This week is shaping up to be a big week for the Big Ten, with current front runner Purdue set to face off against both Ohio State and Michigan State later this week. While there will be some key games later on in the week, there’s only one matchup tonight between two of the conference’s more disappointing teams.
Game of the Day
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN)
- Spread: Indiana (-1)
It hasn’t been a smooth road for Rutgers since joining the Big Ten and once again the Scarlet Knights find themselves at the bottom of the conference. While Rutgers is once again in last place, they’ve looked relatively decent when playing at home, even if they’re 2-10 over their last 12 games.
Over their last five home games the Scarlet Knights have managed to knock off Wisconsin and Iowa, while playing both Nebraska and Purdue close. Last time out Corey Sanders went off for 31 points, while Geo Baker and Deshawn Freeman added an additional 30 points. Unfortunately the teams other two starters added a mere three points combined and the bench only added 12 more points.
If you watched Big Ten basketball at all this weekend, you’ve more than likely heard the narrative of Rutgers starting to show signs of piecing things together. That makes tonight a perfect test to see if there’s any legitimacy to those claims, as they’ll face a more talented Indiana team that has struggled enough that it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see them lose tonight in New Jersey.
The Hoosiers weren’t expected to do that much this season and with a record of 12-12 (5-7), they’ve more or less fit the role most people projected for them. While guys like Juwan Morgan and Robert Johnson have looked good for Indiana, the rest of the lineup has been hit or miss and the Hoosiers have struggled with consistency all year. While on one hand this team has beaten Notre Dame and played Louisville, Purdue and Michigan State close, they’ve also got blown out by Fort Wayne and Indiana State, lost to Wisconsin and Illinois and are currently riding a four game losing streak.
Last Saturday Indiana gave the Spartans everything they could handle, led by Juwan Morgan’s 23 points and 11 rebounds. However, no one else for Indiana reached double figures and they ended up shooting a ghastly 28.8% from the field, losing by three points.
The Hoosiers will need to find more consistency on the offensive front to avoid the upset, though they do benefit from playing a Rutgers team that has also struggled putting the ball into the basket. Corey Sanders finally got things rolling, with his 31 points being seven more than he scored the prior three games combined.
Indiana’s not a NCAA Tournament team, but you can make the case that they should be capable of winning their next five games if they play to their potential. Today should be a good test to see if Indiana will continue to compete or if they’ll start packing it in as this season fades away. The Hoosiers have shown flashes, but will need more consistency throughout their lineup if they want to end their four game skid.
While the Scarlet Knights are coming off of one of their best outings this season, the Hoosiers have more than enough talent that they should find a way to win tonight. And if they can cool down Corey Sanders, then tonight has the chance of being a relatively easy victory for Indiana.
- Pick Against the Spread: Indiana