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12/3 Big Ten Preview: #10 Indiana Heads to Rutgers

Preview all of Saturday’s action.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

There’s three games in the Big Ten this afternoon with one conference game, one rivalry game and a buy game. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action set for the day.

Game of the Day

#10 Indiana Hoosiers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 4:00 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Indiana -3.0

In the only conference game of the day the Hoosiers will look to win their first Big Ten game of the season and improve to 8-0. The Hoosiers didn’t play much of anyone until this week when they knocked off a freefalling North Carolina by 12 on their home court. Their opponent is a 5-2 Rutgers team with no quality wins and losses to Temple and Miami.

Rutgers is basically the Rutgers we’ve all come to know and expect under Steve Pikiell: hard fighting team with a high end defense and an offense that ranges from so-so on a good day to flat out dreadful on a bad day. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise KenPom has them just outside the top ten defensively while out of the top 100 on the offensive side of the ball. Clifford Omoruyi is averaging 16.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game and is set for an interesting matchup with Trayce Jackson-Davis, while Cam Spencer’s 15.3 points and 43.2% shooting from three will need to play a key role if Rutgers wants to land an upset. No one else shoots particularly well from the floor and Rutgers is only hitting 43% of their field goals, 70.7% from the line and 31.7% from three. The return of senior Caleb McConnell after missing the first five games could be a huge boost for Rutgers heading forward.

Indiana is once again heavily reliant on Jackson-Davis while Xavier Johnson is averaging 12.3 points while shooting 56.3% from the field. No one else on the Hoosiers is averaging in double figures and Indiana could stand to find another player step up to take some pressure off of Jackson-Davis. They have a more talented team overall than in years past, but that continued reliance on Jackson-Davis has proven problematic when he struggles. With the big man going up against a defensively sound Omoruyi on the road whoever wins that matchup could be a key factor in determining who picks up the win. Indiana is cleaning up well inside at 55% shooting, if they can improve a touch from beyond the arc (78th in the nation) the Hoosiers offense could be one of the best in the conference.

Winning on the road in the Big Ten is hard. Winning on the road at Rutgers, even if you’re expected to win, has been somewhat difficult at times for schools from the state of Indiana. The Hoosiers are the better team overall, but look for a Hoosiers squad flying high to come back down to earth for a day and Rutgers to pick up a much needed upset.

Pick: Rutgers

The Rest

St. Francis (PA) Red Flash at #25 Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Time/TV: 12:00 PM ET BTN

In the first game of the day the 25th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will host a 2-6 St. Francis squad that is currently ranked 331st in the KenPom ratings. The Red Flash are coming off of back-to-back double digit losses to American and Bucknell and only have one win against Division I opponents.

Both of Ohio State’s losses this year have came against ranked teams, losing by 11 to San Diego State and 9 at Duke earlier in the week. Ohio State has cleaned up well against the less talented teams they’ve faced and there’s little reason to think anything different will happen today on their home court. Look for Ohio State to win big.

Pick: Ohio State

Wisconsin Badgers at Marquette Golden Eagles

  • Time/TV: 4:30 PM ET FS1
  • Line: Marquette -5.5

Wisconsin isn’t the easiest team to get a handle on so far this season as whenever you think you have an idea on what they’re going to do the Badgers naturally do the opposite. For example, after scoring only 43 points against Dayton most people didn’t have high hopes facing off against a third rank Kansas Jayhawks quad, only for Wisconsin to push Kansas to overtime and almost pick up the win. They rebounded with a solid win over USC only to unexpectedly lose to Wake Forest in their ACC/Big Ten Matchup.

The Badgers defense is one of the best in the nation but the offensive efficiency ratings for the Badgers are well outside of the top 100. That’s not a huge surprise for a team that shoots 38.2% from the field and 36.2% from three. Even more so when you realize the Badgers run a slower tempo offense that limits offensive possessions.

Marquette was a tourney team last year and their two losses include a five point road loss to Purdue (that they held a nine point lead in the second half) and a three point loss to Mississippi State. Last time out the Golden Eagles ran all over Baylor on their way to an impressive 96-70 victory. They have a balanced set of offensive and defensive efficiency ratings, ranking in at 42nd and 41st respectively. They’re not a great three point shooting team at 33.6%, but they shoot 48% from the field.

Wisconsin’s offense has been a mess and they tend to play to the level of their competition. On one hand you’d think the Badgers would be set to bounce back after losing to Wake Forest, but this Wisconsin team hasn’t exactly been predictable. With this game taking place on the road against their in-state rival Wisconsin will be at a disadvantage. Marquette finds a way to pick up another quality victory.

Pick: Marquette