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11/17 Big Ten Preview: The Gavitt Games and 2K Classic keep on rolling

Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan take off the training wheels against the Big East

NCAA Basketball: Howard at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The other night, I was asked by a buddy of mine how I watch so much basketball while being in a long term relationship with someone that could careless about sports outside of the Philadelphia area. So, I figured I’d share my plan with all of you, so that we can, together, indulge in nights like tonight.

First and foremost, I start every morning the same: I sit down in my desk chair with my Wawa coffee, take a hefty sip, open up ESPN and scour that nights slate of games. I’ve trained my eye to seek out any and all “brand name” face offs. You could be UNC Wilmington, Duke, Northwestern or the College of Charleston, as long as I recognize your brand of hoops from the past couple of years, I’m interested.

On some nights, there isn’t much substance (take yesterday in the Big Ten for example). I call those “fiancé nights”, where I let that lovely lady of mine watch Bravo until that little heart of hers is full. Yes, it’s a whole lot of Andy Cohen and screaming rich ladies, but life is all about compromise guys.

Plus, if you really think about it, watching Dick Vitale do a Duke game with a red hot Coach K and a Seth Greenberg led halftime show is basically the ESPN version of “Andy Cohen and screaming rich ladies”.

So, fair is fair.

Now, I will admit, during the conference season this gets harder to do. There’s just so much going on night in and night out, so, you’re going to have to extend your nightly college basketball watchability plan of attack to focus on a couple of days at a time. Be selective. If there’s a Top-10 matchup on Wednesday, it’s probably wise to skip a borderline Top-25 tilt on Monday (or, just watch that one on a tablet with an ear bud in your “weakside” ear).

If you stick to this plan, I guarantee you that you can get the most out of this college basketball season and fully enjoy yourself on night’s like tonight:

Big Ten Game of the Day:

-Michigan vs. Marquette in the 2K Classic

  • Time/TV: 9:30 ET - ESPN 2
  • KenPom Spread: Marquette (-1)

If there is one thing I took from the Wolverines first two games against Howard (a 76-58 win) and IUPUI (a 77-65 win) it’s that Derrick Walton Jr. might just be a cyborg. Walton is currently sitting in second in the Big Ten conference in percentage of minutes played after tallying up 71-total to start the early season (Penn State’s Shep Garner is first through three games). To make that even more impressive, Walton sprained his ankle against Howard and still somehow played 36 minutes on a gimpy tire not even two days later.

Going into tonights game, Walton is averaging 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 42.1% from the field (50% from three). He’s the embodiment of Beilein’s offense and the guy that will need to continue to bail the Wolverines out during the inevitable cold stretches they have been susceptible to. Against Howard’s matchup zone and IUPUI, Michigan’s offense looked like a chart that displayed my energy levels during the day. Sometimes they looked like a Top-25 team, other times they looked like they’re going to be very Bubblicious.

Outside of Walton, keep an eye out for 6’10” sophomore, DJ Wilson, who I’m expecting to build on his early season successes as an athletic defender against a deep Marquette team.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan

The Rest:

- St. Mary’s (MD) at Maryland

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET - ESPN3
  • KenPom Spread: N/A

This isn’t going to be anything near as tough as the Terps one-point come from behind, blood pumping, heart skipping, asthma inducing victory against Georgetown. As of this writing, KenPom has this marked as a giant blue “W” in the result column and no score to speak of.

This should be over by half time.

  • Pick Against the Spread: In my best Lee Corso voice, Maryland... BIGGGGGGGG.

- Providence at Ohio State

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET - BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Ohio State (-8)

I wont lie to you, I didn’t watch Ohio State in their first game against Navy last Friday. I saw that they won, that Kam Williams went 5-6 from downtown, that JaQuan Lyle only played thirteen minutes and that some sophomore named C.J. Jackson finished the game with nine assists.

But, I did watch their game against North Carolina Central and it was like watching someone go through a root canal. Jae’Sean Tate was spectacular but everyone else looked like they would rather be sitting front row in their calculus class than playing hoops. Marc Loving was 1-6 from the field (1-5 from three). Lyle played about ten more minutes than he did against Navy but was still only able to put together a stat line of five points, two assists and a turnover (I’m about ready to ring the alarm). Even Williams couldn’t put together multiple “plus” plays.

If Ohio State comes out and plays like they have one foot stuck in quick sand against Providence, they’re going to get ran off the court.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Providence

- Chicago State at Wisconsin

  • Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET - ESPN3
  • KenPom Spread: Wisconsin (-30)

Here are a couple of notes from Wisconsin’s loss at Creighton Tuesday night:

  1. The Badgers shot a bunch of three’s (39)
  2. The Badgers didn’t make a bunch of three’s (11)
  3. The Badgers turned the ball over in bunches (16 total, 12 of which were from the starters)
  4. The Badgers didn’t force Creighton into turning the ball over in bunches (7 total)
  5. The Badgers allowed the Blue Jays to shoot 50% from the field
  6. Nigel Hayes was held scoreless for big stretches of time (yet again) and scored 16 points on 13 shots.
  7. Bronson Koenig had 21 points on 19 shots.
  8. If the Badgers do all of the above against Chicago State (KenPom’s 336th ranked team) they’ll still win by 15.
  • Pick Against the Spread: Chicago State, only because 30 points is too hefty for me for a team that needs to prove they can score.

- Rutgers at DePaul

  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET - Fox Sports 1
  • KePom Spread: DePaul (-3)

This has to be up there for one of the best matchups against two teams that should be infinitely better than what they are based on pure location alone.

Rutgers is 2-0 after blowing out Molloy (which is apparently a private college in Long Island) and Drexel. DePaul barely beat Robert Morris in their only game of the season. Both teams are about as fun as opening up a box of underwear on Christmas morning.

  • Pick Against the Spread: C.J. Gettys is a man after my own heart. Go Rutgers.

- Seton Hall at Iowa

  • Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET - BTN
  • KenPom Spread: Iowa (-2)

The key in this early non-conference test for the Hawkeyes is going to be in the defensive frontcourt. Dom Uhl, Tyler Cook, Ahmad Wagner and Cordell Pemsl will need to figure out a way to stop 6’10” junior forward Angel Delgado without fouling out. Seton Hall’s offense will try running through Delgado in hopes of opening up driving lanes and the outside game for there other two prime time scorers in Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez.

Speaking of Carrington, him and Peter Jok will more than likely be going head to head all night long. These two are some of the premiere upperclass shooting guards in the country and demand that you tune in. First player to get to 25 will more than likely walk out of that gym with the dub.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Iowa (duh)


Jerome’s Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 2-1 (COME ON INDIANA!)