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Tuesday Random Basketball Thoughts and Picks

 - Yesterday most sites released their weekly bracket predictions. Jerry Palm at CBS has Northwestern as his third team out, Andy Glockner at SI has NU out, but does list them as one of his 7 also considered, and Joe Lunardi doesn't even have the 'Cats listed. I was surprised that Lunardi (who by the way has the most obvious rug I have ever seen, he can't be serious with that thing) didn't even mention NU, and I was a bit puzzled by his reasoning when asked about the 'Cats in a chat:

The Wildcats aren't good enough, plain and simple. And, even with the weekend upset of Purdue, they are just 2-3 in the Big Ten. That's not going to get it done.

That's it, really? Purdue is also 2-3 in the Big Ten and he has them as a #4 seed. Now obviously Purdue had a better non conference performance, but still Joe, maybe something about their RPI being too weak, not enough quality wins, at least give me a reason short of "they aren't good enough". The good news is that there's a long way to go and Northwestern has plenty of time to play themselves into the tournament, as right now no one thinks Northwestern should be in.

- Welsh-Ryan Ramblings had an interesting update on the whereabouts of Nikola Baran and his Croatian afro. Baran, or Cro-fro as I liked to call him, is currently averaging 7 points a game for Division 2 Rollins College. Yes, a guy who can't average double figures in Division 2 was starting games for Northwestern just 2 years ago. Amazing how far this team has come.

- Very interesting article by SBNation on the future of college basketball and how to improve the product. I really like the bubble team play-in game idea, as well as moving the inter-conference challenges to later in the season.

- A preview of tonight's game from an Ohio State perspective. 

Pick for tonight

Big Ten games: 10-8-1
Northwestern games: 7-2

Purdue at Illinois (+4.5), 8 PM central, ESPN

Huge game for both teams as Purdue needs to right the ship and Illinois needs to bounce back after getting smoked by Michigan State. This should be a close game throughout, so I'll take Illinois and the points at home.

Pick: Illinois