Sinatra. Spike Lee. Bucky.
New York City gets a new icon this weekend as Wisconsin travels to the City That Never Sleeps for the Big Ten’s annual Super Saturday showcase at Madison Square Garden.
The World’s Most Famous Arena sees the men’s basketball team square off against Rutgers at noon ET and the men’s hockey team take on Ohio State at 7 p.m. ET.
The doubleheader, which saw Michigan and Penn State meet up last year in both sports, is part of a series that will rotate Big Ten teams through 2019.
In addition to being a premier event for traveling fans and New York alumni alike, the showcase is a chance for the Big Ten to continue its eastward expansion. Did you know that MSG is hosting the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament in 2018? Jim Boeheim must be spinning in his grave.
For those who find themselves in NYC this weekend, here’s your full itinerary:
Friday: The Pre-Game
Frank Kaminsky’s own Charlotte Hornets vs. the New York Knicks
It’s been a decent year for our beloved Frank the Tank. He got his third-year contract option exercised and has been a solid player off the bench for the Hornets. Averaging 10.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, Kaminsky sees about 25 minutes per game as part of Charlotte’s second unit.
Those looking to triple their Badgers fun in NYC would do well to catch the Hornets take on Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks on Friday.
Saturday: The Main Event
Men’s basketball vs. Rutgers (noon ET)
No. 15 Wisconsin (16-3 overall, 5-1 Big Ten) is very good. Rutgers (12-8, 1-6) is improving. (Auth. note: Drew Hamm and his The B1G Roast column were going to get a link here, but then I remembered that his Rutgers content consists solely of long commentary on The Bachelor, a show that confuses and frightens me quite a bit.)
The Badgers, coming off a big road win against Minnesota, are ninth in the country in scoring defense, allowing 61.2 points per game. Seniors Nigel Hayes (13.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG) and Bronson Koenig (14.3 PPG, 41 percent from three) along with recently minted Co-Big Ten Player of the Week Ethan Happ (13.6 PPG, 9.2 RPG) look to solidify Wisconsin’s place atop the conference.
They match up with Rutgers’s top-three of guards Corey Sanders (12.4 PPG), Nigel Johnson (11.3 PPG) and forward Deshawn Freeman (11.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG). Rutgers has struggled at times in conference, but the Badgers may find some tough sledding against a Scarlet Knights squad that averages over 42 rebounds per game.
Or not. Rutgers started the year 11-1 against a low-impact non-conference schedule before falling back to earth in Big Ten play, including a 20-point loss to the Badgers in Madison on Dec. 27. Hayes scored 20 points in that game and Zak Showalter added 18.
It may be a rough week for Rutgers, which travels to College Park on Tuesday for a date with No. 22 Maryland before heading up I-95 to NYC. Wisconsin catches Penn State on Tuesday at the Kohl Center.
Men’s hockey vs. Ohio State (7 p.m. ET)
Wisconsin (11-8-1, 4-2-0-0 Big Ten) has started the Big Ten season with a bang, averaging 4.33 goals per game in conference play. Coming off a solid weekend split with No. 6 Minnesota at the Kohl Center, Wisconsin boasts the sixth-ranked scoring offense in the country.
The Badgers look to knock off another ranked conference foe on Saturday as Wisconsin makes men’s hockey’s first-ever trip to MSG. Coach Tony Granato’s boys are going to have their hands full, however, as the No. 8 Buckeyes (12-4-6, 3-2-1-1) are coming off a series that saw them net a win and nab points in a shootout win against No. 4 Penn State in University Park.
Ohio State is second in the nation in scoring, averaging 4.23 goals per game. The Buckeyes’ high-powered offense is led by sophomore forward Mason Jobst (1.27 PPG) along with senior forwards Nick Schilkey (17 goals in 20 games) and David Gust (1.09 PPG).
Ohio State’s defense leaves a lot to be desired, giving up 2.77 goals per game, but compared to Wisconsin’s creaky D (the Badgers give up 3.30 goals per game themselves) the Buckeyes look downright stingy.
The teams meet up in Columbus on Thursday as well before the main event at the Garden. Expect fireworks.
Post-game Badgers landing spots: Kettle of Fish (West Village); The Grayson (East Village); Mad River Bar & Grill (Upper East Side).
Alright, UW NYC diaspora-what did I miss?