Today is Black Friday. Well actually, as I’m writing this, it’s still Thanksgiving, and I’m stuffed with turkey and dressing, hiding from relatives who don’t understand why writing for a Big Ten blog is more important than listening to their frank appraisal of family members who aren’t present. So this is going to be a quick-hitter.
There are eight Big Ten games today:
- 11:30 AM: Maryland vs. Harvard, ESPN2
- 2:00 PM: Michigan vs. Gonzaga, ESPN
- 2:00 PM: UMASS @ Rutgers
- 3:00 PM: DePaul @ Minnesota
- 7:00 PM: Penn State vs. Syracuse
- 9:00 PM: Morgan State @ Ohio State, BTN
- 9:30 PM: Purdue vs. VCU, CBSSN
- 10:30 PM: Iowa vs. San Diego State
Michigan/Gonzaga is going to be the big one. The Wolverines just knocked off Iowa State and North Carolina, and finishing off Atlantis with a win over Gonzaga would not only boost the maize and blue to a top ten ranking, it would also prove that Juwan Howard is the real deal as head coach, though most of us are sold on that already.
Other than that, the second-, third- and fourth-most interesting games are un-televised. We get a preview of the upcoming ACC-Big Ten Challenge as Penn State takes on Syracuse. Despite the loss to Mississippi, the Nittany Lions have had one of the most impressive Novembers of anyone in the Big Ten. Everyone in the league is hoping they can take down Jim Boeheim this afternoon.
Minnesota and DePaul should be a good one, too. These are two teams moving in different directions. The Gophers are 3-3, losing to three good teams and beating three bad ones. DePaul, incredibly, is undefeated, with wins against Iowa and Boston College to their name. The spread on this one is just three points—I’d watch the hell out of this game if it was on.
Rutgers, meanwhile, is on the prowl for a win against a meaningful opponent. Not that UMASS is particularly good, but at least it’s a program with some history behind it, unlike the rest of the home schedule the Knights have played thus far. (Though I’m told Stephen F. Austin did something big recently. Hmm...) I think both this game for Rutgers and the DePaul game for Minnesota will be bellwethers for the rest of those teams’ respective seasons.