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2/10 Big Ten Preview: BTN Tripleheader

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a tripleheader tonight set to tip off on BTN at 5:30 PM ET.

Game of the Night

#25 Rutgers Scarlet Knights at #15 Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 7:30 PM ET BTN

Another strong start for the Hawkeyes has gave a way to a major slump during the back end of the season. Now Iowa has gone 1-4 their last five games, including a pair of losses to Indiana. They now get a home game against a Rutgers team that has climbed back into the top 25 after four wins in a row.

The Hawkeyes have seen their explosive offense stall a few times as of late, most notably in their two losses to Indiana. To make matters worse they’ve struggled from the line at times, hitting 50% of their free throws in a five point loss to Illinois and then shooting 64.7% from the line in a four point loss to Ohio State.

Rutgers brings a dynamic arsenal of guards to the mix, highlighted by Ron Harper Jr.’s 16.8 points and 6 rebounds per game. Fortunately for the Hawkeyes, though, the Scarlet Knights aren’t a prolific three point shooting team. That is important as Iowa’s roster is loaded with shooters and if they can manage to hit from three it’ll put pressure on Rutgers to find a way to keep pace with the Hawkeyes. Worst case scenario the Hawkeyes can just feed Luka Garza, who is averaging 25.5 points per game and is also shooting 45% from three.

A slumping Iowa and a surging Rutgers could be the recipe for an upset, but with this game taking place in Iowa it’s hard to see Rutgers extending their winning streak to five games. They should be able to keep it somewhat close, but Iowa should get the W tonight.

Pick: Iowa

The Rest

Indiana Hoosiers at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Time/TV: 5:30 PM ET BTN

In the first game tonight the Hoosiers will look to avenge a home loss to Northwestern around Christmas. At 10-8 the Hoosiers are leaning heavily on a pair of Iowa wins to hold up their postseason resume and a loss to Northwestern would prove detrimental. Especially a schedule that includes road trips to Ohio State, Rutgers and Purdue, as well as home games against Minnesota, Michigan State and Michigan to close the season. Tonight’s road trip to Evanston will likely be the easiest game on dock over the next month for Archie Miller’s squad.

Northwestern started off 3-0 in conference play but have lost their last nine. They managed to keep things close the last two weeks against Penn State, Rutgers and Purdue, starting to get back to more competitive basketball. Surprisingly, the Wildcats have won three straight home games against Indiana, with the Hoosiers not winning in Evanston since 2014.

The Hoosiers have squandered another strong season from Trayce Jackson-Davis thanks to inconsistent production from their backcourt. Armaan Franklin has emerged as a much needed perimeter shooter, hitting 41.7% of his threes, but the Hoosiers need more consistent production from Al Durham and Race Thompson.

While the Wildcats have looked better as of late, and the Hoosiers love to lose games following wins over ranked opponents, Indiana has enough talent that they should get past Northwestern here.

Pick: Indiana

#21 Wisconsin Badgers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 9:30 PM ET BTN

A slumping Wisconsin travels to Nebraska in the late game tonight. The Badgers were looking good a couple weeks ago when they were 6-2 in conference play but a rough 3-3 stretch, including three double digit losses, has Wisconsin almost out of the top 25. With a remaining schedule that includes Iowa twice, Michigan, Illinois and Purdue still on tap, the Badgers can not afford a loss tonight.

Nebraska hasn’t won a D1 game since the beginning of December and hasn’t won a conference game in over a year. Last time out the Cornhuskers hit 3 of 15 three pointers, struggled at the line and committed 18 turnovers. To further complicate matters they’re making up games and will likely have little time to rest down the stretch.

Wisconsin has had some issues offensively and has struggled to keep pace with opponents. Luckily for the Badgers they play a Nebraska team that struggles pretty much everywhere on offense and shouldn’t prove much of a challenge for the Badgers.

Pick: Wisconsin