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3/8 Big Ten Tournament Preview: It Begins

Nebraska, Penn State, Ohio State and Rutgers will play, but only two teams will advance.

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

We’ve made it. March is here, which means there is college basketball during the day. The Big Ten Tournament starts today in Washington D.C., with the four lowest seeds in the conference matching up. These games are intriguing for a number of reasons. Although these four teams have losing records in conference play, the teams have improved this year.

Who should you pick and how can you watch the magic begin to unfold?

All of your information is right here.

Big Ten Game of The Day:

-Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • TV/Time: 7:00pm ET on BTN
  • Spread: Ohio State (-7.5)

Rutgers has had a much-improved season under first year head coach Steve Pikiell this year. Although their season record of 14-17 and conference record of 3-15 are not indicative, this team has brought games down to the wire and lost in the final minutes. They’ve played Northwestern close twice, Iowa close, Wisconsin close, Minnesota close, and Ohio State close in their lone meeting of the season. Rutgers has improved tremendously defensively and clearly has shown signs of the program heading in the right direction.

Corey Sanders leads Rutgers, averaging 13 points and 3.3 assists per game. Deshawn Freeman has been a huge asset to the team, including hitting the game winner in their season finale against Illinois. He’s a huge help up front, averaging just under 8 rebounds per game.

On the Ohio State side, Jae’ Sean Tate scores an average of 14.2 points per game. JaQuan Lyle dishes out just under 5 assists per game, and Trevor Thompson averages 9.1 rebounds per game.

When the Scarlet Knights visited Columbus in February, the Buckeyes won 70-64. This game should be close, with high expectations on the Scarlet Knights defense to keep the Buckeyes in check.

Rutgers will come close, but they’ll bow out in the first round.

  • Pick against the Spread: Ohio State (+ 7.5)

The Rest:

-Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

  • TV/Time: 4:30 pm ET on ESPN2
  • Spread: Penn State (-2)

Although Nebraska won the only meeting between the Nittany Lions and Cornhuskers this year, Penn State is favored to win today.

When they met on Valentine’s Day, Penn State traveled to Lincoln, where the Huskers were 4.5- point favorites. Nebraska was able to walk away with an 82-66 victory. Nebraska had four players score in double-figures lead by Glynn Watson Jr. and Jack McVeigh, who scored 15 points each.

Nebraska has arguably one of the strongest backcourts in the Big Ten. It is lead by Watson Jr. and Tai Webster, who averages over 17 points per game. Watson Jr. is right behind him, averaging 13.4 points per game. When the two of them are playing well, they’re hard to guard.

Michael Jacobson is dangerous on the boards in the frontcourt. He’s averaging 6.5 rebounds per game. Jacobson and Jack McVeigh also handle shooting well in the frontcourt. The two combine to average 14.3 points per game. Because off all of the weapons on the court, Nebraska is hard to guard.

On the Penn State side, Tony Carr is dangerous. He’s a freshman, but he’s outstanding. He leads the Nittanly Lions in points and assists. He averages 13.2 points per game and 4.2 assists per game. Lamar Stevens ans Shep Garner also help the scoring, by each adding an average of 12+ points per game.

Penn State is young and Nebraska has shown flashes of excellence this year, but both teams have struggled down the stretch. That being said, Nebraska should be capable of finding a win to pull off an opening round win today.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Nebraska (+2)