A Weekly Glance at B1G Basketball (12/16 – 12/22)

On December 18, 2012 by Zach Clark
Big, Bad Withey

Big, Bad Withey

 

LEADERS DIVISION

 

#9 Kansas (8-1) vs. #7 Ohio State (8-1)

 

2011 Records: Kansas (32-7) and Ohio State (31-8)

When: Saturday, December 22nd @ 4:00 PM Eastern

Channel: CBS

My Prediction: Kansas 62 – Ohio State 74

 

You know how there’s always certain players on teams you strongly dislike for no apparent reason?  Well, maybe that’s just me… REGARDLESS, I will open up this brief preview by stating that I despise Kansas center Jeff Withey, and it IS for a damn good reason.  In last year’s final four game between the Buckeyes and the Jayhawks, Withey racked up 7 blocks, much of them against our very own Jared Sullinger.  I expect this year’s game to progress much differently, as Kansas has not impressed me thus far in the 2012-2013 season.  The Buckeyes are a much different (but not necessarily better) team this year, and I am certain Thad Matta has this game circled on his schedule.  Buckeyes will win, they just have to.

 

Ball State (5-4) vs. Purdue (4-6)

 

2011 Records: Ball State (15-15) and Purdue (22-13)

When: Tuesday, December 18th @ 7:00 PM Eastern

Channel: ESPN3

My Prediction: Ball State 58 – Purdue 65

 

The Ball State Cardinals enter this game on a hot streak (3 straight wins), while the Boilermakers aren’t too satisfied with their play as of late.   Despite 2 tough losses against Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame, Matt Painter is too good of a coach to completely let his team fall off the map.  I was tempted to go against the B1G in this one, as Purdue looks horrific, but I’m confident they’ll bounce back.  Purdue ranks slightly better in total points per game and field goal percentage and should win at home.

 

Florida Atlantic (5-5) vs. #6 Indiana (9-1)

 

2011 Records: Florida Atlantic (11-19) and Indiana (27-9)

When: Friday, December 21st @ 7:00 PM Eastern

Channel: ESPN2/WatchESPN

My Prediction: Florida Atlantic 54 – Indiana 96

 

We finally get a chance to see how the big, bad Hoosiers will respond after a surely demoralizing defeat against one their in-state competitors, the Butler Bulldogs.  As far as the matchup between Florida Atlantic and Indiana goes, I’m fairly certain that this provides a great opportunity to let off some steam… The dreaded Owls average a measly 66.0 points per game and shoot 38.8% from the field.  Not too much else to look at here… Hoosiers by 40+…

 

Milwaukee (3-9) vs. Wisconsin (7-4)

 

2011 Records: Milwaukee (20-14) and Wisconsin (26-10)

When: Saturday, December 22nd @ 9:15 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: Milwaukee 52 – Wisconsin 75

 

Happy Bo

To complete Wisconsin’s back-to-back-to-back in-state bonanza, the Badgers face the Milwaukee Panthers!  Fortunately for Bo Ryan, the Panthers provide a great opportunity to come out of this stretch of 3 straight games against in-state opponents with a winning record (loss vs. Marquette, win vs. Green Bay).  To put it plainly, Milwaukee on paper is horrendous.  They have a 3-9 record, and in 2 of their 3 wins on the season, they were forced to enter overtime.  Their only other win was against a non-Division I opponent.  Expect lots of smiles from Bo from 9:15-11:15 Saturday night. Wait, nevermind.  Bo doesn’t know how to smile.

 

#10 Illinois (12-0) vs. #12 Missouri (9-1)

 

2011 Records: Illinois (17-15) and Missouri (30-5)

When: Saturday, December 22nd @ 6:00 PM Eastern

Channel: ESPN2/WatchESPN

My Prediction: Illinois 72 – Missouri 80

 

In a prediction that may enrage many of my classmates at college, I am picking the Missouri Tigers over my very own Fighting Illini in Saturday’s “Braggin’ Rights” game.  It’s not that I think the Tigers are that good, it’s just that I think the Illini are a bit overhyped in John Groce’s first season at the helm.  They do have a perfect record, won on the road against the #14 Gonzaga Bulldogs, and won the Maui Invitational.  However, the Illini narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of Hawaii and Gardner Webb.  Now they could just be early season struggles, but I’m not buyin’ in just quite yet.  Mizzou in a tight one.

 

Penn State (6-4):

No games scheduled for Sunday, December 16th through Saturday, December 22th

 

 

LEGENDS DIVISION

 

Nebraska (6-3) vs. Central Michigan (5-4)

 

2011 Records: Nebraska (12-18) and Central Michigan (11-21)

When: Saturday, December 22nd @ 7:00 PM Eastern

Channel: Not Televised

My Prediction: Nebraska 58 – Central Michigan 65

 

In one of the tougher games to project of this week, I had to go with the Chippewas against the B1G’s Cornhuskers.  To me, this game looks like a crapshoot.  It will be played in El Paso, Texas as a part of the Sun Bowl invitational, and both teams have not performed particularly well on the road.  Now I predicted Oregon to clearly defeat Nebraska last week, but I didn’t expect Nebraska to score only 38 points…  Central Michigan is no world-beater by any means, but they have quite often come out on top in many of its close games this season.  And mark my words, this game will be close.

 

South Carolina State (4-7) vs. Iowa (9-2)

 

2011 Records: South Carolina State (5-26) and Iowa (18-17)

When: Wednesday, December 19th @ 9:00 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: South Carolina State 55 – Iowa 82

 

An accomplishment in and of itself for the Bulldogs, South Carolina State’s 4 early wins in the 2012-2013 season has already nearly eclipsed their total win mark from a season ago.  Despite this “success,” Iowa will demolish them on Wednesday night.  After receiving some flack from one of my friends for predicting an 80-point performance from the Hawkeyes (it does seem pretty farfetched when thinking about Iowa basketball…) and proving him wrong, I am calling it again.  The Hawkeyes will win in a blowout, and don’t be surprised if it’s by a 30-point margin or more.

 

Eastern Michigan (6-3) vs. #2 Michigan (11-0)

 

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

When: Thursday, December 20th @ 8:30 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: Eastern Michigan 46 – Michigan 75

 

In the B1G’s only matchup of Thursday night, the Eastern Michigan Eagles don’t have to travel too far to face their in-state foes, the #2 Michigan Wolverines.  Now last time I picked against the Eagles, I got burned.  However, this time around, against the #2 team in the country, I think it’s a preeeetty safe bet to pick the Eagles to go down.  Barring Eastern Michigan pulling off one of the greatest regular season upsets in recent history, the Wolverines will dominate and win by 30+ points.

 

Texas (6-4) vs. #20 Michigan State (9-2)

 

2011 Records: Texas (20-14) and Michigan State (29-8)

When: Saturday, December 22nd @ 2:00 PM Eastern

Channel: ESPN2/WatchESPN

My Prediction: Texas 60 – Michigan State 73

 

Preseason analysis would have projected this game to be an unbelievable matchup, however this will not be the case.  Longhorn basketball in the 2012-2013 season have surely contributed to Texas’s pattern of underperforming athletic programs, and I fully expect Tom Izzo to come out victorious.  The Spartans are hitting their stride at just the right time, in time for B1G conference play.  Now this game may be close in the first half and early in the second, but Michigan State will win.  If a narrow point spread (which I expect it to be), my money will be on the Spartans.

 

Stanford (7-3) vs. Northwestern (8-3)

 

2011 Records: Stanford (26-11) and Northwestern (19-14)

When: Friday, December 21st @ 9:00 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: Stanford 72 – Northwestern 64

 

Of all the games not being played by the elite teams in the B1G, Friday night’s Stanford – Northwestern matchup will be one of the more entertaining.  Both teams have only 3 losses each on the season, yet Stanford’s are much less embarrassing than the Kitty Kats’.  The Cardinal have lost by 8, 8, and 3 points to Belmont, Missouri, and Minnesota, respectively, while Northwestern has lost by 20, 6, and 9 points to Maryland, Illinois-Chicago, and Butler, respectively.  Now Northwestern does have a better field goal percentage, assists per game average, and rebounds per game average, but I (correctly or incorrectly) just do not think Northwestern is that good this year.  Detrimental to Stanford, the Cardinal take on #25 NC State just three days before their Northwestern matchup, so they could be gassed from the extensive traveling.  We’ll see if I get burned for picking against our beloved B1G.

 

Lafayette (4-8) vs. #13 Minnesota (11-1)

 

2011 Records: Lafayette (13-18) and Minnesota (23-15)

When: Saturday, December 22nd @ 7:00 PM Eastern

Channel: Big Ten Network

My Prediction: Lafayette 67 – Minnesota 84

 

Tubby’s Likin’ What He’s Seein’

 

The feared Lafayette Leopards out of Easton, Pennsylvania make the long, cold trek to Minneapolis Saturday evening.  Unfortunately for them, things could get ugly.  I have been VERY impressed with Tubby Smith’s squad so far, and I fully expect them to continue their success.  Gophers roll again.

 

 

PREDICTION SUCCESS (OR FAILURE) FROM PAST WEEKS:

 

Week of 12/02 – 12/08: 8-4

Week of 12/09 – 12/15: 10-1

 

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