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Big Ten Thursday Preview & Open Thread: Northwestern Wildcats Begin "Gauntlet" Schedule

Northwestern's exhibition game is the only one on the docket for Thursday night.

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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The action is a bit quieter on Thursday around the Big Ten, but there is one exhibition that should provide some intrigue to Big Ten fans. The Northwestern Wildcats will face off against Quincy in a game that should give fans a glimpse at what's to come.

Quincy Hawks at Northwestern Wildcats- 7:00 CT (BTN Plus)

There will be times this season when college basketball fans will be drooling over the slate of Big Ten games on a given night. The league's strength, depth and caliber of players make it extremely enticing for fans the majority of nights, but this sadly won't be one of them. If you like Northwestern though, check it out!

Much has been made about Chris Collins' extreme lackluster schedule for the Northwestern Wildcats this season. The Wildcats are playing some of the worst teams in Division I basketball and tonight's exhibition fits that mold.

The terrorizing opponents for Northwestern are the Quincy Hawks, a liberal arts school in Quincy, Illinois that has 1,500 students. The Hawks participate in Division II Basketball, and are part of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. It's a bold move from Collins scheduling a Division II team who had a losing record last season, but the Wildcats are looking for wins any way they can get them.

Juniors Evan McGaughney and Scottie Bruxvort led the Hawks with 11.6 points per game last season and hope to build on that, while Godson Eneogwe, Dalton Hoover and Thomas Jackson round out the top five in scoring last season and all return. I don't expect the Wildcats to lose this game, but St. John's got run out of their own gym last night by Division II St. Thomas Aquinas, so who knows.

Alex Olah should have a massive size advantage inside, and look for the Wildcats to push the pace as much as possible. For Northwestern, it is extremely important to start the season off on the right foot, utilizing a clear athletic advantage over Quincy and just simply more skill. Anything can happen, but Northwestern should cruise to a victory here.

And now for your thoughts.