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1/15 Big Ten Preview: OSU at Rutgers

Preview all of Sunday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has three games on the docket, highlighted by a showdown between Ohio State and Rutgers in New Jersey. Fans will also get to watch Michigan and Northwestern in the early game and Maryland at Iowa in the late game.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-Ohio State Buckeyes at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 2:15PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Rutgers by 4

Approximately five weeks ago, Rutgers headed to Columbus for one of the more intriguing matchups of December in the Big Ten. The game ended in controversial fashion, with Ohio State winning on a botched call from the refs. At the time, the win pushed Ohio State to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play, while the loss gave Rutgers a 1-3 record against quality opponents to that point.

However, fast forward five weeks and things are starkly different.

While Rutgers has been rolling in recent weeks, winning six of the team’s last seven games, Ohio State has slipped. The Buckeyes have lost three straight, with the lowlight taking place on Thursday as the team suffered a massive upset loss to Minnesota. The question will be whether Ohio State can turn the tide on Sunday.

On the court, these teams are also drastically different. While Ohio State is led by a dominant offense, Rutgers relies on defense to get the job done. It figures to be a battle of heavyweights on that side of the ball. The question will be who wins on the other side of the court, as each is relatively underwhelming on the other side. It sets up a key opportunity.

The matchup to watch will be on the wing where Justice Sueing and Brice Sensabaugh face off against Paul Mulcahy and Mawot Mag. Ohio State seems to have an advantage, but can the Scarlet Knights slow things down enough to grab the win? It seems likely, especially with the game taking place in New Jersey.

  • Pick: Rutgers

The Rest:

-Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan Wolverines

  • Time/TV: 12:00PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan by 3

This figures to be a pretty even game, as both teams have shown some potential, but haven’t quite put everything together yet. Northwestern has been the more reliable unit to date. However, Michigan has looked fantastic, when it’s playing well. The question is whether the “good Michigan” team shows up on Sunday.

The matchup to watch in this one will be down low, as the Wildcats do their best to slow down star big man Hunter Dickinson. The junior center entered the season with plenty of hype, but has suffered some hiccups in key matchups over the last month. It will be up to Matthew Nicholson and Tydus Verhoeven to get the job done. This game could go either way and will likely swing on a few key plays down the stretch.

  • Pick: Northwestern

-Maryland Terrapins at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 4:30PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Iowa by 3

We talked about inconsistency for the game above, but it certainly applies here. If you took a group of people and had them watch a random assortment of Maryland and Iowa games this season, you’d have a group of people with widely divergent thoughts about each team’s potential. That’s because both have seen the heights and lows of the sport over the last three months. And that makes Sunday’s matchup between the two particularly intriguing. It’s a chance for both to score a key win.

Stylistically, the teams play much differently. While Iowa is an unbalanced outfit relying on lofty offensive potential, Maryland is a balanced unit with respectable offensive and defensive outputs. The teams also play with a vastly different pace, as Iowa tries to push things and Maryland prefers to slow things down. The challenge for the Terps will be holding Iowa’s offense in check, or at least slowing it down a decent amount. Do that and a win is well within reach. However, this feels like another Iowa win.

  • Pick: Iowa


Picks Record: 69-23-0