Yes, NW swept Wisconsin for the first time since 1996 in large part because Wisconsin cannot make open three-pointers consistently.There are many ways to communicate Wisconsin’s futility, but the most effective one might this: No B1G team is more successful at having their possessions end in a shot (i.e, not a turnover) than Wisconsin, yet they are 12th in the conference in offensive efficiency. Connor Essegian has the best efficiency of any Badger. If the entire team were as efficient as he has been, they would still only rank 83rd nationally.

While it is unlikely Greg Gard won’t return next year, AD Chris McIntosh has already confounded expectations a couple of times the last few months. This week the Badgers are @PSU and @Nebraska. An 0-2 week nearly guarantees Wisconsin is playing the opening night of the B1G tournament. In the first 25 years of B1G tournaments, Wisconsin’s lowest seed was in the first iteration in 1998, a 10-seed. Whether or not UW avoids setting a new program low may be the only drama left the rest of the way.

Green Akers: In a way, it is incredible that in Year 8, with two Big Ten titles to his name, it’s STILL not clear if Greg Gard is any good at his job or not.

BoilerUp89: He’s not as good as Bo Ryan but that’s an unfair standard to hold someone to. At this point in time, firing him would be a very short lease and if I was a head coach approached by Wisconsin I would turn them down as there are plenty of other equivalent or better job opportunities where I’m going to get more margin to work with. If I’m ranking B1G basketball jobs, Wisconsin is what? 8th?

Kind of...: Personally I agree. Gard deserves next year, at least. But some are noticing parallels to Chryst— last year, like 2019 football, looked like a return to form, but really a last gasp, the system/identity has been successful beyond all reasonable expectations, but game has changed, etc.

As for who would take the job, with Wisconsin native Nate Oats having just signed an extension, the name you’re most likely to hear is the Wisconsin native doing a bang up job at what might be the 8th (I’d say 6th) best job in the Big 12.

BoilerUp89: If you have a hire locked in on, you can do it. Just really don’t want to do this if you are doing the standard coaching search.

Kind of...: Definitely not. No idea what the equivalent of Fickell is for cbb, but that’s where expectations are for the most unreasonable members of the fan base. Have gotten a “wonder if Jay Wright wants back in” text, which is hilarious.

BoilerUp89: Football there is an argument to be made that Wisconsin is the best positioned after the big 3. I wouldn’t make it, but you could. Plus the B1G is one of two top conferences. In basketball, it’s one of 6 top conferences and there are easier places to recruit to in the conference/places with bigger recruiting budgets/fanbases more willing to spend NIL $ on basketball.

Tuesday, February 7th

#16 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (16-7, 8-4) at #28 Indiana Hoosiers (16-7, 7-5), 5:30 pm, BTN

BoilerUp89: Indiana has an opportunity to restore Purdue’s three game lead in the conference race or do what they’ve typically done in recent years during games following big wins.

MaximumSam: Big ole game on the BTN. T-Rank pegs both of these teams as a dreaded five seed. Rutgers still has a whisper of hope for the Big Ten title considering they hold the tiebreaker over Purdue, but they can’t really afford to lose any more games if they want that. The Rutgers defense punished the Hoosiers at the RAC, but Indiana has come a long way. Should be fun. Torvik goes Indiana, 67-66.

#231 Minnesota Gophers (7-15, 1-11) at #35 Illinois Fighting Illini (16-7, 7-5), 7:30 pm, BTN

MaximumSam: Apparently this game is cancelled or postponed due to COVID. GOPHID.

BoilerUp89: Minnesota became the first B1G team since 2016 Rutgers to lose two consecutive conference games by 30+ points. They did so by falling 59-98 to Northwestern and 66-97 to Michigan State. In their very next game, 0-17 in the B1G Rutgers defeated Minnesota 75-52 to secure their only conference win of the season.

#37 Maryland Terrapins (16-7, 7-5) at #40 Michigan State Spartans (14-9, 6-6), 8 pm, ESPN

BoilerUp89: Although Maryland now has a road win in conference play, it came against Minnesota. l don’t think that fixed their home/road issues and Sparty could use a win to help kickstart a strong finish and secure their tournament bid.

MaximumSam: There are currently six teams at 7-5 in the conference and tied for third in the conference. That leaves Sparty in sole possession of ninth place at 6-6. Maryland is on a a bit of a heater, having won four straight and all in pretty convincing fashion. Sparty is on a two game losing streak. Torvik goes Spartans, 66-63.