It was another week of Big Ten basketball making little to no sense AND Alabama losing the national title game, which also makes little to no sense. Nebraska finally lost a conference game, though, so praise be to whichever deity you worship. Minnesota is ranked in the AP poll, so maybe get back on the horn with your chosen deity and ask him/her to spare us in the forthcoming apocalypse.
The Badgers had a tough one on Sunday but I’m assuming most of you goons were using all of your “ooga booga” to hex Eli Manning and help the Packers complete ANOTHER DANGED HAIL MARY! I mean, seriously? How the hell does Rodgers always do that? I hate the Giants (author’s note: please don’t fire me, Mike!) and I love when they lose on the big stage, but I can’t abide by another Packers miracle run to the Super Bowl. First of all, my wife will be insufferable if this happens as will most of my friends and my father. Second of all...
/thinks about the Patriots or Cowboys winning the Super Bowl
Uh, nevermind. Go Pack Go!
Let’s see what the advanced stats and The Bachelor GIFs have to say about the conference this week!
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 72nd; AdjO: 77th; AdjD: 90th
Previous week’s results: (L) at Indiana 96-80
Biggest strength: Malcolm Hill had 21 points and got to the free-throw line 13 times and Jalen Coleman-Lands also had 21 points. That’s, uh, about it for the Illini last week.
Biggest weakness: John Groce was quoted as saying, “I loved our response to cut it to 13.” That is such a sad thing for the head coach of a basketball team to say after a game. Maybe next time avoid the slow start and cutting the lead to 13 won’t be a major accomplishment?
I'm beginning to think Illinois might regret letting Indiana score the first 15 points of the game.— Big Ten Geeks (@bigtengeeks) January 7, 2017
Like, it seems, with every other school in the conference, there was much teeth-gnashing and keyboard-pounding after the game about firing the head coach and getting back to “[insert Big Ten school here]-style basketball!” I think everyone should be fired and bloggers should aggregate coaching decisions via Twitter poll. But that’s just one man’s opinion.
This week’s “What? How? Stat Line of the Week” comes courtesy of Michael Finke of Illinois who logged 18 minutes, missed his only shot attempt, scrapped for one defensive rebound and hacked two people. Gross.
This week’s schedule: Wednesday vs. Michigan; Saturday vs. Maryland
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 27th; AdjO: 9th; AdjD: 94th
Previous week’s results: (L) vs. No. 11 Wisconsin 75-68; (W) vs. Illinois 96-80
Biggest strength: Didn’t let Nigel Hayes bludgeon them to death with 1 million free throws like most of their recent encounters. James Blackmon scored in double-figures in both games and shot seven-of-14 from beyond the arc. Bounced back from three consecutive losses to beat a, uh, present Illinois team. Indiana basketball got me like:
It appears that I have completely imagined a Trill Ballins tweet about Tom Crean that was set to Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Seems healthy.— David Roth (@david_j_roth) January 5, 2017
Biggest weakness: After beating UNC, this Illinois win is their best win in over a month! Next best is Houston Baptist, and that’ll look great on any tourney resume! This seems relevant to the rest of the year.
so, indiana has played one (1) game outside the state of indiana to date— CRIMSON QUARRY (@crimsonquarry) January 8, 2017
2/3rds of indiana's remaining games are on the road
This week’s schedule: Tuesday at Maryland; Sunday vs. Rutgers
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 78th; AdjO: 63rd; AdjD: 117th
Previous week’s results: (L) at Nebraska 93-90 2OT; (W) vs. Rutgers 68-62
Biggest strength: Well that game against Nebraska certainly was... long. It was pretty exciting, too, if you like average basketball.
Peter Jok sure does shoot a lot!
/starts whispering, “Which is why he scores so much.”
I think I like Nicholas Baer now. I wish he were a real bear.
Biggest weakness: Being a bear aside, Baer and his Hawkeye teammates didn’t beat Nebraska. So that’s bad. Jok shot 2-of-10 from three against Rutgers but still had a double-double. Only beat Rutgers by six points.
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. No. 12 Purdue; Sunday at Northwestern
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 55th; AdjO: 78th; AdjD: 53rd
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Michigan 77-70
Biggest strength: The Terps shot 66.7 percent from distance against Michigan and Jared Nickens went 4-for-4 and scored 12 points. That’s pretty amazing because until that point he had scored 40 points... all season.
Jared Nickens is Maryland's leading scorer we repeat Jared Nickens is Maryland's leading scorer.— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) January 7, 2017
Biggest weakness: Did y’all see how well Donald Glover’s show Atlanta did at the Golden Globes?
He won Best Actor in a Comedy and the show won Best Comedy Series. That’s pretty amazing for the guy that I first saw doing comedy in this video:
If you want some laughs, Derrick Comedy has some pretty good videos on YouTube. Also, Glover shouted out Migos in his acceptance speech. Bad and boujee indeed.
This week’s schedule: Tuesday vs. Indiana; Saturday at Illinois
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 39th; AdjO: 20th; AdjD: 111th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Penn State 72-69; (L) vs. Maryland 77-70
Biggest strength: Was able to come back from 14 points down in the second half to beat PSU at home. Mo Wagner is now starting for Michigan. I don’t like this development at all. What exactly are the Ann Arbor police doing? Do they need to hire John McClain? GET HIM ON THE HORN!
Biggest weakness: Unable to come back from an 11-point deficit against Maryland at home. They should probably stop trying to come back from double-digits deficits. It usually doesn’t work out well. Despite constantly being down by double-digits, John Beilein won his 200th game at Michigan. ESPN tells me that he’s only 10 wins away from being the school’s all-time leader in that department! Remember when Tommy Amaker was their coach? They won the NIT AND finished as the NIT runner-up during his illustrious six-year run at Michigan, while never making the NCAA tournament once!
This week’s schedule: Wednesday at Illinois; Saturday vs. Nebraska
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 47th; AdjO: 87th; AdjD: 33rd
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Rutgers 93-65; (L) at Penn State 72-63
This week’s schedule: Wednesday vs. Minnesota; Sunday at Ohio State
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 31st; AdjO: 86th; AdjD: 10th
Previous week’s results: (W) at Northwestern 70-66; (W) vs. Ohio State 78-68
Biggest strength: So, uh, Minnesota is ranked now and won two straight road games. More importantly, this happened.
Biggest weakness: The Big Ten certainly has vastly improved its quality of football coach over the last five years. P.J. Fleck is just what the doctor ordered to revitalize the rivalry with Wisconsin. I already hate him and his stupid motivational tactics and that is GOOD for the rivalry. The last few years, it has taken some real effort from me to gin up enough hate for Axe Week. Now with Fleck saying nonsense like this all the time it will be so, so easy to hate the Gophers with the appropriate amount of vitriol that they deserve:
Fleck: "If you're going to teach a rivalry, you can't use Jordan and Bird anymore. ... You've got to use Kanye and Drake."— jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) January 6, 2017
THAT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE! First of all, Kanye and Drake aren’t rivals. Drake and Meek Mill had a very public feud that happened last year! Kanye has had an ongoing rivalry with making good shoes for many years! Also, Larry Bird’s rival was Magic Johnson, not Michael Jordan. And Jordan’s rivals were the Knicks or the Pistons. Christ on a cracker, this quote is stupid. UGGGHHHH I HATE HIM SO MUCH!
This week’s schedule: Wednesday at Michigan State; Saturday at Penn State
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 88th; AdjO: 148th; AdjD: 62nd
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Iowa 93-90, 2OT; (L) vs. Northwestern 74-66
Biggest strength: Glynn Watson, who is a tiny person, poured in 34 points (7-of-8 from distance) to beat Iowa in double-OT. Tai Webster played 49 minutes against Iowa, which means he sat on the bench for exactly one minute. They had this guy preform at halftime:
Biggest weakness: Glynn Watson, who is a tiny person, scored six points (0-for-4 from distance) in a loss to Northwestern. They were probably really tired by the second half against Northwestern. I’ve gotten to the point that I can’t eat a sandwich on regular bread anymore. I need a pretzel bun or a bagel or a brioche bun. If you’re eating your sandwich on regular bread still... I just don’t know what to do with you.
This week’s schedule: Saturday at Michigan
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 40th; AdjO: 48th; AdjD: 52nd
Previous week’s results: (L) vs. Minnesota 70-66; (W) at Nebraska 74-66
Biggest strength: Because this season has been so weird it figures that it was ultimate underachiever, Northwestern, that ended surprise conference leader Nebraska’s run at the top of the Big Ten. Vic Law shot 7-of-11 from three for the week and Bryant McIntosh continued his solid play.
Biggest weakness: You’d think the nerds at Northwestern could figure out how to pirate a quicker stream, but here we are.
We're streaming through computers, so we might be a little bit behind on the tweets, but we'll try our best!— Inside NU (@insidenu) January 8, 2017
Really blew a chance for a nice win against Minnesota, which is the type of game that Northwestern loses every year that end up keeping them from making the tournament.
This week’s schedule: Thursday at Rutgers; Sunday vs. Iowa
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 48th; AdjO: 85th; AdjD: 37th
Previous week’s results: (L) vs. Purdue 76-75; (L) at Minnesota 78-68
Biggest strength: Jae’Sean Tate had two nice games, scoring-wise. Almost beat Purdue. Trevor Thompson had 15 boards against the Gophers. Have some of America’s top minds working on how to fix their problems.
Biggest weakness: Ohio State fans are like this little kid, they just want OSU to choose a victory. Ohio State basketball is like:
With games at Wisconsin and vs. MSU on the docket this week could 0-5-I-O be a possibility? For the sake of my joke, let’s hope so. Also, Keita Bates-Diop is out for the season. That’s sad for Bates-Diop and the Buckeyes.
This week’s schedule: Thursday at No. 11 Wisconsin; Sunday vs. Michigan State
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 85th; AdjO: 172nd; AdjD 42nd
Previous week’s results: (L) at Michigan 72-69; (W) vs. Michigan State 72-63
Biggest strength: The game against MSU was at The Palestra. As a native of Philadelphia, I have some fond memories of going to The Palestra to watch Penn games as well as Big 5 games.
The one memory I don’t have, because I missed the game for some reason, is when LeBron James came to play there in high school. My friends went to see LeBron take on Maureece Rice of Strawberry Mansion in a real doozy. Rice broke the Philadelphia citywide scoring record in the next game (Wilt Chamberlain had been the previous record holder) and people were hyped for this game.
Rice crossed James up so bad that he fell over. Allen Iverson was in attendance. My friends saw multiple people pull guns out in the concourse. The game really had it all.
Biggest weakness: Couldn’t hold on to a 14-point lead against Michigan. Like LeBron James, they emerged from The Palestra victorious, though. Probably the one and only time that PSU hoops has been compared to LeBron in any capacity.
This week’s schedule: Saturday vs. Minnesota
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 12th; AdjO: 23rd; AdjD: 13th
Previous week’s results: (W) at Minnesota 75-74, OT; (W) vs. Northwestern 61-52
Biggest strength: Caleb Swanigan isgood still.
It should be a pretty fun conference title race between Purdue and Wisconsin and maybe Minnesota? Or Indiana? Or Nebraska???? Anyways, it’s a shame that the Boilermakers don’t come to Madison this year. Maybe a rematch in the conference title game?
Biggest weakness: What the hell, Purdue?
let’s watch Purdue’s creepy mascot attempt to twerk pic.twitter.com/DO0ok21ZXd— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) January 8, 2017
Purdue’s mascot is a black mark on us as a society. We have to do better.
This week’s schedule: Thursday at Iowa
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 137th; AdjO: 229th; AdjD: 68th
Previous week’s results: (L) at Michigan State 93-65; (L) at Iowa 68-62
Biggest strength: So, as we all know, Alexis from New Jersey is America’s favorite The Bachelor contestant after she dressed up like a shark in the first episode of the season and insisted that she was a dolphin. In this week’s episode, she was part of a group date that was a “wedding photo shoot.” Each girl had a theme, and hers was “shotgun wedding.”
Corinne, the 24-year old “business owner” who still has a nanny, took her top off during the wedding photo shoot date because another girl had a “sexier theme” than her.
Biggest weakness: There is another girl on the show, Liz, that has already had sex with Nick (before the show aired) and that whole mess comes out during a group date where the girls all prepare break-up speeches to give to Nick... for some reason? Anyway, Liz lights Nick’s ass up with her speech and everyone is weirded out by the specificity of her speech and eventually Nick sends her home and tells everyone that they banged. They ended this episode before the rose ceremony, so Alexis is still in it to win it!
Also, until further notice (until Alexis is off the show) the Rutgers section will be a The Bachelor recap.
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. Northwestern; Sunday at Indiana
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 11th; AdjO: 17th; AdjD: 16th
Previous week’s results: (W) at Indiana 75-68; (L) at Purdue 66-55
Biggest strength: Can we talk about what an enormous knob Tom Crean is?
Best part of every UW/IU game pic.twitter.com/2evcv7uy8E— Brandon Rifkin (@brandonrifkin) January 4, 2017
But don’t worry, here is his record vs. Wisconsin.
The Badgers were in control the entire game against Indiana, despite going down by two early in the second half. Ethan Happ was a rock against both IU and PU. He’s going to be tough to replace when he graduates.
Biggest weakness: Shot reeeeeeeeeaaalllllly poorly against Purdue from distance. 14.3 percent from deep is not going to beat Illinois, let alone Purdue. Vitto Brown with another entry in the “What? How? Stat Line of the Week” competition with this gem: Twelve minutes (which is admittedly a little on the low side for this feature), 0-for-3 from the field, one offensive rebound, two turnovers, one steal and four (!) fouls. D’Mitrik Trice missed a wide-open layup that would have cut the lead to two and then Purdue went on a run and put the game away. Bronson Koenig looked uninterested against Purdue after looking great against Indiana. Isaac Haas had a field day against an undersized Badgers frontcourt. I wonder what Charlie Thomas was doing on Sunday?
In the grand scheme of things, losing at Purdue (which Wisconsin does usually) is not a big deal. Purdue is good and they are tough to beat at home.The Badgers have two home games to get back on track before going to Minneapolis in what could be the biggest game in this rivalry in a long time.
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. Ohio State