Big Ten Weekend Look Ahead: 12.02.16 Edition

Posted by Alex Moscoso on December 2nd, 2016

On Wednesday night, the Big Ten lost five of six games to drop the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the first time since 2008. This result represented an already disappointing start to the season for the league, but several teams have an opportunity to right the ship this weekend with solid resume-enhancing wins. In this season’s first weekend look-ahead, we’ll discuss how those teams can get big victories Saturday that may prove consequential on Selection Sunday.

For a second straight season, Nigel Hayes is shooting below 30 percent from the three point line. (Getty).

For a second straight season, Nigel Hayes is shooting below 30 percent from the three-point line. (Getty).

  • Oklahoma at Wisconsin (Saturday 1:00 PM ET, BTN). This is the Madison installment of a home-and-home series where the Badgers were run off the court in Norman last year. Of course, the Sooners no longer boast three of the seniors – including Naismith POY winner Buddy Hield – who led last year’s squad to the Final Four. Even with all that attrition, it is foolish to bet on a Lon Kruger team to miss the postseason, which means this game is a golden opportunity for Wisconsin to add another victory over a likely NCAA Tournament team (Syracuse) to its non-conference resume. To accomplish this, Wisconsin needs to establish greater offensive balance against a strong Sooners’ defense (24th nationally). Nigel Hayes would be wise to abandon his burgeoning propensity to shoot threes — where he is only hitting 29 percent on the season — and instead establish himself by geting into the paint and earning trips to the free throw line.

  • VCU vs. Illinois (Saturday 3:00 PM ET, CBS Sports). The Fighting Illini will meet the Rams in Miami after a potentially season-saving win over North Carolina State on Tuesday night. John Groce’s squad was staring disaster in the face after losing three in a row headed into Tuesday night’s match-up with the Wolfpack, but big contributions from two bench players, Leron Black and Jalen Coleman-Lands, allowed the Illini to flourish. If this team is to defeat VCU on a neutral court, it will need that same level of contribution from the bench going forward. On the defensive end, the Illini will also have to shore up the perimeter where they’re allowing opponents to shoot 37.4 percent from beyond the arc. Failure to do so will allow the sharp-shooting Rams to put the Illini away early if they get hot from long distance — VCU is making nearly 40 percent of their attempts on the season.
  • Oklahoma State at Maryland (Saturday 9:00 PM ET, BTN). The Terrapins seem to be falling into their usual pattern — that is, beat the teams you’re supposed to and fail to offer much else. While Mark Turgeon’s roster this season is not as talented, he still has one of the more dynamic players in the Big Ten in Melo Trimble. This year’s Maryland’s squad, however, will have to pull a few upsets in order to make its third NCAA Tournament in a row. They lost a golden opportunity in falling to Pittsburgh in College Park on Tuesday night, but they’ll get another shot for a solid win over a respectable Power 5 team when Oklahoma State visits this weeken. Watch for the point guard battle between Trimble and the dynamic Jawun Evans, who’s averaging 24.7 PPG and 5.1 APG on the season. If the Terps can contain him and get their offense to draw fouls, they’ll walk away with their eighth win of the season.
Alex Moscoso (170 Posts)

Share this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *