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2/1 Big Ten Preview: Purdue Set to Host Penn State

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Purdue Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

February tips off with a double header on BTN. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.

Game of the Night

Penn State Nittany Lions at #1 Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Purdue -10.0

In the first game tonight Purdue looks to make it nine in a row with a win against Penn State. Last time out the Nittany Lions shot lights out on their way to a 22 point win over Michigan. These two teams played earlier in the year, with Purdue winning on the road by 13 points on the back of Zach Edey’s 30 points and 13 rebounds.

The last time these two teams played Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith scored 17 and 15 points respectively. That’s somewhat of note as Braden Smith has struggled the past couple of weeks and it would be key for Purdue to get him back up and running. It’ll also be interesting to see how Penn State handles Edey, who they often gave man coverage and refused to double. Their refusal to bring help led to a stretch in the second when it seemed Edey was scoring at the rim almost every possession, something Penn State needs to avoid if they want to land an upset.

Penn State’s win over Michigan was kickstarted by an explosive first half shooting from beyond the arc. If they can replicate that success it could cause problems for the Boilermakers. Luckily for Purdue fans, though, Penn State’s ability to shoot lights out from deep has been a bit hit or miss this year (even if they’ve improved from past seasons). And there’s still little reason to believe Penn State will find a way to magically stop Edey this time around.

Purdue has shown they can win even when their guards are struggling shooting the ball. Against a Penn State team that can light it up from outside they’ll need more consistent production from the backcourt. Purdue has shot the ball better as of late and Edey has been absolutely rolling through the conference. That, mixed with tonight’s game taking place at Mackey, should lead to Purdue increasing their winning streak.

Pick: Purdue

The Rest

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 8:30 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Rutgers -15.0

In the second game tonight Rutgers looks to bounce back from a 11 point road loss to Iowa. It’s been an up-and-down stretch for the Scarlet Knights most of the month, going 3-3 over their past six games. Luckily for Rutgers they have an easier start to February with a home game against a reeling Minnesota.

Minnesota has gone 1-7 the last eight games and is currently 1-9 in the conference. There’s a bit more depth on the roster this year, and both Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia have looked solid this season, but there’s a considerable talent disadvantage still on hand for Minnesota this season. That doesn’t fare well heading east to a Rutgers team that has one of the nation’s top defenses and plays considerably better at home.

Rutgers is in the running for a double bye and a loss here would prove detrimental, especially with Michigan State, Indiana and Illinois all on deck. Look for Rutgers to not overlook Minnesota and pick up their 15th win of the year.

Pick: Rutgers