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Off Tackle Open Threads: January 11th Basketball

Sparty can’t start 1-4, can they?

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Illinois
Imagine if basketball let you break up passes like a defensive back
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports


Northwestern Wildcats 76, Penn State Nittany Lions 72

MaximumSam: Any road win is a good win these days, and Northwestern survived a game effort from Kanye Clary and Ace Baldwin to snag a win. Brooks Barnhizer dropped 23 and the Berry/Buie combo combined for 33. The Cats may have nightmares about Ace Baldwin, though, who had eight steals all by himself.

MNW: There is more than enough to gripe about vis-a-vis Northwestern’s performance, but the ‘Cats hadn’t beaten Penn State since March 7, 2020, and hadn’t won in Happy Valley since Decemer 27, 2016.

Good job shooting the basketball, Ty Berry. Now someone go learn a goddamn pressbreak.

Wisconsin Badgers 71, Ohio State Buckeyes 60

MaximumSam: Speaking of road wins, the Badgers are undefeated and in first place in the conference. Steven Crowl was a bit gimpy with a knee issue and only scored five points, but Max Klesmit picked up the slack and dropped 18 to lead all scorers. The Buckeyes have a Roddy Gayle problem - he had yet another miserable game. They can’t win games with him cosplaying as Mr. Magoo.


#72 Michigan Wolverines (6-9, 1-3) at #113 Maryland Terrapins (9-6, 1-3) (-5.5), 6 pm, FS1

I mean it’s still entertaining

#10 Michigan State Spartans (9-6, 1-3) at #11 Illinois Fighting Illini (11-3, 2-1) (-3.5), 8 pm, FS1

MaximumSam: Who knows what to expect in this one. Sparty had looked monstrous and then got put through a table by Northwestern. Illinois is still finding its legs in the post-Terrence Shannon world (well, pending his efforts to get reinstated via federal court). They buried Northwestern under a building and put up a game effort at Purdue - Marcus Domask has responded with 32 and 26 in those games and seems like the new Dude. But still. Torvik goes Illini, 75-72.

MNW’s Other Games You Should Actually Watch

If you don’t read this section, well, you’re missing out.

Or you’re not and you’re probably getting sleep like a healthy adult. Whatever.

Last night, though, you missed Wazzu going into Los Angeles and putting USC in a trash can, while in the late-late show, the California Golden Bears—coached by Mark Madsen!—came back from 20 down in the first half to stun formerly-ranked Colorado in Berkeley. HIT ‘EM WITH IT, MAD DOG:

Meanwhile, no one ranked wants to win—#3 Kansas fell at UCF, #5 Tennessee lost at Mississippi State, TCU toppled #9 Oklahoma, and #11 Marquette shot 33% from the field and 16% (5/31!!!) from three in a home loss to Butler. Things are great!

Congrats, though, to the Chicago State Cougars, who pipped Fairleigh Dickinson on the road, 75-74, and YOUR Drake Bulldogs, who pulled away from Indiana State for a big MVC win to get back in the conference driver’s seat.


  • #24 FAU (-6.5, O/U 161.5) at Tulane: Look, Tulane probably can’t run with the Owls, even at home. But Ron Hunter’s boys put the emphasis on “run”—it ain’t gonna be slow, and the Wave can score efficiently, with all five starters averaging double-digits. FAU’s dropped two of their last three to FGCU and Charlotte, so maybe the Wave can prolong the misery. [6pm, ESPN2]
  • UNC Greensboro at Samford (-4.5, O/U 151.5): BUCKYBALL! The Spartans and Bulldogs are two of the three best in the SoCon, and this one should be back and forth if Samford’s energetic young coach and his frenetic style have anything to say about it. [7pm, ESPN+]
  • #23 Gonzaga (-8.5, O/U 158.5) at Santa Clara: Is this FINALLY the year someone not named Gonzaga or Saint Mary’s takes it home in the WCC? Probably not, and I just got angry thinking about that stupid WCC Tournament bracket. While the Broncos are solidly second-tier behind the Zags, Gaels, and Dons, Herb Sendek’s boys are not to be truffled with and have already tripped up Washington State. [8:30pm, ESPN2]
  • The Beach at UC San Diego (-4.5, O/U 155.5): Two of the teams climbing over one another to knock off UC Irvine. Both can push some pace and put this biscuit in the tea or whatever the saying is. [9pm, ESPN+]
  • Stanford (-4.5, O/U 141.5) at Oregon State: I honestly don’t know what the Beavers are doing anymore. I trusted you, Wayne Tinkle. [10pm, ESPN2]
  • UC Irvine at Hawai’i: Now THIS. THIS is a game.

...that’s not just me doing a bit, by the way. The Anteaters are 76th in Kenpom behind a stifling defense and their usual strategy of “Here are a couple impossibly tall international goobers and one or two dudes who can shoot the three.” Said goobers are C Bent Leuchten (a 7’ German) and F Dean Keeler (a 6’11” Californian), while Justin Hohn is a sharpshooter to watch come March.

Of course, that doesn’t take into account the ‘Bows, who have scuffled a bit lately but are content to sit in their half-court defense and lock you down. Hawai’i’s offense can best be described, though, so I’d grab the under in Honolulu. [10:59pm, ESPN+]