- Monday always means the release of new NCAA tournament projections from various bracketologists, and Northwestern didn't get much love. NU was nowhere to be found on the brackets of Cheap Rug Lunardi, Jerry Palm, or Andy Glockner. Only SBNation's own Chris Dobbertean mentioned the 'Cats at all, naming them the 6th team out as of now. The aforementioned Glockner did discuss Northwestern during his weekly Bubble Watch, which is pretty much a must-read for any college basketball fan:
For Northwestern (16-7, 5-6, RPI: 65, SOS: 63), beating Michigan at home was a huge key to the Cats' likely late-season surge. The subsequent home win over IU kicked off an incredible run where NW has home-and-homes against all three of the league's worst teams (5-27 combined in Big Ten) in its final eight league games. Anything less than 10-8 would be awfully disappointing. Would that be enough?
GW: Purdue, at NC State (?)
BL: None, but can't eat many more
Despite the two wins this week, NU's RPI didn't improve at all due to the weakish competition and because the RPI formula gives more weight to winning on the road than at home. 10-8 won't be enough on its own, although the 'Cats could still probably get in with a couple wins in the Big Ten tournament. 11-7 should be enough on its own, especially if that's good enough for 5th in the Big Ten and a first round bye in the conference tournament. More likely however, that will be good for 6th or 7th, and the 'Cats will need to avoid a first round upset at the hands of Iowa or Penn State.
- Hammer and Rails
caused a gigantic shitstorm today with a post about how the top of the Big East is massively overrated. I have to think most of that post is satirical, as no one could actually believe that Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown aren't really good teams. I do find it amusing how many completely brain-dead Syracuse fans came out of the woodwork to defend their beloved Orange; a sad day for the Syracuse English department.
- I managed to salvage a winning weekend picking games thanks to getting in my Iowa pick 2 minutes before tip off and continuing my dominance picking Northwestern games. Tomorrow there are two great matchups in the conference, and I'm here to break it all down.
Illinois at Wisconsin (-8.5). 6 PM, BTN
Ugh, I hate this line and would never go anywhere near a wager on it. I know I just got done declaring Wisconsin on their way to the Big Ten title, and I fully expect them to win here, but 8.5 is about 3 more than I'd like to give. Still, this is a classic letdown game for Illinois, and the Badgers should be well rested after cruising past Michigan on Saturday.
Purdue at Michigan State (-2.5), 8 PM, ESPN
Despite the uncertainty involving Kalin Lucas's ankle
, I'm taking Michigan State here since they are always so tough at home and I barely have to give any points. I don't see Purdue winning here unless Michigan State turns the ball over like crazy, as the Spartans should have a big edge in rebounding and the Boiler bench is still suspect.
Pick: Michigan State
Northwestern games: 13-2