Skip to content

Weekend Preview: Big games in Big 12 and Big Ten, battle atop the MVC

Jan 4, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Ohio St Illinois Basketball

Game of the Weekend: Sat. 2:15 p.m.: No. 8 Ohio State at No. 11 Illinois (Big Ten)

You know how we all keep saying that the Big Ten is so tough this season? Well, Illinois is a perfect example of why. The Illini lost their conference opener on Wednesday night, as they went into Mackey Arena and lost to Purdue, who had been the most disappointing team in the conference heading into league play. The Illini follow that up by hosting Ohio State on Saturday. On Wednesday of next week, John Groce’s club will host Minnesota and follow that up with a trip to Madison to take on the Badgers.

And that’s not even the most difficult stretch of the conference season for the Illini. They have a five game stretch spanning the end of January and the beginning of February where they play Michigan, at MSU, Wisconsin, Indiana and at Minnesota. If Illinois is going to avoid digging themselves a massive hole to start league play, they are going to have to defend their home court.

That will be easier said than done, however. I don’t think Ohio State is on the same level as Indiana or Michigan (or even Minnesota), but the Buckeyes do have the league’s best scorer in Deshaun Thomas and it’s best perimeter defender in Aaron Craft. Purdue won because they slowed down Brandon Paul with a great game-plan to battle the Illini’s ball-screening. How will Ohio State defend it?

Four more games that you need to watch:

  • Sat. 1:30 p.m.: No. 22 Oklahoma State at No. 25 Kansas State (ESPN3): Here’s the key to this game for the Wildcats: health. Both Angel Rodriguez, Bruce Weber’s starting point guard, and Martavious Irving, Rodriguez’s backup, have missed the last two games with injuries. K-State has struggled offensively without them, and Oklahoma State has just a bit more talent than UMKC. It will be interesting to see how the Wildcats matchup with LeBryan Nash and Marcus Smart. If Rodriguez and Will Spradling are both on the floor at the same time, who can matchup with one of the nation’s best freshman?
  • Sat. 3:05 p.m.: Indiana State at No. 16 Creighton (ESPN3): The Missouri Valley is going to be loaded with quality contests this season, and this may be the best of the year to date. Indiana State is on some kind of run right now. They beat both Ole Miss and Miami in overtime out in Hawaii during the Diamond Head Classic and have kicked off league play with a home win over Illinois State and a road win against Northern Iowa. Not many teams have gone into Omaha and left with a win, but then again, not many teams have a 1-2 punch like Jake Odum and Manny Arop.
  • Sat. 5:00 p.m.: Lehigh at VCU (NBC Sports Net): Some more mid-major goodness. You all should know about Lehigh by now; they are the team that beat Duke in the opening round of last year’s NCAA tournament and count potential first round pick CJ McCollum amongst their ranks. But VCU might be the nation’s most underrated team. They have a suffocating press and are as good as anyone in the country at forcing turnovers without fouling. Oh, and Troy Daniels is on fire.
  • Sun. 4:30 p.m.: Temple at No. 6 Kansas (CBS): Kansas is beginning to look like one of the nation’s best teams. Ben McLemore is ahead of schedule in terms of being the Jayhawk go-to guy, and Jeff Withey anchors one of the best defenses in the country. That said, we all thought that Syracuse was one of the nation’s best teams when Temple went into Syracuse’s second home court (Madison Square Garden) and knocked off the Orange. Travis Releford going up against Khalif Wyatt will be fun to watch.

And the Mid-Majors?

  • 4:30 p.m.: Loyola Marymount at St. Mary’s
  • 8:00 p.m.: Northern Iowa at Illinois State

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. Highlights from San Francisco’s ‘Hilltop Hoopsfest’ event (VIDEO)

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:57 PM EDT

    Rex Walters AP

    Junior forward Mark Tollefsen may be one of the best dunkers in America.

  2. Louisville takes next step in season preparations with their annual Red-White Scrimmage

    Oct 19, 2014, 8:49 PM EDT

    Chris Jones, Dillon Avare Chris Jones, Dillon Avare

    Chris Jones’ three-pointer in the final seconds gave the White team a 75-72 win over the Red.

  3. Fractured foot to sideline Maryland forward 4-6 weeks

    Oct 19, 2014, 6:59 PM EDT

    Evan Smotrycz AP

    Evan Smotrycz was re-evaluated Saturday after suffering the injury at the end of practice Friday.

  4. Durand Johnson returns in Pittsburgh’s Blue-Gold Scrimmage

    Oct 19, 2014, 6:36 PM EDT

    Durand Johnson, Zach Gordon Durand Johnson, Zach Gordon

    Johnson last played in live action on January 11, when he suffered a torn ACL in the Panthers’ loss to Virginia.

  5. 6-foot-10 center verbally commits to Colorado State

    Oct 19, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT

    Larry Eustachy Larry Eustachy

    With three of their five seniors being front court players, Colorado State needs to add depth ahead of the 2015-16 season. Sunday’s commitment will help in this area.

  6. Led by senior forward Alan Williams, UCSB capable of earning first NCAA tournament bid since 2011

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    UCSB's Alan Williams (AP Photo) AP

    Alan Williams gets most of the attention nationally, but he won’t be alone as the Gauchos look to rebound from last year’s disappointing finish.

  7. La Salle gets commitment from 2015 guard

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Wichita St. v La Salle Getty Images

    La Salle nabbed a talented combo guard.

  8. Kentucky center Dakari Johnson has lost 20 pounds

    Oct 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Dakari Johnson AP

    A more mobile Dakari Johnson could be a scary thought.

  9. 2014-15 Big West Preview: UC Irvine, UCSB lead highly competitive race

    Oct 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner (AP Photo) UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner (AP Photo)

    An entertaining regular season was followed by a wild conference tournament in 2013-14. Will that once again be the case?

  10. Purdue tests out ultra-big line-up during scrimmage

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    A.J. Hammons AP

    Purdue is in the unique position of having two talented centers on the roster.

  11. Freshman Sam Logwood wins New Mexico dunk contest (VIDEO)

    Oct 19, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    adidas adidas

    Freshman wing Sam Logwood of New Mexico can get up.

  12. Three-star guard/forward becomes Texas Tech’s second 2015 commitment

    Oct 19, 2014, 1:10 AM EDT

    Texas Tech Texas Basketball AP

    With Texas Tech’s top two guards being upperclassmen, C.J. Williamson’s commitment is an important one for the program.

  13. Highlights from Arizona’s annual Red-Blue Game (VIDEO)

    Oct 19, 2014, 12:25 AM EDT

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson AP

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the victorious Red team with 13 points, and Stanley Johnson scored a game-high 17 to lead the Blue team.

  14. Chris Hawkins wins dunk contest at Memphis Madness (VIDEO)

    Oct 18, 2014, 10:59 PM EDT

    Josh Pastner Josh Pastner

    Southwest Tennessee CC transfer Chris Hawkins showed off his jumping ability in winning the dunk contest at Memphis Madness.

  15. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo discusses possibility of a game at The Palestra

    Oct 18, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Michigan State’s played in many different places throughout Izzo tenure, but they’ve yet to visit The Palestra.

  16. UConn unveils championship banners at ‘First Night’ (VIDEO)

    Oct 18, 2014, 8:06 PM EDT

    Geno Auriemma, Kevin Ollie Geno Auriemma, Kevin Ollie

    UConn showed off its new trophies while also paying homage to some former greats during their annual preseason event Friday night.

  17. Indian Hills CC big man to announce college choice Monday

    Oct 18, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT

    Indian Hills Community College Indian Hills Community College

    Arkansas, Iowa State, Rutgers and Washington remain in contention for 6-foot-9 Malik Dime.

  18. Columbia loses two players, including guard who was expected to factor into their rotation

    Oct 18, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

    Columbia University Athletics Columbia University Athletics

    Meiko Lyles’ departure means that one of Columbia’s other supplementary pieces will need to step forward.

  19. Report: Auburn commit Trayvon Reed’s trial gets delayed

    Oct 18, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    NBPA Top 100 camp NBPA Top 100 camp

    Trayvon Reed will have to wait until December to continue his legal proceedings..

  20. Behind Thompson and Comer, Dunk City looks to take flight once again this March

    Oct 18, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Both Bernard Thompson and Brett Comer started all three games for Florida Gulf Coast during the 2013 Sweet 16 run. After a one-year hiatus, the Dunk City duo want back in the field of 68.