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1/14 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Michigan State Set to Host Rutgers

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

There’s an early afternoon doubleheader today on BTN before the NFL playoff games kick off. Let’s take a look at the upcoming action.

Game of the Day

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan State Spartans

With both teams today only having one win in conference play it’s safe to say both teams desperately need a win today. Michigan State has been in a weird spot where they’ve been disappointing this year but their losses have basically came exclusively to quality opponents. They of course will still need to start consistently winning games to clean up their resume as we get closer to March.

Rutgers resume is a bit all over the place, with a handful of not particularly great losses and no major resume defining wins. The Scarlet Knights are hoping that their win at home against Indiana earlier in the week might kickstart some positive momentum. They’ll need it with the next two weeks including games against Nebraska, Illinois and Purdue.

A metric that perfectly sums up Rutgers is the KenPom Adjusted Efficiency ratings. Defensively the Scarlet Knights rank seventh...offensively they rank 243rd. The offense is now set to face a top 25 Sparty defense that also has a much, much better offensive unit.

The Illini loss was considerably closer than some people expected. Michigan State is coming off of back-to-back losses but both came on the road and most teams in the league have struggled winning on the road. The Spartans offensively are fine and it’s hard to see a defensive lapse like they had against Northwestern considering the offensive deficiencies Rutgers has.

Tom Izzo and the Spartans get back in the win column today.

Pick: Michigan State

The Rest

Maryland Terrapins at #10 Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: 2:00 PM ET BTN
  • Line: Illinois -8.5

The Illini look to avoid being another top ten team upset this week with a game on their home court against Maryland. The Illini bounced back from a loss against Purdue with a narrower than expected win over Michigan State.

Maryland came back in the second half of their last game against Michigan to pick up a much needed win. They managed that in part to Donta Scott, who hit 4 of 7 threes on his way to a team high 22 points. They’ll need more of that to go alongside leading score Jahmir Young as the rest of the offense has been pretty awful so far this season. Maryland doesn’t score particularly well and they’ve had a rough time shooting from three. That doesn’t bode well heading into a road matchup against an Illini team that has an explosive offense.

This week has been full of upsets, but most of those have taken place on the road. The Illini are at home and Maryland’s offense is in no position to pull off the upset.

Pick: Illinois