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Off Tackle Open Threads: February 7th Basketball

NUNU Part Two For You

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Minnesota
Putting the boo in buie
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Recaps

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 56, Maryland Terrapins 53

MaximumSam: These two teams waged war on the sport of basketball for two hours. Rough loss for Maryland, who seemed like they were improved and making a run.

RUReady4Brazil: Rutgers’s two most important players were in foul trouble the entire game and both defenses were playing great, it wasn’t simply a case of bad offense. In the end, this contest came down to which team could get their elite defense set and convert turnovers into easy transition points. Rutgers finally has the depth to get locked into these defensive battles, leaving the possibility of a few more conference wins on the table despite the lack of offense. Maryland should bounce back in better matchups.

BoilerUp89: I watched this whole game as a neutral fan. No, I don't need an intervention.

Indiana Hoosiers 76, Ohio State Buckeyes 73

MaximumSam: Do you remember the Buckeyes were 12-2 and a projected 5 seed in the tourney? Me neither. Is this the first team with Seasonal Depressive Disorder? Really, help me, I need to make sense of how a team can go into a black hole two years running.

BoilerUp89: Big Ten network analysts like to say the B1G has the best collection of coaches in the country. While that's certainly not true (the conference needs an infusion of coaching talent badly), the league does do an incredible job of scouting conference opponents. Perhaps that's partially to blame for Ohio State turning into a pumpkin the past two seasons. B1G teams have identified and exploited flaws.

Minnesota Golden Gophers 59, Michigan State Spartans 56

MaximumSam: Woof, Sparty. Though they led for much of the game, they stopped running offense and just gave the ball to Tyson Walker and prayed at the end. Their free throw shooting (7-17) was just a tick better than their three point shooting (7-18). Great win for Minny, and special shout out to Parker Fox, who I think started his career during the Obama administration.

BoilerUp89: Michigan State had built a 9 point lead by the time I turned this game on in the 2nd half. Walker then suffered a groin injury (he did return after briefly leaving the court) and the Spartans offense disappeared down the stretch. The Gophers find themselves tied for 4th in the B1G which would put them in the conversation for a NCAA bid most seasons. However, because the non conference slate was so shitty (it's literally the weakest in the country per Kenpom), that's not a discussion for the Gophers. Their schedule literally made it near impossible for them to get an at large bid. Don't say I didn't warn them.

Previews

#14 Wisconsin Badgers (16-6, 8-3) at #90 Michigan Wolverines (7-15, 2-9) (+5.5), 6 pm, BTN

MaximumSam: Wisconsin is now doing the chasing, having fallen behind Purdue for the conference lead. The chase takes them to last place Michigan, who have made a living playing great in the first half and like a pile of wet socks in the second half. Home games mean they get to play their point guard, so that’s something. Torvik goes Badgers, 76-71.

BoilerUp89: Big Ten teams are 2-7 in the game after playing Purdue. That's not as impressive as Big 12 opponents going 0-9 after playing Cincinnati, but still worth consideration. If you are looking for a reason, the leading theory is that teams change so much about how they play defense to guard Edey, that they have trouble getting back to their usual style of play. Not to mention the physical toll being pushed around by Edey takes.

#48 Nebraska Cornhuskers (16-7. 6-6) at #44 Northwestern Wildcats (15-7. 6-5) (-5.5), 8 pm, BTN

MaximumSam: Nebraska held serve at home in the first game, and now Northwestern gets the advantage in who gets to call themselves NU. If the Cats win, we can only hope for a tiebreaker in the BTT. Otherwise, neither team gets to be NU and we must only refer to them as nu. Or maybe gnu. Torvik says NU, 75-71.

BoilerUp89: Checks notes.... Nebraska is on the road so I would bet on Northwestern if I gambled. The Cornhuskers are still searching for that first conference road victory and the Wildcats have been really good at home themselves. Here's hoping Tominaga and Buie put on a show and entertain us tonight.

MNW: Northwestern needs this one—they’re slip-sliding back down in the ol’ bracketology thinkers’ estimation, and absent many chances left to grab good road wins, they need to hold serve at home.

Nebraska absolutely baffled the ‘Cats the last time out by running a two-post offense with Rienk Mast and Josiah Allick that preyed on Northwestern’s switching defense. I’ll be curious to see if there’s a cat-and-mouse game between Fred Hoiberg and NU defensive guru Chris Lowery, or if the two put their strengths up against each other and have at it.

To watch, as well: both teams have played two straight overtime games. 8pm on Wednesday sounds like tired legs to me—I might bet the under.


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