There's a solid slate of Big Ten games tonight, but before we get to that, let's talk future Northwestern opponents. Specifically, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. As the biggest name on the Wildcats' non-conference schedule, we hoped that game might be a chance to pick up a much-need quality win. Sure, the Jackets were picked near the bottom of the ACC, but they returned some talented guards and we hoped that maybe Paul Hewitt could at least make them into a bubble team.
Two games into the season, it's clear Georgia Tech is terrible. We're talking lost to Kennesaw State by 17 points terrible. Georgia Tech blog From the Rumble Seat has all the gory details, and Hewitt's seat is already getting hot a mere two games after he signed a 6 year extension. What a debacle.
The marquee game of ESPN's 24 hour marathon features a rematch of the 2007 national title game. The Buckeyes' freshman class lived up to the hype in their opening rout of N.C. A&T, as Deshaun Thomas had 24 points and 8 rebounds, Jared Sullinger had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and Aaron Craft had 8 points, 9 assists, and 0 turnovers. Certainly Florida will prove to be a much tougher challenge, but I'm fully aboard the Buckeye bandwagon and think they win this one on the road, so bet Ohio State and take the points.
Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at Indiana Hoosiers, 6 PM central, Big Ten Network
The Hoosiers have looked good so far, winning their first two games by an average margin of 25 points, including a 67-44 win over a supposedly decent Wright State team (the Hoosiers were only 5 point favorites). No line for this one, but it should be another easy win for Indiana, unless the Delta Devils have recruited some relatives of Jerry Rice who are as good at basketball as he was at football.
Saint Joseph's Hawks at Penn St. Nittany Lions (-13), 6:30 PM central, ESPN3.com
Penn State looked a bit shaky in their opening night win over Lehigh, trailing at halftime before pulling away late, but this should be an easy win, because Saint Joseph's is a shell of their former selves. Anyone else remember when Jameer Nelson and Delonte West led the Hawks to a #1 seed and were a shot away from the Final Four? Not quite the same program these days, as they went 11-20 last year and opened this year with a 98-70 home loss to our old friends the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. It's tempting to take Penn State to cover, but having to give 13 points to an Ed DeChellis coached team seems like a terrible idea, so we'll stay away from this one.
North Dakota Fighting Sioux at Wisconsin Badgers, 7 PM central, ESPN3.com
If this were a hockey game, it would be an excellent match-up between two WCHA powerhouses (holla at your boy Zach Parise), but in basketball, this will be a laugher, as the Sioux are in their second year of Division 1 basketball and will be lucky to keep this within 30. As for Wisconsin, I'll have their team preview done by tomorrow morning, so stay tuned for that.
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at Iowa Hawkeyes (-12.5). 7:30 PM central, BigTenNetwork.com ($$$)
The Fran McCaffery era began with a resounding thud, as the Hawkeyes went down by 10 at home to South Dakota State. The injury to Matt Gatens was certainly a factor, but it's become clear that this will be a very long season in Iowa City. As for tonight, I feel like I'm missing something with this line; while ULM is certainly terrible, they only lost by 19 in their opener to a decent Texas Tech team, and considering how bad Iowa looked, this should be a pretty close game. So take the Warhawks and hope Cully Payne keeps turning the ball over.
A late night tip-off in East Lansing to finish up ESPN's 24 hour marathon, this should be a pretty easy Spartans win, although The Only Colors warns MSU fans against getting too cocky (proven fact: no blogger can resist making a cock joke when discussing South Carolina). I don't know enough about South Carolina to want to put a wager on this one, so just sit back and enjoy the Kalin Lucas.
Gambling record so far this season: 1-0