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12/23 Big Ten Preview: Indiana and Rutgers Play

Preview all of Friday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Elon University at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten had three games scheduled for Friday, though one was cancelled due to the weather storm gripping most of the nation. Indiana and Rutgers are still set to play, both hosting underwhelming opponents at home.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-Bucknell Bison at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 5:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Rutgers by 19

After nearly a week off, Rutgers will return to action on Friday afternoon as the Scarlet Knights host Bucknell at home. While the spread makes things look relatively one-sided, the outing offers Rutgers a good chance to build momentum and work on the team’s offense as it prepares to move into conference play.

On the court, the biggest challenge for Rutgers will be slowing down Bucknell’s perimeter game. The Bison rank 25th nationally in three-point percentage and are generally a good shooting team across the board. Bucknell’s frontcourt leads the way with Alex Timmerman and Andre Screen. The team also has a handful of productive three-point shooters, including Xander Rice in the backcourt.

The good news for Scarlet Knight fans should come on the other end of the court, where Bucknell puts forward one of the worst defensive outfits in the country. If there’s a chance for Rutgers to get its offense right and build confidence, this is it. The Bison rank 287th nationally in defensive efficiency and the team routinely gets shredded from deep. This is a good chance for Paul Mulcahy and freshman Derek Simpson to get things rolling.

All told, Bucknell has enough to keep this interesting for segments. However, Rutgers should have more than enough firepower to escape with a win.

  • Pick: Rutgers

The Rest:

-Kennesaw State Owls at No. 18 Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Indiana by 19

The Hoosiers also enter this game coming off a win, as Indiana knocked off Elon at home on Tuesday night. The big story in that one was the absence of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Xavier Johnson. The two Hoosier stars sat out with injury concerns. Jackson-Davis’ injury situation is expected to be short-term, while Johnson’s could cost him most of the season.

Given the roster situation, Hoosier fans will hope Indiana can use Friday’s game to work on building depth and getting young players experience. Three underclassmen started in Tuesday’s game and it wouldn’t be shocking to see something similar in Friday’s game as well as it’s still unclear if Jackson-Davis will play in this one. As such, it should be a big opportunity for Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau to make an impact.

On the other side, Kennesaw State enters the game ranked 214th nationally on KenPom. The only thing the team does particularly well is score from deep as the Owls rank 14th nationally in three-point percentage. However, the team’s offense is pretty putrid elsewhere, so Indiana should be able to slow things down pretty well.

  • Pick: Indiana


Picks Record: 56-18-0