There are a pair of games tonight, tipping off early this evening with Rutgers and Indiana on the Big Ten Network.
Game of the Night
#24 Rutgers Scarlet Knights at #18 Indiana Hoosiers
- Time/TV: 6:30 PM ET BTN
The first game tonight sees a showdown between two top 25 teams. Rutgers enters the game on a two game winning streak and needs a win to keep pace with a Purdue team they trail by 2.5 games. Indiana enters on a win over Purdue and needs to keep winning thanks to the six way tie they’re currently in for third place. Rutgers is only a game ahead of that logjam so a win for Rutgers would also be much preferred.
Since mid-December Rutgers has gone 10-3 with two of those losses being against Iowa. Throughout the rest of those games Rutgers has only given up more than 64 points once and has been thriving on the defensive side of the ball. When these teams played earlier in the season Rutgers held the Hoosiers to 48 points.
Indiana has picked things up over the past month and a lot of that is thanks to the success of Trayce Jackson-Davis. Indiana will need another big performance from him tonight, especially after Rutgers shut him down last time out. Rutgers has the second most efficient defense per KenPom and just shut down the Spartans last time out.
One thing of note is the potential of a letdown game for the Hoosiers after a big emotional win over their rival. If that offense stutters at all against Rutgers it could be a long night. With the Scarlet Knights having a meddling offense the Hoosiers will be in the game regardless of what happens, but Rutgers takes advantage of an Indiana team coming back down to earth and gets a big win to solidify their spot at second in the conference.
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET ESPN2
- Line: Michigan State -2.5
In the late game tonight two teams vying for a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament will square off. Maryland is currently sitting at 7-5, putting them in a six way tie for third place. Just one game behind that logjam is Michigan State at 6-6.
Both teams have been trending in different directions, with Maryland going 4-0 over the past couple weeks. The Spartans are 1-3, though those losses have came on the road against Indiana, Purdue and Rutgers. Tonight’s game is a much needed return to home for State.
Maryland has the more efficient of the two offenses, led by guard Jahmir Young’s 16 points per game, though the Terps are a dreadful perimeter shooting team. Michigan State shoots about the same from the field, though they’re a better three point shooting team. Each team also runs a slow tempo, putting a lot of emphasis tonight on eliminating turnovers and hitting free throws when they get to the line.
The Terps have looked good as of late, but Michigan State is a tough out at home. They need some more consistent production from their playmakers, but the Spartans should find just enough offense at home to take care of business.
Pick: Michigan State
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Illinois Fighting Illini
The third game tonight involving Minnesota and Illinois was postponed earlier this week due to COVID-19.
Tomorrow's home game against Minnesota will not be played due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols within the Minnesota program.— Illinois Men's Basketball (@IlliniMBB) February 6, 2023
The two schools will work with the Big Ten on possible rescheduling options.
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