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3/1 Big Ten Preview: March Is Here

Nebraska hosts Rutgers in the lone game tonight.

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

It’s finally March. There’s only one game tonight, with Nebraska set to host Rutgers on BTN.

Game of the Night

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET BTN

Nebraska picked up their second conference win of the season this weekend when they knocked off Minnesota. That win could have major implications as it likely knocked Minnesota out of the tournament and could be the final blow for the Gophers. Now Nebraska will look to play spoiler once again, this time against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are hovering around an eight or nine seed, so a loss here won’t be as detrimental. But if Rutgers were to lose here, fall at Minnesota in the season finale and then get bounced early in the Big Ten Tournament? That could cause problems.

This is the first outing between these two teams this season. Rutgers picked up a much needed win against Indiana last week, a nice response to a 1-3 skid and placed themselves firmly ahead of the Hoosiers. Interestingly enough the Scarlet Knights resume is mainly sitting back in December, where they picked up wins versus Maryland, Illinois and Purdue. They’ve gone 6-8 in 2021, with their best wins coming against Indiana, Michigan State and Minnesota...all teams that could be on the outside looking in. While Rutgers resume is solid now, they need to avoid an upset here tonight.

Nebraska had one of their best offensive performances in their win against Minnesota, shooting 54.5% from the field and 52.9% from three (still only 56.3% from the line, though). It was an interesting rotation as well, with Teddy Allen playing only ten minutes and not scoring any points. For a Nebraska team that struggles to find offense the Cornhuskers will need Allen to get things back up and running if they want to win a second game in a row.

In the win over Indiana the Scarlet Knights relied on the hot hand of Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker, who hit 10 of 18 from deep and scored 40 points. The rest of the team, however, shot 1 of 10 from three. The Scarlet Knights aren’t a particularly great shooting team from outside so they typically play better when guys like Harper or Baker can pop off.

Nebraska has looked a lot better as of late, but the offense is still incredibly sloppy. Rutgers hasn’t always fared well down the stretch, though, and teams have struggled at Nebraska at times over the years. The Cornhuskers could ride the hot hand for another massive upset, but the Scarlet Knights are disciplined and experienced enough that you have to think they’ll come out fully prepared. It could be closer than expected, but Rutgers should find a way to do what Minnesota could not.

Pick: Rutgers