The Big Ten only has two games on Wednesday, but both carry significance for the league and postseason. Indiana travels to face Penn State in the early game and Northwestern hosts Rutgers later on.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Penn State by 1
Despite fast starts to the season, Indiana and Penn State enter Wednesday night’s matchup reeling. The Hoosiers have lost five of the team’s last eight games and the Nittany Lions are coming off tough losses to Michigan and Purdue. Those struggles should add plenty of desperation to the air when the two teams meet.
On the court, much of the focus will be on the frontcourt where Penn State will try and slow down Trayce Jackson-Davis down low. The Hoosiers are also expected to be without forward Race Thompson, who’s played really well so far this season. As such, it should be a major opportunity for Seth Lundy and Kebba Njie to hold their own. If they do, Penn State should be in great shape to come away with a win.
Indiana’s challenge in slowing down Jalen Pickett will also be significant. He’s been on an absolute tear this season and is expected to match up with Jalen Hood-Schifino on Wednesday night. It’s a chance for the Indiana freshman to prove himself against one of the nation’s most productive players.
All told, this figures to be a competitive game. However, Penn State seems like the more complete team right now, particularly given Indiana’s injury issues. As such, this is a game where the Nittany Lions should be able to take care of business.
- Pick: Penn State
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Northwestern Wildcats
- Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Rutgers by 1
Unlike the game above, these two teams enter with plenty of momentum. Rutgers is coming off a solid week of play, where the team knocked off Purdue and Maryland and Northwestern is coming off wins over Illinois and Indiana. It should add plenty of energy to this one, as fans enjoy two of the (quietly) more productive teams in the league face off.
By all accounts, this is expected to be a defensive battle. Both teams rank among the top 10 nationally in defensive efficiency, including Rutgers who presently sits at third in the metric. And it isn’t a single player on either side. These are complete defensive units where the starters play well with one another.
The other key for this matchup is going to be from outside. Both sides are going to struggle to score, so the easiest way to rectify that is getting hot from deep. Unfortunately, both sides have been horrid from three-point range this season. It’ll be up to players like Cam Spencer and Boo Buie to try and change that. It still seems like the key to victory.
Overall, this feels like a game Rutgers is designed to win. The Scarlet Knights love to play this style of basketball and fans should expect them to thrive.
- Pick: Rutgers
Picks Record: 64-23-0