On Wednesday night, only two games in Big Ten conference will be played as the Purdue Boilermakers are set to host the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Ohio State Buckeyes will host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Can the Boilermakers defend Mackey like their 17-point win against the Michigan Wolverines? Will the Buckeyes handle their business at home against the Scarlet Knights?
Let's preview the game of the night in the Big Ten:
Game of the Night: Penn State Nittany Lions vs Purdue Boilermakers (8:30 PM ET| BTN)
The 14-3 Boilermakers are the 24th ranked team in the country but recently, they have struggled. Purdue did lose at home to a pretty good Iowa Hawkeyes team, they lost on a neutral court to the Butler Bulldogs and they just had a tough loss on the road this past Sunday to the Illinois Fighting Illini. This is a must win against a Penn State team that is near the bottom of the conference with a 10-7 overall record and only one conference win.
The Boilermakers are a much better team than they have showed as they recently took out the Michigan Wolverines last Thursday which is the same Wolverines team that gave the Maryland Terrapins all they could handle in a huge victory with guard Caris LeVert not playing.
With the size and length Purdue has with Isaac Haas, A.J. Hammons and Caleb Swanigan, their recent struggles shouldn't last long. Especially not against Penn State.
For the Nittany Lions, things looked a bit promising when they nearly defeated a Maryland team on the road and one would have thought that their performance would have given them confidence to be competitive going forward. That hasn't been the case in the last three games as they lost to Wolverines by 23 points on the road and lost by 27 points at home to the Michigan State Spartans.
Penn State did have a 86-77 victory against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in between those two games, but Penn State right now looks like they are the third-worst team in the conference sitting in front of Minnesota and Rutgers.
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Ohio State Buckeyes (6:30 PM ET| BTN)
The Ohio State Buckeyes might be the most confusing team in the Big Ten right now. You really don't know what kind of team you will get out of the Buckeyes. This team lost by a mere six points against the Virginia early on in the season when the Cavaliers was ranked 10th in the country.
Ohio State then followed that up losing by 20 to the Connecticut Huskies on the road. After that, Ohio State beats the 4th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats. Now, The Buckeyes have lost by 25 points to the Indiana Hoosiers. Does any of that makes sense? Not really, other than the fact that this team looks like they play when they feel like it this season under head coach Thad Matta.Ohio State can't afford a letdown against the Scarlet Knights.
For Rutgers, head coach Eddie Jordan has had a rough calendar year. Since January 14th of the 2015 season, Rutgers has lost 19 straight conference games and are 6-26 overall during that time. Interestingly enough, the last Big Ten conference win Rutgers had was at home against a highly-ranked Wisconsin Badgers team. Yes, the same Badgers team that went all the way to the national championship game last year.
Rutgers amazingly has never won a Big Ten basketball conference road game since officially joining in 2014. That statistic will change eventually, but it is unlikely that happens tonight in Columbus.