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College basketball expert Mike Spector offers his best bet for the Big Ten matchup between Ohio State and Rutgers.
ANALYSIS

Rutgers vs. Ohio State Prediction: Can Rutgers Add Another Huge Home Win to Their Resume?

Just because Rutgers’ basketball arena changed its name from the RAC to Jersey Mike’s Arena does not make it any less intimidating of a place to play. The Scarlet Knights have already knocked off then-No. 1-ranked Purdue and a ranked Michigan State team in their building. Will they add No. 16 Ohio State to their latest list of casualties? Or will the Buckeyes earn a big road victory and remain even in the loss column with Purdue, Wisconsin, and Illinois in the Big Ten standings?

Here are our picks and predictions for the Big Ten battle between Ohio State and Rutgers.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Wednesday, February 9

Game Time: 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: BTN

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Rutgers vs. Ohio State Prediction

Ohio State (14-5, 7-3) has won four of its last five games, with the only loss in that span coming by three points on a buzzer-beating three by Purdue’s Jaden Ivey. That loss was their third in their last four road games, and four of their five losses this season have come away from home. E.J. Liddell will once again be the focal point of the Buckeyes offense, as he enters this game in fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 19.9 PPG. In two wins against Rutgers last year, Liddell averaged 18 points per game. The good news for Rutgers’ defense is they will not have to contend with Duane Washington this year, who torched them for 19.5 points per game in those meetings.

Rutgers (13-9, 7-5) is 11-2 at home this season and just 2-7 away from home. Therefore, it seems that the Scarlet Knights’ best chance of earning an at-large NCAA tournament berth is to keep stockpiling huge home victories over the league’s best teams. Two of Rutgers’ first three conference wins at home were by two points apiece, but they will look to build on the momentum of a 21-point rout of Michigan State last Saturday. The Scarlet Knights have gotten a huge lift from junior guard Paul Mulcahy lately, who enters this game first in the conference with 5.4 assists per game. Mulcahy had a career-high 12 assists in the win over the Spartans, which followed a career-high 31 points in the game before that against Northwestern.

Since joining the Big Ten, Rutgers is just 2-9 against Ohio State but are 2-4 against them on their home floor. However, head coach Steve Pikiell has taken this Scarlet Knights program to a new level, and his squad will aim to end a four-game losing streak in this series. 

Rutgers will look to pound Ohio State on the backboards, as the Buckeyes rank tenth in league play in offensive rebounding percentage allowed. If they can use their size advantage to get Liddell in foul trouble (he has committed four fouls in two of their last three games), that would play a significant role in pulling an upset. 

Ohio State cannot afford to look ahead to their Saturday road game against their biggest rivals, the Michigan Wolverines. Rutgers is a perfect 4-0 ATS as home underdogs and has covered six of their nine games overall as underdogs this season. Piscataway will be rocking tonight, and the Scarlet Knights are well equipped to earn a rare win over the Buckeyes.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State Pick

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Article Author

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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