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Wednesday Random Thoughts and Picks

- Well so much for Minnesota getting an NCAA bid. I didn't think it was possible for a Big Ten team to play worse than Northwestern did Sunday at Penn State, but the Gophers pulled it off last night at Michigan. Their formerly vaunted defense allowed the Wolverines to shoot 60% from the field and only forced 4 turnovers, leading to Michigan scoring 83 points in just 57 possessions. Tubby Smith is now beginning to draw the ire of Minnesota fans for his bizarre rotations (hockey-style line change substitutions) and an inability to keep his players out of trouble (Royce White, Trevor MBakwe) or academically eligible (Al Nolen).

- Ohio State clinched at least a share of the regular season Big Ten title by pulling away from Illinois in the 2nd half. Evan Turner filled up the stat sheet as usual and Jon Diebler hit seven threes. While I did not enjoy Illinois losing by more than the 10 point spread, I did enjoy the final minute when Bruce Weber emptied the bench and put in some walk-ons. This led to a hilarious sequence in which a white walk-on guard (who had bizarre shooting form that involved a spastic kicking motion) missed an open three wide right by about 4 feet, got it back and bricked another three. The second miss was rebounded by a bigger, even more awkward white guy, who missed a wide open lay-up, and the ball was fumbled out of bounds by a third still more awkward white guy. It was nice to see goofy white guys struggling for a Big Ten team other than NU; unfortunately in past years stuff like the above sequence happened when the starters were in the game. I will never forget when Joe Kennedy got a start on senior day and was so excited he missed an open top of the key three so badly it almost went over the backboard.

After last night I am now under .500 on the season picking games. I have disgraced myself and my family, and will not finish the season under .500; I don't care if I have to start picking women's games, I can't allow it.

Indiana at Purdue (-18.5), 5:30 PM central, BTN

This line could be 25 and I'd be tempted to take Purdue. Indiana has completely gone into the tank, suffering 7 straight double digit losses, and Purdue is going to be very angry after the home loss to Michigan State. Combine all that with it being senior day at Mackey and that the Boilers will want to stick it to their in-state rivals, and you have all the makings of a 30+ point beatdown. Chris Kramer will be so fired up for senior day I half expect him to rip a Hoosier's heart out and eat it at center court.

Pick: Purdue

Iowa at Wisconsin (-18), 7:30 PM central, BTN

Another senior night, and another likely blowout, as Purdue and Wisconsin don't need to turn to the Great West Conference to ensure easy senior night wins. I certainly don't expect Iowa to make a game of this, but these two teams both play such a slow pace that it may be difficult for Wisconsin to win by 18+.

Pick: Iowa

Overall Record: 41-42-2
Northwestern games: 15-5