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The B1G Roast: The Bell Tolls for Thee, Wisconsin

How can Wisconsin make it so that it never has to play Northwestern in anything ever again?

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Wisconsin
“We are gonna work on passing out of the double-team in practice this week.”
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

It finally happened, folks. I was a day late with my column last week and Wisconsin screwed the pooch. I mean, the Badgers tried to do it twice in one week but Nebraska’s Wisconsin-esque inability to put a team away reared its ugly head at the most opportune time for UW: overtime.

Don’t get me wrong, Northwestern is a good team... but if you are a “top-10” team in the country you shouldn’t be losing to the Wildcats, missing their leading scorer no less, on your home court. I don’t “do math,” but if there was ever a season where every team ended up tied for first place in the Big Ten with a 9-9 record (except for Rutgers, who would somehow be 0-18) it is this dumb season.

Should just say “This season.” The Big Ten has been a shell of its former self and no one is really good. Wisconsin, Purdue, Maryland and probably Northwestern (!!!!) are going to make the NCAA tournament. After that? WHO THE HELL KNOWS!?!?! Whatever, I try and stay positive about this stuff (and fail miserably) because sports are supposed to be fun (when in actuality they are #bad) so let’s just hope the Badgers don’t lose in the first-round of the tournament.

It’s Valentine’s Day, so hopefully you’ve made the appropriate reservations/gift purchases for your significant other. My wife, who is used to me working on most major holidays, doesn’t care about celebrating Valentine’s Day on the 14th... which really works out for me because I hate going to busy bars/restaurants because I’m an old grouch. HOWEVAH, this year I have tonight off, but instead of going out to dinner my wife has given me the option of going to see the LEGO Batman Movie OR RUN THE FREAKING JEWELS LIVE AT, well, not The Garden, but some club in St. Paul. She’s the best, is basically my point.

Enough with the mushy stuff. Let’s throw on our hazmat suits and start cleaning up the toxic waste dump that was the last week of Big Ten hoops with advanced stats and Indiana masochism. Wait, I want this tweet to represent the Big Ten season!

Illinois Fighting Illini

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 75th; AdjO: 113th; AdjD: 68th

Previous week’s results: (W) at Northwestern 68-61; (L) vs. Penn State 83-70

Biggest strength: Beat Northwestern which, to be perfectly honest, they had no business doing. Malcolm Hill continues to toil away in purgatory, playing well for the Illini night after night. Gave the high-school squash captain named Kipper Nichols the start against Penn State. Returning to normalcy.

Biggest weakness: Illinois basketball is an abject disaster currently. After beating rival Northwestern, the Illini returned home with some momentum and proceeded to be run out of the gymnasium by Penn State. There is almost more talk about firing John Groce than there is about firing Tom Crean!

Even worse? Apparently Michael Finke’s parents bussed in a bunch of illegal voters to influence this poll!

Stay strong, Finke. Keep the flow.

This week’s schedule: Saturday at Iowa

Indiana Hoosiers

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 49th; AdjO: 28th; AdjD: 114th

Previous week’s results: (L) vs. No. 11 Purdue 69-64; (L) vs. Michigan 75-63

Biggest strength: Thomas Bryant had 23 points vs. secondary rival Purdue. Things were going well for exactly one-quarter of Indiana’s week.

Then, uh, then... well just see below.

Biggest weakness:

/does chef kissing fingers motion

And then there’s this, which I... I just can’t with these people.

Against teams that are ranked 35th or better by KenPom in the Big Ten, Indiana is 0-7. It, uh, also lost to Nebraska. At home. Tune in Tuesday night for what will surely be a number of calm and reasoned takes as the Hoosiers lose at The Barn by a respectable nine points!

This week’s schedule: Wednesday at Minnesota

Iowa Hawkeyes

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 71st; AdjO: 52nd; AdjD: 138th

Previous week’s results: (L) at Minnesota 101-89 2OT; (L) at Michigan State 77-66

Biggest strength: Not a whole lot is going right for the Hawkeyes right now, which pleases me. Peter “Stir Fry You In My” Jok had 28 points and nine boards in the double-OT loss to the Gophers and added 13 points and eight assists in the loss to MSU.

He did suffer a slight knee bruise against the Spartans, but was able to play through it.

Biggest weakness: They lost both games and their tournament chances are dwindling quickly. Nicholas Baer isn’t playing well enough to make bear jokes anymore. Jordan Bohannon delivered an excellent “What? How? Stat Line of the Week” by playing 18 minutes against MSU, scoring zero points on 0-of-8 (0-of-6 from three) shooting, three rebounds, one assist, one turnover, one steal and two fouls. For this, he was rewarded with an offensive rating of six. WOOF. Tyler Cook left the game against MSU for a face injury. Upon further review, he was poked in the eye by his own teammate! I thought Adam Woodbury had graduated! INVESTIGATE THIS, NCAA! At least there was this:

This week’s schedule: Saturday vs. Illinois

Maryland Terrapins

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 35th; AdjO: 47th; AdjD: 50th

Previous week’s results: (L) at Penn State 70-64; (W) vs. Ohio State 86-77

Biggest strength: Their bench scored 33 points against aOsu. Slovakia still bumping Ricky Martin, apparently.

Justin Jackson scored 14 points and grabbed nine boards against PSU and Anthony Cowan had 19 points against the Buckeyes.

Biggest weakness: Lost to Penn State, which is bad. Melo Trimble scored eight of their first 10 points against PSU and then proceeded to go 1-for-10 the rest of the game. Also, layups are a weakness for them now.

This week’s schedule: Wednesday at Northwestern; Sunday at No. 15 Wisconsin

Michigan Wolverines

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 31st; AdjO: 8th; AdjD: 115th

Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Michigan State 86-57; (W) at Indiana 75-63

Biggest strength: You guys. We need to talk about this. Moe Wagner might actually be a super-villain! Look at this!

HE TRIED TO KILL A MAN! Well, technically it was Tom Crean, who may or not be a human man, but either way WAGNER TRIED TO KILL SOMETHING! I can’t believe no one else is mentioning this. I’m going to win a Pulitzer for this investigative reporting when it finally comes out that Wagner has been in cahoots with Galactus to devour Earth. A GOT DAMN PULITZER! If any rogue federal agents are reading... DM me. Derrick Walton had a really good week.

Biggest weakness: Sportsmanship... LOL, JK, I don’t care about any of that. If I could dunk, I’d yell in the Pope’s face. Young or otherwise.

This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. No. 15 Wisconsin; Sunday at Minnesota

Michigan State Spartans

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 54th; AdjO: 89th; AdjD: 42nd

Previous week’s results: (L) at Michigan 86-57; (W) vs. Iowa 77-66

Biggest strength: “Big Pudding” is the best nickname. A man his size shouldn’t be able to run coast to coast, but here we are.

Ward and Miles Bridges both had good weeks scoring-wise. They are also both freshmen. Could spell trouble for the rest of the conference, but Bridges is probably going pro, right? I don’t know... I’m just an investigative reporter uncovering intergalactic crimes.

Biggest weakness: School choice.

I bet you the drugs were better at Michigan... more rich kids from the coasts. Also, that loss to Michigan in basketball was real embarrassing. Twenty-nine points????? Uff-da. Joshua Langford played 16 minutes and had one turnover, one steal and one foul. Does that even qualify for the “What? How? Stat Line of the Week?” So many zeroes in the box score.

This week’s schedule: Tonight vs. Ohio State; Saturday at No. 11 Purdue

Minnesota Golden Gophers

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 37th; AdjO: 100th; AdjD: 15th

Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Iowa 101-89 2OT; (W) at Rutgers 72-63

Biggest strength: Sweet merciful heavens, this dunk was badass.

Besides that dunk, Jordan Murphy had 25 points and 19 rebounds against Iowa, which is a silly stat line. Nate Mason had 25 points and seven assists in the same game. Double-OT games are crazy! Murphy followed up with 17 points and 11 boards against Rutgers. That’s a pretty solid week!

Biggest weakness: I mean, the state of Iowa does suck worse than the state of Minnesota.

Except that Iowa is producing some pretty good beers these days; y’all should check it out. Toppling Goliath is already in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but there are some breweries that don’t distribute outside of Iowa. Exile Brewing Co.’s Gorilla Press Redux IPA was one of the best hoppy beers I had last year.

This week’s schedule: Wednesday vs. Indiana; Sunday vs. Michigan

Nebraska Cornhuskers

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 89th; AdjO: 136th; AdjD: 66th

Previous week’s results: (L) vs. No. 15 Wisconsin 70-69 OT

Biggest strength: Took a ranked Wisconsin team to OT with some ridiculous end-of-game shooting. Cheering for Nebrasketball be like...

This week during my Monday night birthing class, our teacher was showing us the unflattering underwear that my wife will have to wear after giving birth and she committed fully to the presentation by putting them on over her pants. She then sat in them for the last NINE MINUTES OF CLASS! I counted. I really don’t know what to do with this information but I felt the need to get it off my chest because... damn, it was weird. Ed Morrow had 13 rebounds in his first game back since Jan. 8.

Biggest weakness: This tweet is a gem. It took me a couple of times reading it over to even understand what the joke was.

Twitter is a failing company that doesn’t make any money and has terrible people on it, but every once in a while...*sniffs*... every once in a while, it is good.

This week’s schedule: Tonight vs. Penn State; Saturday at Ohio State

Northwestern Wildcats

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 30th; AdjO: 49th; AdjD: 26th

Previous week’s results: (L) vs. Illinois 68-61; (W) at No. 15 Wisconsin 66-59

Biggest strength: Playing the Badgers on the road, oddly.

Barry Alvarez needs to petition the Big Ten to never have Wisconsin play Northwestern again in anything. I’m only 45 percent joking. Bryant McIntosh had a monster week, including 25 points, seven boards and seven assists against UW. Although, McIntosh’s 25 points did come on 21 shots, which is Iversonian (Allen, not Khalil) in its efficiency. Look, I’m currently wearing socks with Iverson (again, Allen, not Khalil) on them so I can make fun of him.

Biggest weakness: Playing the Illini at home, oddly.

When the 30 for 30 on this year’s Big Ten basketball campaign comes out, it’ll be really short. It will literally be the shrugging guy you see on Twitter for 30 seconds and then a poop emoji.

This week’s schedule: Wednesday vs. Maryland; Saturday vs. Rutgers

Ohio State Buckeyes

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 61st; AdjO: 58th; AdjD: 85th

Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Rutgers 70-64; (L) at Maryland 86-77

Biggest strength: Jae’Sean Tate IS a national treasure.

You know what happens tomorrow, don’t you? All the Valentine’s Day candy goes on sale and you get to clean up! There will be Reese’s Hearts for everyone. I will feel like Scrooge McDuck with all the candy Ima buy.

Biggest weakness: Remember above when we talked about how many points Maryland’s bench scored against them? Try and guess how many points the Buckeyes’ bench scored. Nope, lower... lower... that’s right, their bench scored minus-3 points. I’m just kidding, but they did score zero points.

This is how I feel about Ohio State basketball these last two seasons.

This week’s schedule: Tonight at Michigan State; Saturday vs. Nebraska

Penn State Nittany Lions

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 80th; AdjO: 160th; AdjD: 38th

Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Maryland 70-64; (W) at Illinois 83-70

Biggest strength: And all of the sudden, Penn Freaking State has won two Big Ten games in a row after losing to Rutgers. /cues up GIF of Archer asking if we are doing phrasing anymore or not.

Biggest weakness: A funny thing about recruiting is if you don’t recruit the major metropolitan area near you well, you’re probably not going to win basketball games. Illinois doesn’t recruit Chicago well. Penn State recruits Philadelphia well. Penn State is 2-0 vs. Illinois this year. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

This week’s schedule: Tonight at Nebraska

Purdue Boilermakers

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 11th; AdjO: 16th; AdjD: 17th

Previous week’s results: (W) at Indiana 69-64

Biggest strength: Folks, we are going to talk about officiating in the Big Ten. It’s about to get ugly.

When Caleb Swanigan and Thomas Bryant were called for a double-foul that resulted in BOTH PLAYERS FOULING OUT at the end of a tense IU/PU game, I think the dam finally broke on people holding back on the conference’s officials. Obviously people always complain about the calls in certain games, but vitriol came from every corner of the conference during that game and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. Bryant was involved in another double-foul against Michigan. There were roughly 600,000 fouls called in the Badgers/Huskers game and absolutely no flow. If you’re going to have the refs either not make a call or make all the calls, you might as well just have an oscillating fan be the head official. When the pin is pulled up, there is no foul; when it’s oscillating, it is a foul. Mitch Hedberg probably had something for this (NSFW language).

Biggest weakness: Their fans have never been mad online.


Yeah... they aren’t going to the Final Four.

This made me giggle pretty good, but I’m pretty sure Matt Painter would win in a fist fight vs. Tom Crean. The rest is true, though.

This week’s schedule: (W) at Northwestern 68-61; Saturday vs. Penn State

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 136th; AdjO: 258th; AdjD: 56th

Previous week’s results: (L) at Ohio State 70-64; (L) vs. Minnesota 72-63

Biggest strength: I don’t even know what happened on The Bachelor last night. I’ve moved on to Summer House on Bravo because it’s on after our birthing class and it’s like Jersey Shore but if everyone was older, better-looking and had a bunch of money. This week, they were celebrating Kyle’s 34th birthday but Lindsay and Everett got into a huge fight and ruined everything because... drunk? There are also twins on the show. One is married and the other isn’t, so the one twin who isn’t married is into one of the guys on the show but the guy is a total slut and won’t commit. Anyways, the twins’ parents are there and “grill” him even though he isn’t even their daughter’s boyfriend.

You really shouldn’t listen to me about anything because this is a show I willfully watch every week and LOVE.

Biggest weakness: If Rutgers was a character on Summer House, it would be Cristina. She sucks. Wisconsin would be Stephen. My wife and I like him the best on the show. Hey Mike, is there any need for a writer at the SB Nation reality TV blog?

(Ed. note: Hit me up, Cristina. We’ll find a spot for you.)

Shut up, Cristina. No one likes you.

This week’s schedule: Tonight at No. 11 Purdue; Saturday at Northwestern

Wisconsin Badgers

KenPom rank: AdjEm: 15th; AdjO: 36th; AdjD: 7th

Previous week’s results: (W) at Nebraska 70-69 OT; (L) vs. Northwestern 66-59

Biggest strength: Nigel Hayes played well against Nebraska and Ethan Happ had some good plays too. They’ve played well in OT.

This tweet is top-shelf, although stolen from Reddit, and I commend the @BadgerMBB for throwing it out there.

Biggest weakness: Where to begin? Couldn’t beat Northwestern, who I will remind you again was missing its leading scorer, at home. Got taken to OT by Nebraska. Had twice as many turnovers as NU. Got out-rebounded by Nebraska 50-37. Bronson Koenig is clearly hurt and needs to sit out. Ethan Happ is having trouble passing out of the double-team and when he does few of his teammates can make an open jumper. Koenig got a 10-second violation by literally walking the ball up the court too slowly. The Badgers’ offense is mostly bad, especially with Koenig not playing at 100 percent and Vitto Brown playing... at all.

I really want to go all in on this Badgers team, and I undoubtedly will, but they are making it increasingly difficult with their lackadaisical play and inability to beat any team with a pulse. KenPom has Michigan favored to win now, so maybe I should be live-tweeting that game from the B5Q account (since we are 2-0 this year when I do that!). /nudges Mike

This week’s schedule: Thursday at Michigan; Sunday vs. Maryland