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1/11 Big Ten Preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Penn State Nittany Lions

Preview Tuesday’s Big Ten action.

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

Despite the Purdue at Michigan cancellation, there are still two great games on tonight. Rutgers heads to Penn State and Illinois is in Lincoln to take on Nebraska.

Let’s take a look at the games.

Game of the Day:

-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 5-5 (3-1) at Penn State Nittany Lions 7-6 (2-3)

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
  • ESPN Power Index Predictor: Penn State has 54 percent odds to win

Rutgers visits Happy Valley tonight hoping to leave with a fifth straight win, while Penn State is looking to build on a close home loss to Purdue. The Nittany Lions are favored as the home team, but this one should be a tight game.

On the Rutgers side, Ron Harper Jr. is coming off a monster performance against Nebraska when he led the team in scoring with 29 points. Harper leads the team in scoring this season with 16.3 points per game, and he also averages 7.1 rebounds per game. Geo Baker averages 11.9 points and 4.4 assists per game, while Clifford Omoruyi averages 11.3 ppg and leads the team on the glass with 7.2 rpg. Of note is that Mawot Mag is questionable to play.

On the Penn State side of things, Seth Lundy leads the team with 14.5 points per game. Jalen Pickett averages 13.3 ppg and Sam Sessoms averages 11.7 ppg, while Harrar rounds out players averaging double figures in scoring by averaging a double double with 10.7 ppg and 10.3 rpg. Pickett led PSU in scoring against Purdue with 21 points, also notching a double double in the game with 10 assists.

It would not be surprising to see either time win this one. Rutgers is riding a big win streak and is proving to be a tough team game in and game out. Penn State is also coming off a competitive game against Purdue and has home court advantage.

Penn State is 5-0 this season when scoring at least 74 points, while Rutgers has lost four road games this season that saw opponents average 80.3 ppg. If the Scarlet Knights defense can show strong in this one then RU may just leave with the road win.

  • Pick: Penn State

The Rest:

-Illinois Fighting Illini 11-3 (4-0) at Nebraska Cornhuskers 6-10 (0-5)

  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
  • ESPN Pick Center Spread: Illinois -13.5

The newly ranked No. 25/24 Fighting Illini hit the road to take on the Huskers tonight in Lincoln. The last time that happened, Nebraska too Illinois to overtime on Feb. 12, 2021 before falling short in extra time 77-72. However, that seems less likely in this one as Illinois has overcome early injury and suspension problems with its roster and is hitting full stride of late. The Illini feature four players averaging double figures, led by Kofi Cockburn’s 22.5 ppg and 12.5 rpg.

Nebraska, on the other hand, is coming off three straight losses, the most recent an utter beatdown of 28 points at Rutgers. Cockburn will likely have a field day down low as Nebraska lacks any big man to go up against him. If the huskers try to pull down the double team on him then his guards will light it up from the outside. This one is likely to end more or less with a similar scoreboard margin to how it went at Rutgers.

  • Pick: Illinois