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2017 Big Ten Tournament Preview: #11 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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The Big Ten Tournament kicks off with two games in Wednesday’s opening round.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long year, but it’s finally time for the Big Ten Tournament.

With the conference being deeper than it’s ever been, there’s no clear cut favorite this time around. Numerous teams look like they have the recipe for success, but as we all know, anything can happen in the Big Ten Tournament.

Unlike previous years, the five-day event will be headed East, as the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C plays host for the first time.

Wednesday night will feature the opening round of the tournament, with four teams set to do battle.

You can preview Ohio State and Rutgers below, with betting odds courtesy of Covers.com.

- #11 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET — BTN
  • Covers Spread: Ohio State (-7)

This game will be the second game of the first round, tipping off immediately after the 4:30 P.M ET game. The winner of this matchup will play No. 6 seed Northwestern.

In previous years, the Scarlet Knights entered the Big Ten Tournament with little optimism. The program was the laughingstock of the league, acting as a doormat for Big Ten foes. However, with 14 wins in 2016-17, the overall sentiment for Rutgers is that they can hang with any team in the conference.

Unlike Rutgers, the Buckeyes failed to live up to expectations this year. After producing 12 straight 20-win seasons, Thad Matta and company stumbled to a 17-14 record this year, including only seven conference wins.

Rutgers will be out for revenge on Wednesday night, as they look to avenge their heartbreaking loss from a month ago. The Scarlet Knights had Ohio State on the ropes with a minute to play, but failed to score after being tied 62-62. The Buckeyes won the contest 66-62.

In my estimation, Rutgers has more to gain from a win here. It would be their first-ever Big Ten Tournament triumph and would prove to their naysayers that they’re really a team on the rise.

Ohio State’s season is already a lost cause, so don’t be surprised if they come out flat on Wednesday night.

Take the points here, but look out for a straight-up win by Corey Sanders’ crew.