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2/24 Big Ten Preview: Rutgers Hosts Indiana

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There is only one game tonight with Rutgers set to host Indiana.

Game of the Night

Indiana Hoosiers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET BTN

Tonight’s lone game is a big one for two teams vying for the NCAA Tournament. While Rutgers is still more or less in the tournament right now, a 1-3 stretch has them sitting at 12-9 (8-9). They would still need to play themselves out of the postseason, though.

On the other side is an Indiana team that has firmly been on the bubble for awhile. And every time they do something to seemingly get off the bubble (like sweeping Iowa), they follow with an inexplicable loss and end up right back on the bubble. While Indiana saved face and avoided a dreadful loss to Northwestern, they couldn’t do the same this past weekend when they lost at home to Michigan State.

The Hoosiers now sit at 12-10 (7-8) and are one of the last four teams in according to ESPN’s Bubble Watch. This is where things get dicey for the Hoosiers. As of right now they have tonight’s game, Michigan and a pair of road trips to Michigan State and Purdue. They also have a potential road trip to Michigan that might not be made up. This means that outside of maybe Michigan State, the Hoosiers won’t have any chance for more bad losses during the regular season. The problem is the remaining schedule is not easy and if Indiana can’t pick up a few wins they’re going to end up on the wrong side of the bubble. The one benefit is there are plenty of opportunities to finally find a definitive win to get them into the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Archie Miller.

Last time out the Hoosiers spoiled a fantastic performance from Trayce Jackson-Davis, who scored 34 points and added 9 rebounds. The team, however, struggled elsewhere, hit 21.1% of their three pointers, only 70.8% from the line and couldn’t stop Aaron Henry. They’ll now face a Rutgers team that is trying to bounce back from close losses to Michigan and Maryland. Rutgers hasn’t scored more than 66 points in any of the past four games and has struggled offensively, but they have a strong defense. And while it’ll be hard to slow down Jackson-Davis, if the Scarlet Knights can lock down the Hoosiers on the perimeter they should be fine. Last time these two played the Hoosiers actually shot 62.5% from three and Rutgers still managed to win 74-70 in Bloomington.

Can Indiana pick up a much needed win to add to their resume? Or will Rutgers bounce back and probably seal the deal for a tourney appearance? With the game set to take place in Jersey look for another Rutgers win as Indiana fails to take advantage of another prime opportunity to play their way into the postseason.

Pick: Rutgers