Outside of conference championship weekend and the actual NCAA Tournament, Feast Week might be the best week of college basketball season. Let’s take a look at some of the top Big Ten basketball news, as well as where the teams will be playing during Feast Week.
Not all Big Ten teams will be playing in a destination tournament this week. Penn State, Rutgers, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan will not be. However, that doesn’t mean they will be taking the week off. Penn State has a matchup with Cornell, Rutgers will play Lafayette, and Iowa will take on a tough Western Michigan team this upcoming week.
Big Ten Basketball News and Feast Week Guide
Purdue Solidifies Itself As An Elite Title-Contender
What a weekend it was for Matt Painter and Purdue basketball. Over the weekend, the Boilermakers played in the Cheez-It Hall of Fame Tip-Off. On Saturday, they squared off with the North Carolina Tar Heels and got a huge non-conference victory over a top-25 team. They led for the majority of the game and were able to hold off a Tar Heel comeback. However, during the first half the game was a tightly contested affair, with Purdue seven-footer Zach Edey benched with two early fouls. In the end, Purdue star guard Jaden Ivey took over. He finished with 20 points, as the Boilermakers knocked off the Tar Heels, 93-84.
In Sunday’s championship game, Purdue clashed with Villanova and came out on top. There were even points during the second half, however, \the Boilermakers prevailed, 80-74. Beating North Carolina and Villanova in back-to-back games is impressive and, up until this week, the Boilermakers had the two best wins of any team during non-conference play. Ivey was great in the final, dishing out seven assists, grabbing seven rebounds and scoring 10 points. Big man Zach Edey was the star of the day, finishing with 21 points. They have what should be an easy win over Omaha on the 26th, before starting out Big Ten basketball play versus Iowa on December 3rd.
Michigan Stumbles After Entering Top Five
It was just last week that we were talking about Juwan Howard’s lucrative five-year contract extension. However, the first week of his new contract could have gone much better than it actually did. After falling to Seton Hall on November 16th, the Wolverines finally got back in the winning column by beating UNLV, 74-61. The win was short-lived, as Michigan again fell on Sunday to an unranked Arizona team. The Wolverines were not only beaten, they lost by a score of 80-62.
Obviously, it’s way too early to consider Howard anywhere near the hot seat, but last week was troubling. Five-star freshman Caleb Houstan has been flat-out bad. He’s averaging less than eight points per game and shooting only 31%. From the three-point line, he’s been even worse, connecting on his shots only 23% of the time. It’s early on in the season, but Houstan needs to pick up his game if he wants to stay in the draft-lottery conversation.
Hunter Dickinson is the lone bright spot thus far for Michigan basketball. He’s averaging 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Dickinson is also shooting over 61% from the field. The offense needs to continue to run through Dickinson if Howard and the Wolverines want to stay in elite company. It could just be a sluggish start or it could mean there are larger problems that we are not seeing. Either way, Michigan has not looked anything like the class of the Big Ten this year.
Big Games For College Basketball Feast Week
As I said earlier, I love College Basketball Feast Week. There are multiple tournaments that will be taking place this weekend all over the country. From the Bahamas to Las Vegas, college basketball will be in full force this week. As for Big Ten basketball, a couple of the conference’s teams will be taking part in the early season tournaments.
Before we get into some of the games, here’s a list of Big Ten teams and what early-season tournaments they are playing in:
|Illinois||2021 Hall Of Fame Classic|
|Ohio State||Fort Myers Tip-Off|
|Michigan State||Battle 4 Atlantis|
|Maryland||2021 Baha Mar Championship|
The Wisconsin Badgers are taking part in the Maui Invitational this season. However, due to COVID-19, it has been moved to Vegas. Yesterday, in the tournament’s first game, the Badgers took down Texas A&M, 69-58. They moved on to the semi-finals of the Maui Invitational to take on Houston tonight. If the Badgers beat Houston, they will take on the winner of Oregon versus St. Mary’s. However, if the Badgers find themselves on the losing end of the game today, they will take on the loser of that matchup.
On the season, Wisconsin has started out nicely, winning three of their first four games. Their only loss came against a good Providence team last Monday. Before you ask, yes Brad Davison is still at Wisconsin, and he’s averaging 16.8 points per game, good for second on the team. Sophomore guard Johnny Davis has been great early on, averaging 17 points. However, the Badgers need to pick up their shooting, as they need to hit shots to keep up their defensive pressure.
Wisconsin vs Houston Odds
Spread: WISC +7.5 (-110) | HOU -7.5 (-110)
Moneyline: WISC (+240) | HOU (-300)
Total: 122.5 —Over (-110) | Under (-110)
2021 Hall Of Fame Classic
Illinois had a lot of hype surrounding them entering this year’s college basketball campaign. However, it’s been a nightmare start for the Fighting Illini. After big man Kofi Cockburn was suspended by the NCAA for their first three games, they somehow finished 2-1 during that period. However, in his first game back, the Fighting Illini were crushed by Cincinnati last night, 71-51. Cockburn had 18 points, but it wasn’t enough and the Illini dropped another early game after losing to Marquette the game prior. Obviously, Cockburn should provide the spark they need once he gets back into game shape, but the bad start, and the two consecutive losses to unranked teams, is troubling. The Illini will take on Kansas State tonight at 6 PM.
Illinois vs Kansas State Odds
Spread: ILL -10.5 (-110) | KSU +10.5 (-110)
Moneyline: ILL (-550) | KSU (+400)
Total: 135.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Roman Legends Classic
Northwestern will be taking part in the Roman Legends Classic in New Jersey this week. Last night was the tournament’s double-header semi-final games. Unfortunately, the Wildcats fell to a good Providence team, 77-72. The game was close for the majority of the 40 minutes, but in the end, the Wildcats couldn’t pull out a big non-conference win. Next up for the Wildcats is Georgia, who was beaten by Virginia, 65-55.
Northwestern vs Georgia Odds
Spread: NU -7.5 (-110) | UGA +7.5 (-110)
Moneyline: NU (-400) | UGA (+310)
Total: 141.5 — Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Fort Myers Tip Off
The Buckeyes haven’t really looked like a great team this season. Earlier this year, they barely got by Akron, then they were beaten by Xavier last Thursday. However, they got back in the win column last night, as they beat a good Seton Hall team that had already beaten Michigan earlier this year. EJ Liddell was again dominant, as he poured in 28 points and grabbed six rebounds. The most impressive stat from Liddell? He was 10-10 from the charity stripe. With the win, the Buckeyes will now take on Florida tonight in the championship game.
Battle 4 Atlantis
After losing their opener to a very good Kansas team, the Michigan State Spartans have bounced back nicely, winning three in a row. This week, they will be playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis. For some of you out there, this tournament is familiar because all the games look like they’re being played in a ballroom. Aside from that, Auburn, UConn, Syracuse, VCU, Baylor, Loyola-Chicago and Arizona State will also be taking part. The Spartans will square off with Loyola-Chicago on Wednesday.
2021 Baha Mar Championship
The Maryland Terrapins are off to a clean 4-1 start. They have beaten Quinnipiac, George Washington and Vermont. Their lone loss came to George Mason of the Atlantic 10. Well, they will get their first true test of the season when they take on Richmond on Thursday. Yes, that’s right, there are other things outside of football on Thanksgiving. With that being said, I will probably still watch mostly football, but it’s nice to know you have an option to change it up if you want. Richmond is 3-2 on the season and will look for another non-conference win.