Let’s get some predictions going for the Big Ten games today. as there are four on the slate. My predictions are as follows:
Minnesota @ Maryland (Noon) - I’ve seen Minnesota play several times this season and, for the most part, I’ve been impressed. I think they’re moving in the right direction under Richard Pitino, but they fell apart a little bit in the second half in West Lafayette on Wednesday. Tough situation for Minnesota starting the Big Ten season with two road games. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Maryland against Michigan State, but as others have pointed out, it takes a lot of grit to win in East Lansing. I think they’ll be too much for Minnesota at home, so I’ve got Maryland in this one.
Michigan @ Purdue (2:15) - It’s taken a bit of luck (understatement?) for Michigan to escape West Lafayette with wins the last two years, and unfortunately I just don’t think this very young Michigan team is going to be able to go on the road in their first Big Ten game and get a win. I liked a lot of what I saw in the second half against Illinois (namely the success of the pick and roll and the success of the zone defenses), but I just don’t see it happening. I’ve got Purdue here, but this is one I’d be happy to be wrong about.
Illinois @ Ohio State (3:30) - This one is simple: Ohio State is not going to lose two straight home games to start the Big Ten season.
Penn State @ Rutgers (7:30) - I get the feeling that all season long I’m going to give Rutgers too much credit at home, simply because I can’t imagine teams getting up for a trip to New Jersey. Having said that, though, Penn State showed a lot of heart in Madison, and I think they come away with a fairly comfortable win at Rutgers this evening.
So, what say the rest of you? What have I mentioned here that you agree with and what have I said that makes you think I’m totally crazy? Here’s to a great day of Big Ten hoops.