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2/26 Big Ten Preview: Rutgers vs PSU

Preview Wednesday night’s action for the Big Ten.

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

The Big Ten has two games on Wednesday night and both look really intriguing. Rutgers travels to face Penn State in the early game and a feisty Minnesota squad hosts a Maryland team coming off a tough loss.

So, let’s take a look at what’s on the slate tonight.

Game of the Day:

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at No. 16 Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Penn State (-6)

This might not be your typical brand name college battle, but don’t be fooled. This is a huge game with massive consequences for the Big Ten and beyond. Both teams enter with two-game losing streaks and Rutgers is desperately searching for that last win or two to snap the Power Five’s longest steak of NCAA Tournament misses.

The location and timing would seem to favor the Nittany Lions. However, Penn State hasn’t been playing great lately and have been without Myreon Jones for the last five games. As such, this could be a big opportunity for Rutgers. And with Maryland next and Purdue on the road after that, this could very well be the Scarlet Knights’ best chance to grab a win before the Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State and Rutgers faced off once before this season, with Rutgers pulling out a narrow win at home. I would expect things to look pretty similar. There will likely be some really rough stretches and underwhelming perimeter shooting. Expect things to come down to how Lamar Stevens and Geo Baker play.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Rutgers

The Rest:

-No. 9 Maryland Terrapins at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Minnesota (-1)

While not as intriguing as the early game, this one has some sizzle in its own right. This figures to be your prototypical late season game where the conference leader goes on the road to face a desperate team and fanbase. A win here probably doesn’t change Minnesota’s season by itself, but it would certainly be a boost. For Maryland, this is an opportunity to help the team’s NCAA Tournament seeding and take a big step forward in locking up the team’s first Big Ten title.

Expect things to come down to the battle between the backcourts. Marcus Carr and Anthony Cowan should put together a fun matchup. Whoever wins there probably walks out with a win.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Minnesota

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 25-25-4