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2/26 Big Ten Preview: Wisconsin at Rutgers, Purdue at Michigan State

Preview Saturday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The second to last Saturday of the Big Ten regular season has arrived and with it comes two big games on the day.

Let’s take a look at the games.

Game of the Day:

-No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (22-5, 13-4) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (16-11, 10-7)

  • Time/TV: 6:00 PM EST (Big Ten Network)
  • TallySight Spread: Rutgers -1.5

The Badgers have work to do this evening if the team hopes to stay in the race for a share of the Big Ten title as Wisconsin sits tied at the top with Purdue heading into today’s game. Rutgers, meanwhile, is hoping for yet another win over a ranked opponent on its home court. The Scarlet Knights overall are 13-2 at home while Wisconsin is 5-0 in one-possession games. Rutgers also won the last matchup between these teams on Feb. 12 in Madison in a 73-65 victory.

The last time out for these teams, Ron Harper, Jr. lit it up for the Scarlet Knights with 21 points with Paul Mulcahy adding 18, Geo Baker 16, and Clifford Omoruyi 10. Just three Badgers hit double figures by comparison, but Tyler Wahl led both teams with 23 points.

On the Scarlet Knights side, Harper is shooting 39.3 percent from three-point range with 2.0 made three-pointers per game, while averaging 15.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. Geo Baker is adding 8.5 points per game over the past 10 games for Rutgers as well. The Scarlet Knights are averaging 63.9 points per game while holding opponents to 68.2. Rutgers went 7-for-12 from downtown against Wisconsin last time out as well.

For Wisconsin, Jonathan Davis is scoring 20.6 points per game and adding 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Brad Davison adds 8.5 points per game over the last 10 games for the Badgers. Wisconsin’s offense is averaging just 68.5 points per game but is holding opponents to 67.4 points. The Badgers are averaging just 43.5 percent from the field this season, but managed 47.3 percent against Rutgers. An abysmal 4-for-19 from three-point range resulted in just 21.1 percent shooting last time out.

Rutgers defense may be tough and the team may have home court advantage in this one, but the Wisconsin offense was uncharacteristically bad last time out as well. Hardly an elite scoring team, the Badgers were shooting well below the season average from deep. Flip the script to just average shooting and this game could easily go into overtime.

  • Pick: Rutgers

The Rest:

-No. 4 Purdue Boilermakers (24-4, 13-4) at Michigan State Spartans (18-9, 9-7)

  • Time/TV: Noon PM EST (ESPN)
  • TallySight Spread: Purdue -4

Michigan State was in the race for the Big Ten title just a few short weeks ago and has fallen quite hard since. Purdue found itself in a hole early but has gotten awful close to clinching yet another Big Ten regular season title with a crucial win in East Lansing needed to stay at the top with two games left afterwards.

The Spartans won’t have an answer for Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey, or Trevion Williams in this one. MSU has struggled to score higher than the 60s over the last several weeks though the team does still rank third in the league in assists with 16.0 apg. Purdue, meanwhile, is second in the Big Ten in points in the paint with 36.4 ppg while scoring 77.2 ppg overall. The Boilermakers should have no problem in this one as it seems a tough matchup for Michigan State’s roster.

  • Pick: Purdue