BIg road win for Cats at Maryland

Cats win 68-61 on the road, a nice Quad 1 win. Martinelli had 27 tonight, a career high.

Langborg sat out tonight with an ankle injury from the Michigan game.

In a back and forth game for the first 30 minutes, Minnesota couldn’t pull off the road win at Illinois that would have put us into a tie with Illinois for 2nd place in the Big Ten. 105-97.

And the Cats broke through the 50 barrier to 48 (from 52) in NET ranking today!

Minnesota went from 77 to 75 after their close game (for at least 30 minutes) at Illinois, even though they lost.

Quad 1 record 5-6
Quad 2 record 5-1
Quad 3 record 4-0
Quad 4 record 6-1

Iowa Quad 2

@ MSU Quad 1
Minnesota Quad 2

Mississippi State is 30 and has quad 3 and quad 4 losses so Chicago State isn’t our yoke. Their Tennessee and Auburn wins aren’t more impressive than our Purdue and Illinois wins. Overall their schedule is similar so it must be victory margin, which I can understand in football with fewer games and more 0-1 loss teams, but in a 30 game season with everybody having multiple losses this seems wrong.

Our overall point differential is +5.2 compared to Mississippi State’s +7.1. Our only loss by double digits is the 30-point thumping in Champaign. MsSt has a 23-pt loss and a 13-pt loss; all others for both teams are single-digit.

Of course, the head-to-head on a neutral court was a 9-pt win for them. We’ve had two common opponents: They beat Rutgers by 10 on a “neutral” court in Newark where we lost to Rutgers by 3 in Piscataway. And we both beat Arizona State by double digits (MSU by 15 in Chicago, NU by 19 in Phoenix). So they have an edge in these games.

The only other big difference is (perceived) quality of conference opposition. The SEC has six ranked teams, the Big Ten only two. (Both teams only have ranked teams above them in their respective conference standings right now.)

Does any of this make it make sense? Nah.


ESPN+ has an article on whether the Big Twelve is manipulating the NET rankings, though to be honest I didn’t understand their logic, something to do with non-conference schedules, theirs were among the weakest in the nation. How that helps their NET rankings wasn’t clear.

Northwestern’s remaining games: Iowa, @MSU, Minnesota

Illinois’ remaining games: @Wisconsin, Purdue, @Iowa

Nebraska’s remaining games: @OSU, Rutgers, @Michigan

Wisconsin’s remaining games: Illinois, Rutgers, @Purdue

I think Northwestern and Nebraska have the easier schedules compared to Illinois and Wisconsin.

But they still have to keep winning. Even the BTN crew was impressed with their defense last night, on a night with two starters out.

I was at the game with three sons who attended Maryland! So we absolutely had to win!

Our defense was excellent. They played like one man. The best defense I have ever seen NU play in person.

Our foul shooting was superb. But Maryland could not hit the side of a barn! I think they went something like 2 for 22 from three. If they hit three of those, the game would have been quite different. Remember last year’s game, when they could not miss from the arc?

When Jahmir young took it to the hole, he looked unstoppable. He is an quality college basketball player. Looked like the best player out there. But the Cat’s looked like the best team!

Martinelli play the game of a lifetime. He was amazing, and just carried/willed the Cats to victory!

When the Terps closed the lead to two points with fewer than 10 minutes to play, I was worried we were in for another late-season swoon. But Nicholson’s dunk screamed differently with 6 minutes to go to push us back to 10.

Was great to win one, when we were shorthanded (hopefully Langborg is good to go for the final three!). We absolutely had to make foul shots all game. Good teams do! Barnhizer was ice going 4-4 to close it out. Let’s win the final three!! At least two out of three!

Kenneth Maresco

The Minnesota road loss must have been moved up to Q1 overnight, they said we were 5-5 in Q1 games last night.

Cats are up to an 8 seed in Lunardi’s latest bracket, Nebraska still a 9 but their NET dropped to 43 after last night’s loss at OSU, where they looked flat except for a 6 minute spurt late in the first half but still had a chance to retake the lead with about 4 minutes left.

Nebraska’s loss means Wisconsin is now in 4th place in the conference but the Badgers hosts Illinois on Saturday and finishes the regular season at Purdue, with a home game against Rutgers in between.

The Cats host Iowa tomorrow, then go to MSU before hosting Minnesota to finish the regular season.

Just have to avoid a Letdown…

Now, is NU’s position in the B1G Standings why some writers think that the B1G is “down” this year? Maybe the usual suspects (dOSU, Mich, MSU, Indy) are rebuilding this year, but the league certainly seems to be pretty well balanced.

But then again, that’s why they play the tournament this month.

Go B1GCats


I honestly don’t know whether we should want Illinois to win at Wisconsin tomorrow or not. But Roy’s right that the Cats can’t afford a letdown, like Nebraska had last night.

It’s a long season. Suspect that everyone on the floor is tired and dinged up. Every team the Cats play is going to try to take Buie away and force someone else to beat them. That means someone else is going to need to step up. Fortunately, there HAVE been others on the team who HAVE answered the call. And that’s where coaching is going to make the difference. So far Collins has done a great job of managing injuries and feeding whomever has the hot hand.

IMHO the bottom line for the Cats this year is their defense. Defending without fouling, turning the other team over, taking care of the ball on the offensive end, and making your free throws are the fundamental parts of the formula for winning close games. That puts a lot of pressure on the other team to execute their half court offense, particularly if they are only getting one shot per possession.

The last five minutes of the game against Maryland started with Buie hitting a big three to give the Cats a 9 point lead. The only other Cat’s basket was a layup at the one minute mark to make the score 64-57. But the Cats were 8-8 at the free throw line. Maryland never got any closer than three and ended up losing by 7. Cats had 5 defensive rebounds over that period. Maryland had two and they missed the front end of two 1-1’s. IMHO, that’s a textbook stat line for closing out a game.


If we continue to defend home court, we are guaranteed no worse than 4th place and we get a double-bye in the tournament. We only have one road game left, we only have six losses, and there are already 10 teams with at least eight losses. Would I love to beat the Spartans in East Lansing again? Of course! But I’ll take that L if it means we win both of the home games.

Also worth noting is that by finishing conference play on Saturday, even if it’s the late game, we get an extra day of rest over everyone except our opponent, Minnesota.