Sorry about the one-day delay on this post. I had to drive around to all corners of Minnesota yesterday to buy a new car and then had birthing class and then I was still in shock about last week’s biggest sports story.
RUTGERS WON A BIG TEN ROAD GAME IN MEN’S BASKETBALL!
Yes, the same Rutgers that never wins Big Ten road games! I couldn’t believe it either. The lamestream media wants to talk all about the “best Super Bowl ever” and continues to give short shrift to the mighty Rutgers Scarlet Knights and their massive accomplishments. Anyways, the Super Bowl was empirically a great football game. The Falcons looked dominant for the first 60 percent of the game and then Tom Brady and Bill Belichick happened. Everyone at my house got the same impending sense of doom once the Pats, and James White WOOOOOOOOOO, scored their first touchdown. I even made a bet that the Patriots would come back to win, which gave everyone at the party a hearty, if nervous, laugh.
Watching greatness unfurl in front of you live is really a, for lack of a better word, great experience. The Patriots, or Rutgers men’s basketball, are awful and their fans are somehow worse but... they are undeniably great. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time and Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of all time. It was awful to see them win another Super Bowl but... you can’t deny the greatness.
i shouldn’t have counted out touchdown tom.— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) February 6, 2017
Gross. I feel gross now. Let’s talk about something decidedly less gross: Big Ten basketball! All of the KenPom stats are as of Tuesday morning and do not take into account the results of Tuesday night’s Big Ten action. Again, sorry about the delay but let’s get back to yacking about dumb stuff!
Illinois Fighting Illini
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 80th; AdjO: 120th; AdjD: 65th
Previous week’s results: (L) vs. No. 11 Wisconsin 57-43; (L) vs. Minnesota 68-59
Biggest strength: Kipper Nichols scored 16 points against Minnesota. Maverick Morgan had 11 boards in the same game. The World Series trophy was at the game against the Gophers, the only time either of those teams will sniff a championship in years.
Wow. There are already 100+ people in line to see the Cubs trophy at State Farm Center. Building doesn't even open for another 2 hours...— Trevor Vallese (@TVallese) February 4, 2017
They could have been lined up to see Jalen Coleman-Lands win the “What? How? Stat Line of the Week,” Trevor. You don’t know! Coleman-Lands played 25 minutes, scored zero points, shot 0-of-10 (0-of-8 from distance), had two boards, one turnover and one foul. Gotta shoot your way out of a slump, friend.
Biggest weakness: Malcolm Hill shot 0-of-7 from three against Minnesota ... which somehow wasn’t the worst three-point shooting performance in the game. Did not play well against Wisconsin except for a brief moment in the middle of the second half where it looked like it might make a run. Shot under 28 percent against UW. Banner hanging.
This week’s schedule: (W) at Northwestern 68-61; Saturday vs. Penn State
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 41st; AdjO: 18th; AdjD: 129th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Penn State 110-102 (3OT!!!!); (L) at No. 11 Wisconsin 65-60
Biggest strength: Winning marathon triple-overtime games against noted powerhouse /checks notes //whispers to aide ///re-checks notes uhhhhh, against noted basketball team Penn State. Had three players score 27 or more points against PSU (Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk each had 27 and Thomas Bryant had 31). Newkirk also dropped 22 against the Badgers later in the week. Things are fine.
meanwhile, here's y'all: pic.twitter.com/OWRS2zpf69— CRIMSON QUARRY (@crimsonquarry) February 2, 2017
Biggest weakness: Kinda needed to beat Wisconsin but hasn’t won in Madison since 1998. That is such an amazing stat. Needed three overtimes to beat Penn State, a team that would go on to lose at home to Rutgers. Still has Tom Crean as coach... which is good?
if we boil it all down, the reason most of y'all don't like tom crean is because he's a dork and lost a game to syracuse four years ago.— CRIMSON QUARRY (@crimsonquarry) February 5, 2017
Everything is just fine.
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. No. 12 Purdue; Sunday vs. Michigan
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 69th (nice); AdjO: 50th; AdjD: 136th
Previous week’s results: (W) at Rutgers 83-63; (W) vs. Nebraska 81-70
I think Wisconsin is really going to regret not stealing Jordan Bohannon from Iowa. Dude averaged 16 points per game last week and hit nine of 13 threes. He’s only a freshman, so he’ll still have some rough shooting outings... but come a few years from now I think he’s a guy that could give the Big Ten fits. Peter “Pop, Lock and” Jok “It” returned to the lineup against Nebraska and scored 12 points and chipped in five boards and five assists.
Does it get more "Iowa" than a calf in a car parked outside a Dollar General? https://t.co/XadXyINmX9— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) February 3, 2017
Biggest weakness: Iowa has now won three games in a row. This comes on the heels of losing three games in a row. Is anybody any good in this conference????? (Spoiler alert: No, no one is good in the Big Ten this year). This kid doesn’t give a crap about any of that, though.
Between him and Dilly Bar Dan, the Big Ten is truly the Conference of Ice Cream.
This week’s schedule: Wednesday at Minnesota; Saturday at Michigan State
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 35th; AdjO: 51st; AdjD: 38th
Previous week’s results: (W) at Ohio State 77-71; (L) vs. No. 12 Purdue 73-72
Biggest strength: Still hasn’t lost a game on the road and that streak will certainly continue this week at hapless Penn State (UNLESS SOMETHING CRAZY HAPPENED LAST NIGHT!!!!). (Ed. note: Come on, Drew. You should know better.) Justin Jackson had 22 and 12 against aOsu and Melo Trimble had 22 (14-of-15 from the line) and five assists against Purdue. Finding silver linings.
Maryland's only two conference losses came by 3 combined points when they didn't make a FG for 6+ minutes to end the games.— Andrew Emmer (@AndrewEmmer) February 4, 2017
Biggest weakness: It sure would be a shame if something were to happen to your record.
RT if your basketball team is off to its best start ever— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) February 1, 2017
Couldn’t close out Purdue despite leading for just about the entire game. Literally.
Maryland led for 37:12 of game time.— Thomas Kendziora (@TKendziora37) February 4, 2017
Purdue led for 59 seconds.
I’ve been saying Maryland is trash and a paper tiger all year, and the Terps keep proving me wrong. (Ed. note: See last ed. note.) Even in losing to Purdue, they showed that they are a legit Big Ten contender. That doesn’t really mean much this year because the Big Ten is so bad, you see, but I guess it’s something?
This week’s schedule: (L) at Penn State 70-64; Saturday vs. Ohio State
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 40th; AdjO: 13th; AdjD: 150th
Previous week’s results: (L) vs. Ohio State 70-66
Biggest strength: Derrick Walton had 25 points and 10 rebounds. Lady Gaga had a really awesome halftime show at the Super Bowl. She played the hits, she championed LGBTQ rights, there were a lot of pyrotechnics and she jumped off the dang roof of the stadium!
Look, I know that part was pre-recorded or whatever. Doesn’t make it any less cool. The Super Bowl is in Minneapolis next year and since I live there now I’d like to offer up a few suggestions on who the performer should be: 1) Prince’s ghost (obvi first choice); 2) Atmosphere; 3) The Hold Steady; 4) my annoying neighbor, Gary, who sings while shoveling his driveway. You’re welcome, NFL.
Biggest weakness: I really wanna know what this tweet said now!
Gave up 16 offensive rebounds to the Buckeyes. Seriously... no one in this conference is good, like, at all.
This week’s schedule: (W) vs. Michigan State 86-57; Sunday at Indiana
Michigan State Spartans
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 49th; AdjO: 76th; AdjD: 40th
Previous week’s results: (W) at Nebraska 72-61
Biggest strength: Miles Bridges played well again. Had five players in double-figures. Had one player who was sick.
Big Puddin' is playing with the flu. MJ played with the flu.— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) February 3, 2017
Big Puddin' is MJ.
Beat Nebraska for the first time in their last four tries. That makes less sense than a Sean Spicer press conference. #topical
melissa mccarthy did not play sean spicer— keely flaherty (@flahertykeely) February 5, 2017
SHE BECAME SEAN SPICER pic.twitter.com/YyMU48IeNI
Biggest weakness: Disrespecting everything I stand for.
"There are positives to Twitter but I haven't found one yet." - Tom Izzo— Erin Sorensen (@erinsorensen) February 3, 2017
Clearly Tom Izzo doesn’t follow @PFTCommenter and does follow me.
This week’s schedule: (L) at Michigan 86-57; Saturday vs. Iowa
Minnesota Golden Gophers
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 37th; AdjO: 109th; AdjD: 10th
Previous week’s results: (W) at Illinois 68-59
Biggest strength: Four of five starters scored 13 points or more. Have y’all seen what the Gophers are trying to make “a thing?”
Gopher fans tweet pictures of themselves wearing track jackets and ties and use the hashtag #FleckFriday. It makes me think that Tom Izzo had a point earlier.
Biggest weakness: The bench scored 11 points. When your dumb Twitter hashtag tweet gets turned around on you.
A number of years ago, a friend of mine who works for a professional sports team asked me if I’d be interested in working as their social media coordinator, or whomever is the person in charge of their Twitter (I don’t know what the job is called). I would have had to move from Chicago, so I turned it down. I’ve decided my new goal in life is to get the Badgers to allow me to live-tweet a football or basketball game and only limit me by saying I can’t curse. They won’t even interview me for a coaching position, so I think this is the least they could do. LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN, FOLKS! #LetDrewTweet
This week’s schedule: Wednesday vs. Iowa; Saturday at Rutgers
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 96th; AdjO: 139th; AdjD: 76th
Previous week’s results: (L) vs. Michigan State 72-61; (L) at Iowa 81-70
Biggest strength: After somehow beating Purdue, Nebraska used all of its momentum and... lost its next two games by double-digits. Tai Webster had 18 points against Michigan State and 14 points against Iowa. Retired the number of a guy who is best known for being stepped over by Allen Iverson.
Biggest weakness: A really strong contender for the “What? How? Stat Line of the Week” comes to us from Evan Taylor. Against MSU, Taylor played 31 minutes, scored two points on 1-of-3 shooting, had three rebounds, one turnover, one steal and three fouls. You’d think being on the floor for that long, more than three rebounds would just fall into your lap, but what do I know? The last time I played competitive basketball, one of the guys on my team was wearing jeans. At least the Warriors got roasted one last time!
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. No. 11 Wisconsin
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 30th; AdjO: 48th; AdjD: 28th
Previous week’s results: (L) at No. 12 Purdue 80-59
Biggest strength: Bryant McIntosh scored 22 points, which was dangerously close to half of his team’s points.
Halftime analysis: If the Boilermakers keeps shooting 64 percent from three they will win— Inside NU (@insidenu) February 2, 2017
Can you believe that website is free? The Wildcats also haven’t lost to Illinois in basketball OR football in 710 days. I hope nothing crazy happened last night...
(Ed. note: Again, great timing, Drew.)
It feels this way right now, but for Northwestern, even after a defeat to Illinois at home, not all hope is lost. https://t.co/DyCX8lovSZ— Inside NU (@insidenu) February 8, 2017
After filing for an alcoholic-beverage license today, an ax-throwing venue plans to open in Louisville this spring https://t.co/7y67oFurop— Courier-Journal.com (@courierjournal) February 7, 2017
This is apparently a thing now! My sister had her birthday party at a place like this, but in Philly, and somehow no one got their arm hacked off with an axe. I can’t even begin to fathom what the insurance policy is for a place like this.
Speaking of fun things to do! My friends and I went and played Whirlyball on Sunday before the Badgers game and holy hell is it fun. Drinking beers and then driving bumper cars while also playing sports is the best. I also really like the chyron for the woman in that clip. “Played Whirlyball,” like that is her one main life accomplishment.
This week’s schedule: (L) vs. Illinois 68-61; Sunday at No. 11 Wisconsin
Ohio State Buckeyes
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 60th; AdjO: 60th; AdjD: 72nd
Previous week’s results: (L) vs. Maryland 77-71; (W) at Michigan 70-66
Biggest strength: My forbidden love, Jae’Sean Tate, had 20 points, four boards, four assists and two steals against Maryland and followed it up with 13, five, three and a block against Michigan. The man does it all. Maybe Will Ferrell will play him in a movie some day.
TIL Thad Matta has an autographed photo from Will Ferrell that says, "Thad, happy birthday, bitch." pic.twitter.com/bFmjVZ7K6u— Tim Shoemaker (@TimShoemaker) February 7, 2017
Biggest weakness: Is there a better pettiness than college sports rivalry pettiness?
Ohio State leads Michigan at the half, 36-35, after a half court shot by Michigan, unlike the spot, is not good— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) February 4, 2017
I posit that no, there is not. College sports rivalry pettiness, or CSRP for short and confusing, can go year-round and last for decades, if not generations. Stuff that happened years before you were born can be used in an argument if it makes your rival look wrong or dumb. I was at a bar in Minneapolis two years ago during the Axe game and literally split tables a few inches apart so we didn’t have to sit with Minnesota fans. A LITERAL BORDER BATTLE! I, for one, encourage all forms of CSRP and if asked will bring a healthy dose of it to the official Badgers football Twitter account. #LetDrewTweet
This week’s schedule: Wednesday vs. Rutgers; Saturday at Maryland
Penn State Nittany Lions
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 92nd; AdjO: 186th; AdjD: 41st
Previous week’s results: (L) at Indiana 110-102 (3 OT!!!!!!); (L) vs. Rutgers 70-68
Biggest strength: The Bachelor recap is now being bestowed upon Penn State because Rutgers has battled its way out of the cellar of the conference. Metaphorically, of course—in reality, Rutgers is still the worst team in the conference and will continue to be so until the sun finally explodes and spares us all from watching another Big Ten basketball game.
Anyways... Alexis finally got sent home this week. I’m inconsolable.
I don’t even know if I can bring myself to watching stupid Nick traipse around the world with stupid girls anymore. It’s just too sad now. If there is any justice in the world, Alexis will have her own spin-off show where she plays pranks on Nic Cage. Pranked and Afraid, this summer on Bravo.
Biggest weakness: Oh... oh dear.
What happens when you lose to Rutgers in basketball? Well, Wisconsin went to the Final Four that one time, so you’re in luck, Penn State! Book your tickets now!
This week’s schedule: (W) vs. Maryland 70-64; Saturday at Illinois
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 12th; AdjO: 12th; AdjD: 22nd
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Northwestern 80-59; (W) at Maryland 73-72
Biggest strength: Won two games against ranked teams. Northwestern only being ranked because it’s a “top 25” and not a “top whatever, who cares, everyone stinks.” Caleb Swanigan and Ethan Happ are the only two good things in the Big Ten this year.
Biggest weakness: Protecting its players from unwanted looks.
That is giving me the heebie-jeebies. Let’s move on.
This week’s schedule: Thursday at Indiana
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 134th; AdjO: 268th; AdjD: 46th
Previous week’s results: (L) vs. Iowa 83-63; (W) at Penn State 70-68
Biggest strength: DeShawn Freeman had 17 points and 13 boards against Iowa. Corey Sanders had 25 points and six boards against Penn State while Freeman had 15 and eight. It’s kind of weird actually looking at Rutgers box scores this week. I didn’t even know some of its players had names! I thought it was kind of like a Tecmo Super Bowl thing where none of the players signed their rights over to the game so the starting lineup was just PG Rutgers, SG Rutgers, SF Rutgers, QB Eagles, C Rutgers or whatever. Good work, Rutgers.
Rutgers WINS 70-68 as Deshawn Freeman changed Tony Carrs shot in the paint. Huge victory, the first road win in B1G play in program history— On the Banks (@OTB_SBNation) February 4, 2017
Biggest weakness: So, my sister-in-law is marrying one of my best friends this summer here in the Twin Cities and it will be a joyous occasion by all accounts. The best part about the weekend is that this (probably NSFW, I don’t know how liberal your work is) is happening at the same time. I’ve never seen a Furry Convention, but my one friend who is still looking for a date has vowed to bring a Furry to the wedding. Needless to say, I’m overwhelmed with excitement. My wife and I had Bucky at our wedding, what’s the difference?
The Minneapolis furry group never ceases to amaze me. It's like a hidden treasure. Nobody talks about it, but we've got SO MANY FURRIES.— Shroud (@Shr0ud) January 23, 2017
This week’s schedule: Wednesday at Ohio State; Saturday vs. Minnesota
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 11th; AdjO: 29th; AdjD: 7th
Previous week’s results: (W) at Illinois 57-43; (W) vs. Indiana 65-60
Biggest strength: Ethan Happ had 14 and 13 against the Illini and 20, seven, two assists, three blocks and three steals against Indiana. He makes me happy.
Wisconsin's Ethan Happ is the best defender I've seen all season. To this point, he's the leader for National Defensive Player of the Year.— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) February 6, 2017
The Badgers made 74 percent of their free throws against the Hoosiers! FIRE THE DANG CANNONS! Nigel Hayes had 15 and 10 against IU and made seven of eight free throws. The Badgers are ranked so very high in the polls, mainly because they just keep winning. I know it sounds stupid, but other, better, teams aren’t doing what the Badgers are doing. Everyone is bad this year, but someone has to be least bad and the Badgers have as good a chance as anyone to be that team!
Biggest weakness: While Minnesota is playing dumb dress-up games, the real men here in Wisconsin are gritting around and getting down to business.
Wisconsin's grit levels are about to be off the charts with Jim Leonhard as DC pic.twitter.com/SfEvPtPiCe— Charlie (@CharlieWisco) February 4, 2017
This week’s schedule: Thursday at Nebraska; Sunday vs. Northwestern
TFW you're a dog and a witch trapped your soul in a piece of wood pic.twitter.com/3ucP7Il7Ba— Chris Blundell (@ChrisBlundell) February 3, 2017