Big Ten hoops: When will the Illini win?

Big Ten hoops: When will the Illini win?

Want to know what games are worthwhile? Here's the scoop from sports editor Matt Daniels, who is still trying to figure out how exactly Illinois lost to Iowa on Thursday night.


Michigan at No. 4 Michigan State, 11 a.m., Fox

Comment: Enjoy this rivalry game while you can. Simply because this is the only meeting between the Wolverines and Spartans this season. And enjoy future pros like Miles Bridges, Nick Ward and Moritz Wagner going against one another at the Breslin Center.

Daniels' pick: Michigan State, 61-58

No. 5 Purdue at Minnesota, 11 a.m., ESPN2

Comment: Scoring balance is a key reason why the Boilermakers can still have dreams of an undefeated Big Ten season. Carsen Edwards, Isaac Haas, Vincent Edwards and Dakota Mathias are all averaging at least 13.3 points per game.

Daniels' pick: Purdue, 83-71


Northwestern at Indiana, 3:30 p.m., CBS

Comment: The Hoosiers are far from a finished product, but freshman Justin Smith, who teamed with Jalen Brunson to win a Class 4A state title at Stevenson in 2015, is progressing nicely for Archie Miller's program.

Daniels' pick: Indiana, 69-64

Ohio State at Rutgers, 6 p.m., BTN

Comment: Buckeyes star Keita Bates-Diop is treating the Big Ten like he used to treat the Corn Belt Conference when he was starring at Normal U-High. Rutgers is the latest victim.

Daniels' pick: Ohio State, 68-56


Maryland at Michigan, 5:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1

Comment: Former Illini recruiting target Zavier Simpson flashed his potential in the Wolverines' one-point loss to Purdue, scoring a team-high 15 points, grabbing six rebounds and handing out five assists.

Daniels' pick: Michigan, 76-70

Minnesota at Penn State, 6 p.m., BTN

Comment: Adversity isn't anything new to the Pitino family. Yet Richard's Gophers are seemingly sliding down, going from likely NCAA tournament lock to bubble team in the span of about 10 days.

Daniels' pick: Minnesota, 68-67

Illinois at Nebraska, 8 p.m., BTN

Comment: Trent Frazier's outside shooting nearly propelled the Illini to its first Big Ten win against Iowa. Illinois will need the true freshman from Florida to bring that and more in his first trip to Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Daniels' pick: Nebraska, 78-74


Wisconsin at No. 5 Purdue, 6 p.m., ESPN

Comment: Wisconsin big man Ethan Happ, an Illinois native, has scored 1,197 points in his first three seasons with the Badgers. All without making a three-pointer.

Daniels' pick: Purdue, 71-59


Iowa at Rutgers, 6 p.m., BTN

Comment: Before cramps derailed him late in the Scarlet Knights' upset bid at Michigan State, it was hard to argue that Corey Sanders wasn't the best player on the floor.

Daniels' pick: Iowa, 70-65

Ohio State at Northwestern, 8 p.m., BTN

Comment: Northwestern is averaging 5,920 fans to the 18,500-seat Allstate Arena this season in Rosemont. The only time the Wildcats have drawn more than 10,000? When Illinois visited on Dec. 2 and 10,017 fans showed up.

Daniels' pick: Ohio State, 75-66


Minnseota at Maryland, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1

Comment: No fan is going to feel sorry for Mark Turgeon's Terrapins given the run of talent that has gone through College Park since Maryland joined the Big Ten. But any coach could sympathize what Maryland is going through with all their injuries.

Daniels' pick: Maryland, 60-59

Michigan at Nebraska, 8 p.m., BTN

Comment: In the past, transfers like Terran Petteway, Shavon Shields and Andrew White thrived in Tim Miles' system. This season, the Huskers are at it again as four of the team's top five scorers — James Palmer Jr. (Miami), Isaac Copeland (Georgetown), Anton Gill (Louisville) and Evan Taylor (Samford) — all started their college careers elsewhere.

Daniels' pick: Michigan, 68-61

Illini MVP

Player, Pos. Prev.

Leron Black, F 1

Trent Frazier, G 2

Aaron Jordan, G 3

Greg Eboigbodin, F —

Da'Monte Williams, G —

Daniels' take: Hard to believe now, but Trent Frazier actually went scoreless and only played 10 minutes in his Big Ten debut against Northwestern last month.

Big Ten MVP

Player, School Prev.

Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State 5

Carsen Edwards, Purdue 4

Nick Ward, Michigan State 3

Miles Bridges, Michigan State 1

Jordan Murphy, Minnesota 2

Daniels' take: Bates-Diop has shined in Big Ten play, averaging 24 points and 9.6 rebounds. No wonder the Buckeyes are 5-0 so far in league action.

Freshman of the Year

Player, School Prev.

Jaren Jackson, Michigan State 1

Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State 3

Brad Davison, Wisconsin 2

Trent Frazier, Illinois 5

Geo Baker, Rutgers —

Daniels' take: The 6-foot-11 Jackson can not only get it done inside, but he's also shooting 49 percent from three-point range (22 of 50) and 82 percent from the foul line (63 of 77).

Coach of the Year

Leader, School Prev.

Matt Painter, Purdue 2

Chris Holtmann, Ohio State —

Tom Izzo, Michigan State 1

John Beilein, Michigan 3

Pat Chambers, Penn State —

Daniels' take: Winning a road game, like the Boilermakers did at Michigan, has Painter and his team off to a 5-0 start in Big Ten play for the first time since the 1989-90 season.

Dance cards

School Status

Purdue NCAA

Michigan State NCAA

Ohio State NCAA

Michigan NCAA

Maryland NCAA

Minnesota NCAA

Penn State NIT

Nebraska NIT

Indiana CBI

Northwestern CBI

Wisconsin Home

Rutgers Home

Iowa Home

Illinois Home

Daniels' take: Michigan State seems to have the Big Ten's best shot of earning a No. 1 seed, but don't discount Purdue's chances, either.

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MasterOfTheObvious wrote on January 13, 2018 at 4:01 am

It's January 13, 2018 and the University of Illinois does not have a Big Ten win in Football, Men's Basketball or Women's Basketball.  A nice big 0-19.

#WeAreLosing should be replacing #WeWillWin.  Or, at least Whitman needs to change it to #WhenWillWeWin  

But hey, the answer to all of this is building a new 107,650 square foot, $79.2 million Illinois Football Performance Center, and if you are reading the tea leaves, the Basketball Programs now need a new practice complex to replace Ubben, to go along with the $169.5 million renovation of the Assembly Hall.

That's $248,700,000 so far in spending over the last 5 years just in facilities for football and men's basketball already, and a new basketball practice complex will be another $20,000,000 at least if you compare it to the one that Memphis just opened up, which is probably not as grandiose as what DIA will want.

It's January 13, 2018 and the University of Illinois does not have a Big Ten win in Football, Men's Basketball or Women's Baskeball.  A nice big 0-19.

No new offiensive coordinator has been hired so maybe the bloom is off the Lovie Rose.  Not many people jumping on board this Titanic. How about that ROI on the Love Train... $21 million over six years and a 5-19 record, and the 12th best recruiting class in the Big Ten so far in 2018. Hard to blame bad recruiting now on anything but Smith & Whitman. If you cannot sell immediate playing time, a former NFL head coach as the Illini Football Chief and the sparkling $79.2 million Illinois Football Performance Center, what else is it going to take?

But hey, let's add men's and women's ice hockey... yeah, that's the ticket!