Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Get Gamm...
No time to mince words. Let's roll!

Penn State at Ohio State

Gamm says: Ohio State snaps a three game losing streak.

Buckeye Nation says: Just when most Buckeye fans thought their team was in the driver's seat for an invite to the Big Dance, two losses to teams from the Land of Lincoln who couldn't miss whatever they put up, put them squarely back on the NCAA tournament bubble. The game against the Nittany Lions now becomes a veritable "must win" situation for the young Buckeyes at a time when a little self-doubt is creeping into the Buckeye psyche. Moreover, the Nits feature Jamelle Cornley, a local Columbus City League product, who has been mouthing off that his team will beat the Bucks, ever since he arrived at State College. The Buckeyes have their backs against the wall, and it will take a focused, aggressive approach on offense and defense for OSU to prevail. Given these circumstances, the Schott should be rocking, and the home court will be the decisive edge in what should be a rock 'em - sock 'em Big 10 game. Ohio State 65 - Penn State 61

Mayo170 says: Ohio State

Northwestern at Indiana

Gamm says: Northwestern has NIT on their minds. IU gives it a run and could easily win, but I like NU here.

Buckeye Nation says: Indiana

Mayo170 says: Northwestern seems to be a couple of games out of the dance at this point, and after getting blown out by Minnesota, it’s all about getting more wins. Indiana on the other hand is playing hard, but not very talented. My guess is that Northwestern is going to win this game, but IU will keep it close. NU 54 – IU 51

Iowa at Michigan State

Gamm says: Can't take anyone in this conference as a gimme win. Spartans were stretched to the limit on Sunday but have what it takes to finally close out another conference title. It starts with this one, where Raymar has his best game in six weeks and MSU runs away. MSU 71 - Iowa 52.

Buckeye Nation says: Michigan State

Mayo170 says: Michigan State

Minnesota at Illinois

Gamm says: Huge game for both teams. Illinois proved that they are not invincible at home. Minnesota got right with a huge win over NU. Illini barely stay in the race to set up a Sunday showdown.

Buckeye Nation says: Illinois

Mayo170 says: Minnesota has been so hard to figure out this year. The Barn will absolutely be up for this game, and Illinois is putting together a pretty nice season. I had my doubts about Weber keeping things going after Self left a while back, but this team is tough to beat. Illinois seems pretty determined to get things rolling before tourney time. Illinois 68 – Minnesota 59

Purdue at Michigan

Gamm says: Michigan's dreams of getting back to the dance likely dissipated in Iowa City. Purdue has a title in mind. Purdue rolls.

Buckeye Nation says: Purdue

Mayo170 says: Well, if Michigan really needed a win, it was this past weekend at Iowa. Of course, they blew that one and now they have a very tough go of it to try and get back on the bubble. This is been Michigan recently though, the end of the season when they can put it together, it starts falling apart. Purdue on the other hand has been playing much better since the train wreck at the start of conference play. I thought Michigan might be able to get into the Tournament this year, but it’s back to the Not Invited Tournament and Purdue cements that with a big win. Purdue 71 – Michigan 54.

Iowa at Northwestern

Gamm says: Northwestern gets a big win and steps closer to the NIT.

Buckeye Nation says: Northwestern

Mayo170 says: Iowa

Ohio State at Purdue

Gamm says: Purdue has payback in mind. Big time payback.

Buckeye Nation says: Paybacks are hell, especially in the Big 10. I fully expect the Buckeyes to give a game effort in West Lafayette, especially given the liability they will face there as a road team. However, the Boilermakers are nearly healthy with the return of Robbie Hummel. Plus, they no doubt remember the OT loss they suffered in Columbus earlier in the month. As much as I hope I'm wrong, my mind and my gut tells me that the Boilers win this game, although it shouldn't be a cakewalk. Purdue 71 Ohio State 64

Mayo170 says: Purdue

Indiana at Penn State

Gamm says: Penn State puts any bubble talk to rest.

Buckeye Nation says: Penn State

Mayo170 says: Penn State

Michigan at Wisconsin

Gamm says: Wisconsin makes up for the fall in East Lansing.

Buckeye Nation says: For the Wolverines, a trip to Madison against a resurgent Badger team is NOT what the doctor ordered. Michigan has the marquee wins on its resume, but not really when it comes to wins in the conference. Except for a recent stumble in East Lansing, Bo Ryan has Wisconsin on a roll. While Michigan may have a chance if they go lights-out from 3 point-land, they will likely be intimidated by the Kohl fieldhouse crowd and go down. Wisconsin 71 Michigan 60

Mayo170 says: Wisconsin

Michigan State at Illinois (Tiebreaker)

Gamm says: This one pulls me in two very different directions. State struggles at Illinois. But Illinois isn't unbeatable at Assembly as proven by Penn State. The teams battled in January in a very defensive game. Win this and State likely clinches at least a tie (if not completely, theoretically). An Illinois win keeps them right in the mix. Coin toss. MSU 58 - ILL 57.

Buckeye Nation says: After embarrassing themselves at home last week against Penn State, the Illini seemingly couldn't miss a basket when they came away with a huge win over the Buckeyes in Columbus, and thus put themselves back in the race for a chance at the Big 10 championship, IF MSU can stumble one more time. But for that to be a possibility, the Illini have to beat the Spartans at home, which will be extremely difficult. When Illinois plays well, they look like world-beaters, when they don't, all you can see is Bruce Weber whining about everything. Tom Izzo has his team well-positioned to win yet another regular season Big 10 title, and he will have MSU ready to pull off a big road win. However, my gut tells me that the Spartans will come up just a little short before a raucous crowd in Assembly Hall. After the final buzzer sounds, they will be toasting in Champaign-Urbana, with hopes that Purdue can pull off the miracle at the end of the season in East Lansing. Illinois 78 Michigan State 76

Mayo170 says: What a great game this is turning out to be. Lot’s of marbles on the floor for this one. I really like the way MSU has played this year, all things (illness mostly) considered. Illinois has made some waves this year too, and could put a big end-of-the-year boost in the win column with this game. MSU should have everyone totally healthy and practicing/playing full-speed by the time this one rolls around. The road has been very good to the Spartans this season and I think their defense will be enough to win this one. MSU 63 – Illinois 58

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hang on for a wild ride...
We've got a great race to the finish, and bigger than that, an excellent race to see if the Big Ten can land as many as eight teams in the Big Dance.

Mayo and Buckeye tied with the best records last week, so see below for which games you'll pick.

Two weeks to go. Gonna be a wild ride!

Penn State at Ohio State (Buckeye Nation)

Northwestern at Indiana (Mayo)
Iowa at Michigan State (Gamm)

Minnesota at Illinois (Mayo)
Purdue at Michigan (Mayo)

Iowa at Northwestern
Ohio State at Purdue (Buckeye Nation)
Indiana at Penn State

Michigan at Wisconsin (Buckeye Nation)
Michigan State at Illinois (Tiebreaker - all three pick)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Breaking down the Big Ten finish
Wow, I tuned in to watch the Penn State v. Illinois basketball game last night and a high scoring football game broke out! Tough to believe that as tough as the Illini are at home, they've lost three straight to the Nittany Lions at Assembly Hall. That effectively knocks Illinois out of the race for first, as I think no more than four losses takes it this year.

Ohio State also took one on the chin, though in a much more entertaining fashion. The three point shooting in that game was unreal. Northwestern has to be thinking "we're five points - FIVE POINTS - in three home losses (Purdue, Illinois, Michigan) away from 17-7 and a very real shot at the school's first ever berth to the Big Dance.

With all that went on last night, Purdue's win over Michigan State and five to six games left on everyone's plate, I thought I would go team by team and run through how I see the season playing out. By the way, realize I have no analyzed all the tie breakers for seeding, so I admit I may be off a slot or two where there are ties!

Michigan State - 10-3 (20-5)
2/22 - Wisconsin (WIN)
2/25 - Iowa (WIN)
3/1 - at Illinois (LOSS)
3/3 - at Indiana (WIN)
3/7 or 8 - Purdue (WIN)

14-4 (24-6). Big Ten champs. No. 1 seed in B10 Tourney, No. 2 seed in Big Dance.

Purdue - 9-4 (20-6)
2/21 - Indiana (WIN)
2/26 - at Michigan (WIN)
2/28 - Ohio State (WIN)
3/4 - Northwestern (WIN)
3/7 or 8 - at Michigan State (LOSS)

13-5 (24-7). Second place. No. 2 seed in B10 Tourney, No. 3 seed in Big Dance.

Illinois - 9-5 (21-6)
2/22 - at Ohio State (LOSS)
2/26 - Minnesota (WIN)
3/1 - Michigan State (WIN)
3/5 - at Penn State (WIN)

12-6 (24-7). 3rd place finish. No. 3 seed in B10 Tourney, No. 6 seed in Big Dance.

Penn State - 8-6 (19-8)
2/24 - at Ohio State (LOSS)
2/28 - Indiana (WIN)
3/5 - Illinois (LOSS)
3/7 - at Iowa (WIN)

10-8 (21-10). T-5th place finish. No. 6 seed in B10 Tourney, No. 10 seed in Big Dance.

Minnesota - 7-6 (19-6)
2/19 - at Michigan (LOSS)
2/22 - Northwestern (WIN)
2/26 - at Illinois (LOSS)
3/4 - Wisconson (WIN)
3/8 - Michigan (WIN)

10-8 (22-8). T-5th place finish. No. 7 seed in B10 Tourney, No. 9 seed in Big Dance.

Ohio State - 7-6 (17-7)
2/22 - Illinois (WIN)
2/24 - Penn State (WIN)
2/28 - at Purdue (LOSS)
3/3 - at Iowa (WIN)
3/7 - Northwestern (WIN)

11-7 (21-8). 4th place finish. No. 4 seed in B10 Tourney, No. 6 seed in Big Dance.

Wisconsin - 7-6 (16-9)
2/19 - at Indiana (WIN)
2/22 - at Michigan State (LOSS)
3/1 - Michigan (WIN)
3/4 - at Minnesota (LOSS)
3/7 - Indiana (WIN)

10-8 (19-11). T-5th place finish. No. 5 seed in B10 Tourney, No. 11 seed in Big Dance.

Michigan - 6-7 (16-10)
2/19 - Minnesota (WIN)
2/22 - at Iowa (WIN)
2/26 - Purdue (LOSS)
3/1 - at Wisconsin (LOSS)
3/7 - at Minnesota (LOSS)

8-10 (18-13). 8th place finish. No. 8 seed in B10 Tourney, NIT bid.

Northwestern - 5-8 (14-10)
2/22 - at Minnesota (LOSS)
2/25 - at Indiana (WIN)
2/28 - Iowa (WIN)
3/4 - at Purdue (LOSS)
3/7 - at Ohio State (LOSS)

7-11 (16-13). 9th place finish. No. 9 seed in B10 Tourney, NIT bid.

Iowa - 3-10 (13-13)
2/22 - Michigan (LOSS)
2/25 - at Michigan State (LOSS)
2/28 - at Northwestern (LOSS)
3/3 - Ohio State (LOSS)
3/7 - Penn State (LOSS)

3-15 (13-18). X place finish. No. X seed in B10 Tourney.

Indiana - 1-11 (6-18)
2/19 - Wisconsin (LOSS)
2/21 - at Purdue (LOSS)
2/25 - Northwestern (LOSS)
2/28 - at Penn State (LOSS)
3/3 - Michigan State (LOSS)
3/7 - at Wisconsin (LOSS)

1-17 (6-24). Last place finish. No. 11 seed in B10 Tourney.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Get Gamm
Sorry for the late nature of the post. Work has been a zoo! Dan Meyer was the only one to beat me last week - a nifty 10-0 to get back in the race. Buckeye slipped a little, pushing me back to the top.

A huge week on tap for the contest as well as the league standings, starting with the big one tonight in West Lafayette.

Michigan State @ Purdue

Gamm says ... Head to head between my Spartans and Dan's Boilers. Hummel and Morgan will both play so no excuses allowed. State has been a fine-tuned machine on the road this season. Purdue has been strong at home and owns a 26-10 advantage in the series at Mackey. MSU spotted the Boilers a big lead last year and nearly came back. With a week of rest, I think State will be geared up and ready to roll. I expect this to be a barn-burner, but MSU takes an enormous next step in the Big Ten race. MSU 68 - Purdue 67.

Dan says ... Michigan State 65 at PURDUE 68--Probably a biased pick but Boilers NEED the win and Hummel has had one game to get the rust off.

Penn State @ Illinois

Gamm says ... Penn State is likely in the Big Dance at this point, but has a chance to make a big statement here. Illinois wants to stay in the Big Ten race. Illini win at home.

Dan says ... Penn State 65 at ILLINOIS 72--Illini hold serve at home and move within a game of the Spartans.

Ohio State @ Northwestern

Gamm says ... Oh the humanity. NU has lost three games by a total of 5 points at home (Purdue, Illinois and Michigan). The Big Dance is really slipping away, and the NIT might if the 'cats don't hold serve. Northwestern squeaks this one out.
Dan says ... Ohio State 62 at NORTHWESTERN 63--I think eventually that the Wildcats break through and this is the time.

Minnesota @ Michigan

Gamm says ... You can't call this an elimination game on both sides, but it certainly looks that way for Michigan. Minnesota is up and down right now, this means more to Michigan. Wolverines win.
Dan says ... ?

Wisconsin @ Indiana

Gamm says ... No Brian Butch bank shot needed. Wisconsin rolls.
Dan says ... WISCONSIN 74 at Indiana 68--Suddenly hot Badgers win fifth straight.

Indiana @ Purdue

Gamm says ... Rivalry time! IU has the short turn around and Purdue will be hungry after a tough loss to MSU. Purdue rolls.
Dan says ... Indiana 58 at PURDUE 66--Hoosiers are playing better, but not enough better to win at Mackey in rivalry game.

Illinois @ Ohio State

Gamm says ... Bucks have been tough at home and knock the Illini back a peg...
Dan says ... Illinois 72 at OHIO STATE 74--Basically a home-court pick in the first of two excellent games.

Wisconsin @ Michigan State

Gamm says ... MSU's basketball nemesis comes calling for our only battle on the year. Wisconsin has stripped State of Big Ten title dreams in the past (an OT loss with the banner hanging rolled in the rafters comes to mind) but this one brings some revenge. State 68 - Wisconsin 57.
Dan says ... Wisconsin 68 at MICHIGAN STATE 70--Spartans stretched to limit, but keep top spot in Big Ten and end Badgers' winning streak.

Michigan @ Iowa

Gamm says ... Iowa has been pesky at home, but Michigan gets another huge win.
Dan says ... MICHIGAN 63 at Iowa 62--Wolverines get a valuable road split.

Northwestern @ Minnesota

Gamm says ... Minnesota gets back to winning...
Dan says ... Northwestern 65 at MINNESOTA 70--Tubby and company burnish their Big Dance credentials.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Get Gamm
We're starting to get a glimpse of March and the madness that ensues. Every game is critical in the Big Ten race and as teams jockey to get into the Big Dance, for seeding, etc.

Some big ones on the slate in the Big Ten this week to continue to whet the appetite.

Michigan State @ Michigan

Gamm says - MSU is 5-0 on the road. Michigan had a good week last week after a not so hot run the week before. The key is simple: Michigan takes a load more triples than anyone else, but also makes them less than any other team. The Spartans rebound and run better than anyone in the nation. If the Wolverines are making the triples, this could be an upset. The Spartans will miss Raymar Morgan more this game than in the past few. I think State gets the W and goes into the week off on a high. MSU 67 - Michigan 65.

Buckeye Nation says - Michigan State

Indiana @ Minnesota
Gamm says - Minnesota gets back on track. IU will miss Devan "The Elbow Thrower" Dumes.
Buckeye Nation says - Minnesota

Penn State @ Purdue

Gamm says - Purdue is hurting without Robbie Hummel. On one hand, you know he wants to come back. On the other, I think for his career and future with the Boilers, he needs to sit the rest of the season. Purdue is looking for payback and Penn State is reeling. Purdue 65 - Penn State 51.

Buckeye Nation says - Purdue

Iowa @ Wisconsin
Gamm says - Wisconsin is rolling again with March in mind.
Buckeye Nation says - Wisconsin

Illinois @ Northwestern

Gamm says - A little rivalry action to take us into the weekend. Illinois is playing with confidence and Northwestern lost a critical game at Iowa. This is huge for the Wildcats so I'm going with the upset. NU in a low scoring affair.

Buckeye Nation says - This is a "pick 'em" game. What? In usual years, everyone chalked up Northwestern as "automatic wins" when previewing their upcoming schedules. Not this year. The Wildcats have enjoyed success this year both at home (Florida State, Minnesota, Wisconsin) and on the road (huge signature win at MSU). When Bill Carmody's Princeton offense is clicking, Northwestern is very tough, especially this season. Illinois has been largely a tale of two teams (except at Purdue who had injuries): awesome at home, beatable on the road. Throw in the fact that this is a rivalry game, the only regular season meeting between these two teams, and the stakes grow even higher. Illinois looks like a NCAA tournament team, but the Cats aren't there yet. It is tough to win on the road in the Big 10. This one will go down to the wire with the Wildcats winning an emotional game in a see-saw struggle. Northwestern 71 - Illinois 69

Minnesota @ Penn State

Gamm says - this might well be an elimination game for the tournament. Both teams were swept last week and find themselves in must win position. Minny has more wins, but not enough are high quality. Same probably goes for the Nits. I like PSU to snap the three game skid and get a huge win. Penn State 63 - Minnesota 60.

Buckeye Nation says - Both of these teams have enjoyed surprising success in the Big 10 this years, but both teams enter the game on losing streaks. Tubby Smith has the Gophers playing good ball, especially at home, but Ed DeChellis can make a similar claim. The Nittany Lions were certainly feeling their oats after a stunning win at MSU, but reality set in with a road loss at Michigan and a home loss to suddenly resurgent Wisconsin. From a talent standpoint, this is a pick 'em game, but I believe the Lions with the home court advantage will prevail over Minnesota. Penn State 67 - Minnesota 63

Purdue @ Iowa
Gamm says - a potential trap for Purdue between the critical home rematch with Penn State and a game against the Spartans. But the Boilers get it done.

Buckeye Nation says - Purdue

Ohio State @ Wisconsin
Gamm says - ESPN GameDay will be in Madison and the Kohl will be rocking. In the blink of an eye, Wisconsin turns the four game losing streak into a four game win streak...

Buckeye Nation says - Just when it appeared that rigor mortis had set in on Bo Ryan's Badgers, Wisconsin notched two huge wins at home against Illinois, and on the road at suddenly good Penn State. Granted, most of the Wisconsin losses were close ones, but losing has a tendency to become habit-forming. Now, the rejuvenated Badgers will entertain Thad Matta's Buckeyes, who are enjoying their own resurgence with a 4 game winning streak including big home wins against Purdue and Minnesota. This will be the only regular season meeting against these two teams. And it will be in the Kohl Center where the Badgers usually have their way with the Buckeyes. Coming into the game, the Badgers will face Iowa at home, while the Buckeyes will be coming off of a bye-week. Last year, at Value City Arena, the Badgers prevailed, and they will definitely be favored to win this one as well. I can only hope it will not be a Valentine's Day Massacre. However, I'm a Buckeye homer, and this is a game where I think the Buckeyes, with a size advantage underneath, will have a chance to steal one on the road and pull out a win at the buzzer. Ohio State 65 - Wisconsin 63

Illinois @ Indiana
Gamm says - Illinois
Buckeye Nation says - Illinois

Michigan @ Northwestern
Gamm says - Michigan bounces back.
Buckeye Nation says - Northwestern.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Let the attrition begin!
Wow was it a battle last week in the Big Ten. Penn State gets everyone within reach of Michigan State on Sunday and then - WHAM - every one starts beating up on the other. Penn State loses what could amount to two very costly games. Purdue goes down twice and is looking at what life is like without Robbie Hummel (not nearly as good, that's for sure). Wisconsin gets two huge wins after a six game losing streak. Illinois splits. Northwestern drops a critical game. Minnesota gets clipped twice. Ohio State got two killer home wins to vault back into the race. And in the end, the team that entered the week in some trouble - MSU - wins two to reclaim a two game lead.

Buckeye Nation moved to the top of the leaderboard and gets to pick this week. Maybe I'll actually have time to get my picks in on time this go around!

Without further ado...

Michigan State @ Michigan (Andy)
Indiana @ Minnesota

Penn State @ Purdue (Andy)
Iowa @ Wisconsin

Illinois @ Northwestern (Buckeye)

Minnesota @ Penn State (Tiebreaker - Andy & Buckeye)
Purdue @ Iowa
Ohio State @ Wisconsin (Buckeye)

Illinois @ Indiana
Michigan @ Northwestern

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Breslin Center mystique appears to have vanished. Penn State is officially for real. Northwestern remains hot. So does Purdue. Ohio State got back on track. Illinois overcame the ugly loss at Minnesota to get back to winning. What's wrong with Wisconsin? Wins over Duke and UCLA seem like eons ago for Michigan. When will IU get its first W? Folks, we've got ourselves a race.

While Buckeye Nation and Phats tied me, I snuck out with the tiebreaker so I pick solo this week. Every week the teeth and fists clinch tighter... hang on, gonna be a wild finish!

Purdue @ Ohio State

Iowa @ Indiana
Chicago State @ Northwestern
Minnesota @ Michigan State

Penn State @ Michigan
Illinois @ Wisconsin

Indiana @ Michigan State
Michigan @ Connecticut
Northwestern @ Iowa
Minnesota @ Ohio State

Purdue @ Illinois (Tiebreaker)
Wisconsin @ Penn State