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Big Ten Basketball: Wednesday Open Thread

Finding a Place in the Enlarged Heart of the B1G

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Nebraska
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, February 7th

Indiana Hoosiers 66, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 60

BoilerUp89: Indiana restored Purdue’s three game lead in the conference race which was the most important thing to come out of this game. The Indiana fanbase cares about that almost as much as the crowd cared about this game which is shocking to me since it's been many years since the Hoosiers beat Rutgers.

Trayce Jackson-Davis finally beat Rutgers. It only took him scoring 2000 points (congratulations are due by the way), but he finally did it.

Rutgers fell behind by 15 in the first half, before Indiana promptly fell apart and allowed the Scarlet Knights to claw back within three at the half. A nearly 8 minute field goal drought by Indiana in the second half also made things far more interesting than they needed to be.

misdreavus79: This is why you, like me, should hate Rutgers:

I’ve been waiting a long while for my bias to be confirmed, so thank you Paul Mulcahy for doing your part.

Michigan State Spartans 63, Maryland Terrapins 58

BoilerUp89: Maryland's road woes continue. The loss prevented the Terps from being tied for second place in the B1G standings and instead dropped them all the way down to tied for 8th.

Wednesday, February 8th

#113 Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-13, 4-9) at #62 Michigan Wolverines (13-10, 7-5), 5:30 pm, BTN

BoilerUp89: Michigan's tournament resume means this is a game they cannot lose. Despite their rash of injuries, Nebraska has played well recently. A few more wins probably secures Hoiberg a 5th season.

misdreavus79: I’m just going to sit here, as Nebraska flails their way into another double-digit loss, and seethe in anger. Thanks!

#79 Wisconsin Badgers (13-9, 5-7) at #52 Penn State Nittany Lions (14-9, 5-7), 7:30 pm, BTN

BoilerUp89: Another potential elimination game as neither team is in a place where they can pick up many more losses.

I'm interested to see whether Wisconsin can run offense thru the post against an undersized Penn State team or if they settle for more jumpers like they have against the rest of the conference

Kind of...: In the first game, Steven Crowl went 9-16 and recorded a double-double, so it’s clear what UW would like to do. But Micah Shrewsbury is a sentient being who undoubtedly saw film of NW’s success at doubling in the post. Even lacking the Wildcats’ size, you have to think the Badgers will see more of that until they prove they can do something about it.

Wisconsin’s conference road wins so far are @Iowa sans Kris Murray and @OSU sans a will to compete, so you gotta like PSU despite not really having much of a home court advantage.

misdreavus79: Speaking of home court advantage, the only team to beat Penn State at home so far is Michigan State. It required one of the worst shooting performances for the Lions all season long (second only to the disaster that was the Rutgers game).

Everything is possible when the Penn State Nittany Lions are involved, but the one thing they’ve consistently done this season is shoot lights out at home and bury teams before they know what hit them. I don’t expect Penn State to be up 30 at any point in the game, like they were against Michigan and Indiana, but unless Wisconsin is going to play out of their minds, I feel confident in this one.

Though, as pointed out, even if I didn’t feel confident in the potential win, this is a game the Lions can ill afford to lose. If they want to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, they basically need to sweep the home slate (Illinois, Rutgers, and Maryland are the other teams left on the schedule), pray to the basketball gods that Minnesota doesn’t pull a Nebraska, and either steal one from Maryland, Northwestern, or Ohio State. Otherwise it’s deep Big Ten Tournament run territory.