A Weekly Glance at B1G Basketball (12/02 – 12/08)

On December 5, 2012 by

B1G Basketball


In my attempt to create an exciting, new column over at The Empire, I take a look at each B1G team’s best matchup of the week.  I have recently migrated over from The Silver Bullet, so cut me some slack if this isn’t up to usual “Buckeye Empire” standards.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get the hang of things fairly soon.  Enjoy.




Long Beach State (3-4) vs. #7 Ohio State (5-1)


2011 Records: Long Beach State (25-9) and Ohio State (31-8)

When: Saturday, December 8th @ 12:00 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: Long Beach State 60 – Ohio State 76


I have to say, I absolutely love when the Buckeyes take on obscure teams that, if not obligated to notice due to them being on Ohio State’s schedule, I would never, ever guess in a million years the name of their mascot.  The Long Beach State Dirtbags (yes, the dirtbags) certainly rival my previous favorite, the Golden Retrievers of Maryland Baltimore County.  That being said, the Dirtbags have themselves a decent roundball team.  They nearly upset the 5-seed New Mexico Lobos in the 2nd round of the NCAA tourney a year ago, and are no stranger to facing quality opponents.  In fact, 2 of the Dirtbags’ losses this year have come against NCAA basketball powerhouses Arizona and North Carolina.  However, I do see the Buckeyes coming out victorious, but not by the largest margin.  After an impressive showing against Duke in the B1G-ACC Challenge, I see Ohio State struggling early with the Dirtbags (gets funnier to me every time), but taking care of business in the end.

EDIT: It has come to my attention that the “Dirtbags” nickname only applies to the Long Beach State baseball team.  Regardless, I refuse to acknowledge the proper 49ers mascot and will be cursing out the Long Beach State Dirtbags from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM on Saturday.  I encourage you to do the same.


Penn State (4-3) vs. La Salle (4-1)


2011 Records: Penn State (12-20) and La Salle (21-13)

When: Wednesday, December 5th @ 9:00 PM Eastern

Channel: NBC Sports Network

My Prediction: Penn State 62 – La Salle 70


In a tough matchup for the Nittany Lions, they travel to Philadelphia to take on the La Salle Explorers.  Despite La Salle being located in Philadelphia, this game is considered a “neutral location,” as it takes place at The Palestra, the historic home arena to the University of Pennsylvania Quaker’s basketball team.  Although not yet receiving the opportunity to watch much Penn State basketball so far this year, La Salle, on paper, certainly does impress.  The only comparable statistic between the two teams is rebounds/game, as La Salle is much higher ranked in points/game, assists/game, and field goal percentage.  La Salle’s top scorers, Tyreek Duren and Ramon Galloway, are shooting at a very high percentage from deep, and I expect them to feel quite at home in Philadelphia.  It should be a tight one, but the Explorers may prove tough to beat (essentially) at home.


Purdue (3-4) vs. Eastern Michigan (5-2)


2011 Records: Purdue (22-13) and Eastern Michigan (14-18)

When: Saturday, December 8th @ 2:00 PM Eastern

Channel: ESPN3

My Prediction: Purdue 73 – Eastern Michigan 59


Another seemingly sure win for the B1G, Purdue (for some reason) travels to Eastern Michigan in mid-day matchup on Saturday.  Although the Boilermakers haven’t been overly impressive by B1G standards thus far, they rank higher than Eastern Michigan in nearly every statistical category and aim to demolish the Eagles on the road.  I will be shocked if the Eagles hang anywhere near Purdue for more than one half of play.


Central Connecticut State (3-3) vs. #1 Indiana (8-0)


Cody Zeller

2011 Records: Central Connecticut State (13-16) and Indiana (27-9)

When: Saturday, December 8th @ 6:00 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: Central Connecticut State 42 – Indiana 88


Very minimal effort needed in order to preview this game, as the Hoosiers should dominate from start to finish.  The only thing worth thinking about is if IU will win by 30 or 40 points.  One thing of major importance to note: The highlight of the Central Connecticut Blue Devils’ season thus far is a thrilling overtime win over my second favorite college basketball team with an obscure mascot- The University of Maryland Baltimore County Golden Retrievers.


Wisconsin (5-3) vs. Marquette (5-2)


2011 Records: Wisconsin (13-16) and Marquette (27-9)

When: Saturday, December 8th @ 6:00 PM Eastern

Channel: ESPN2/WatchESPN

My Prediction: Wisconsin 50 – Marquette 56


In my opinion, two teams that have underperformed so far in 2012 are the Wisconsin Badgers and the Marquette Golden Eagles.  The Badgers were embarrassed on national television against the Florida Gators in their second game of the year, then blew the B1G-ACC Challenge by losing to the Virginia Cavaliers.  Marquette was also blown out by Florida, but their only other loss was by 1 point to Butler.  Also, the Golden Eagles rank better than the Badgers in most statistical categories.  I expect this game to be a grind and a low-scoring affair, with the home squad coming out on top.


#13 Illinois (8-0) vs. #10 Gonzaga (8-0)


2011 Records: Illinois (17-15) and Gonzaga (26-7)

When: Saturday, December 8th @ 10:00 PM Eastern

Channel: ESPN2/WatchESPN

My Prediction: Illinois 70 – Gonzaga 63


If both Gonzaga and Illinois take care of business early on this week, a huge matchup of two undefeated teams will take place on Saturday night in Spokane.  The Illini seem to have completely bought in to the fast pace system of coach John Groce, and have garnered a sizzling 8-0 start.  With two teams relying heavily on the three point shot, expect a high scoring affair and certainly an exciting game.  After proving they can handle long road trips by winning the Maui Invitational, I expect the Illini to come out prepared and knock off the Zags.




#16 Creighton (7-1) vs. Nebraska (6-1)


2011 Records: Creighton (29-6) and Nebraska (12-18)

When: Thursday, December 6th @ 8:00 PM Eastern

Channel: ESPN3

My Prediction: Creighton 74 – Nebraska 58

Doug McDermott

The Huskers have an extremely tough matchup this week when they host the #16 Creighton Bluejays. As most are aware, Creighton’s squad relies heavily on Doug McDermott, a Preseason All-American choice and Wooden Award Preseason Top 50.  McDermott is averaging 21.3 points/game and is shooting .469 from beyond the arc.  Additionally aiding the Bluejays, the Huskers faced and defeated probably their best opponent of the season on Monday, the USC Trojans.  I expect Nebraska to be somewhat deflated after such an impressive 12-point victory over the Trojans.  Expect Vegas to set a fairly sizeable line favoring Creighton, but with a great performance from McDermott, the Bluejays just might cover a large spread.


Iowa State (5-2) vs. Iowa (6-2)


2011 Records: Iowa State (23-11) and Iowa (18-17)

When: Friday, December 7th @ 8:00 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: Iowa State 83 – Iowa 75


I certainly love the classic Iowa-Iowa State matchups on the gridiron, and I’m hoping this lone B1G matchup Friday night does not disappoint when the Cyclones make the short trek to Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes.  B1G fans may recognize a certain Cyclone by the name of Korie Lucious on Friday, as many remember Lucious’s days under the tutileage of Tom Izzo as a Michigan State Spartan.  Lucious leads the Cyclones in assists, and is a big reason for Iowa State’s impressive 41st ranking in assists/game.  More impressively, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg has his squad ranked 1st in the nation in rebounds/game and 14th in points/game.  With statistics and quality of teams played thus far comparing rather favorably to the Cyclones, I expect them to take this one on the road.  However, as a B1G fan, I’ll be pulling for ex-Siena coach and current Iowa coach Fran McCaffery to grab a quality win for the B1G.


Arkansas (3-3) vs. #3 Michigan (7-0)


2011 Records: Arkansas (18-14) and Michigan (21-10)

When: Saturday, December 8th @ 12:00 PM Eastern

Channel: CBS

My Prediction: Arkansas 67 – Michigan 75


Although seemingly a guaranteed victory for the Wolverines, I can see Michigan having their hands full with the Razorbacks.  Arkansas averages an impressive 82.3 points/game, and Michigan will have to fulfill the B1G’s hardnosed defensive reputation to hold them off.  Additionally, the Wolverines have been shooting at an astronomical .524 field goal percentage, and I question whether or not they can keep this up.  Don’t get me wrong, Michigan is among the B1G’s elite and a very, very good team, but I’m placing the 3rd ranked team in the nation on upset alert this Saturday.  Mark my words, Arkansas is not a team to take lightly.


Loyola (IL) (6-2) vs. #19 Michigan State (6-2)


2011 Records: Loyola (IL) (7-23) and Michigan State (29-8)

When: Saturday, December 8th @ 2:00 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: Loyola (IL) 52 – Michigan State 70


In one of the few bona fide lock wins for the B1G this week, the Loyola (IL) Ramblers travel to East Lansing to face Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans.  Aside from the victory against Kansas, the Michigan State Spartans had their best performance in their last game against Nicholls State.  I see the Spartans keeping this momentum and rolling over the Ramblers, who have faced minimal competition and have low rankings in most statistical categories.


Butler (5-2) vs. Northwestern (6-2)


2011 Records: Butler (22-15) and Northwestern (19-14)

When: Saturday, December 8th @ 8:00 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: Butler 55 – Northwestern 59


Two similar, hard-nosed teams face off in Evanston on Saturday evening on the Big Ten Network.  Despite the Kitty Kats coming off a horrific loss vs. UIC, I see them defeating Butler in a tight battle.  However, I think this game depends entirely on who shoots a better percentage from the field.  I give the nod to Northwestern at home.


#14 Minnesota (8-1) vs. USC (3-4)


2011 Records: Minnesota (23-15) and USC (6-15)

When: Saturday, December 8th @ 10:30 PM Eastern

Channel: Pac-12 Network

My Prediction: Minnesota 75 – USC 55


When glancing at the much-heralded names of these two teams, one would expect a decent matchup.  However, USC has proven early this year that they are certainly a below average team.  Minnesota should dominate, but then again it is a road game.  I think a key to this game will be rebounding.  Minnesota’s 33rd ranked rebounds/game statistic, in my eyes, will be the key to domination and victory.  I’m projecting a 20-point margin of victory for the Gophers, but it may be much closer for part of the game.



I'm really excited for the UM/USC game, but it looks like USC is on a downward spiral in BOTH football and basketball. I went to UM, and am glad I have the Pac-12 Network to get these out-of-market games. It covers football, swimming, baseball, women's sports and more, but I'm most interested in basketball this time of year. A DISH coworker told me we would be getting Pac-12 Network, and it's been really cook having a network devoted exclusively to Pac-12 happenings. Even my WIFE is watching more sports since we got it!


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