Purdue kicked off its run in the 2023 Maui Invitational with a win over Gonzaga on Monday, moving on to take on Tennessee.
The Boilermakers are a member of one of the most stacked November tournament fields in memory. They’re joined in Hawaii by the likes of Kansas, UCLA and Marquette. Keeping an eye on the future conference member Bruins will be worth it for Big Ten fans.
The Boilers own the obvious Game of the Day, but they’re not the only league team in action. Let’s get into it.
Game of the Day
Purdue Boilermakers vs. Tennessee Volunteers
- Time/TV: 8:00 on ESPN
- KenPom spread: Boilers by 3
Purdue went through a rematch with Gonzaga, who they bested last year at the Phil Knight Invitational and now Matt Painter can boast two straight wins over Mark Few.
A tight game through the first half got away from the Zags in the second. Purdue managed to pull away and advance to face Tennessee, which easily dispatched Syracuse 73-56 earlier in the day.
The two have different strengths, with Purdue’s being the post with Zach Edey and Tennessee having Dalton Knecht in the backcourt.
I think the Boilers continue the nonconference streak
- Pick: Purdue
UMBC Retrievers at Maryland Terrapins
- Time/TV: 7 p.m. on Big Ten Network
- KenPom spread: Terrapins by 17
Maryland is in dire need of a tune-up win to quiet the five-alarm fire in College Park and UMBC presents just the opportunity to get that.
The Retrievers, famed for their upset of No. 1 Virginia all those years ago, are back to being the usual plucky mid-major. They gave Louisville some trouble at the Yum Center during the Cards’ season opener so they aren’t some slouch.
But this is a win Maryland needs, ideally comfortably. A win is a win, but the Terps have a lot to prove and figure out before getting into Big Ten play after a disastrous start to non-conference play.
They’ll get the win here, I’m sure of that, it’s the margin of victory that’s in question. The bigger the better.
- Pick: Maryland
Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions at Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Time/TV: 9 p.m. ET
- KenPom Spread: Minnesota by 20
Minnesota, like Maryland, could also use a win to get into more of a groove. Though the Gophers situation somehow feels less dire.
They were entirely within range of what could become a huge upset down the road had they simply closed out against Missouri at home. Instead the Gophers allowed a rally and the Tigers snatched a win from the jaws of defeat in the closing seconds.
A win over USC Upstate helps, a little, but that Missouri game was really the only nonconference matchup of any consequence on the schedule. It would’ve come in handy to have that in their back pocket if they drop one to the likes of Florida Gulf Coast or San Francisco.
Now the Gophers need to get into a rhythm and avoid the upset, starting tomorrow.
- Pick: Minnesota