The Rutgers Scarlet Knights take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. Check out our college basketball odds series for our Rutgers Penn State prediction and pick. Find out how to watch Rutgers Penn State.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are on the middle of the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. The general consensus on the Nittany Lions entering this Sunday game is that they are one of the first four teams out of the field. They definitely need to win this game to improve their chances, and they will just as definitely need to win multiple additional games — at least two — to have a realistic chance of making the field of 68. The margins are small for a PSU team which lost several games in a row earlier in the season and is part of a very muddled and cluttered middle grouping in a parity-filled Big Ten Conference. The Big Ten has two really good teams, Purdue and Indiana, and then a lot of moderately good teams. Penn State therefore will derive value from beating multiple Big Ten teams. An individual victory certainly carries some value, but it won’t be transformative. PSU has to stack wins, and beating Rutgers will be part of that process.
We also have to mention that Rutgers’ value as a quality win for Penn State has decreased. The Scarlet Knights’ metrics have fallen in recent weeks due to home-court losses against Nebraska and Michigan.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Rutgers-Penn State College Basketball odds.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights: +2.5 (-102)
Penn State Nittany Lions: -2.5 (-120)
Over: 132.5 (-110)
Under: 132.5 (-110)
TV: Big Ten Network
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Stream: Fox Sports app
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. PT
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This team has stumbled recently, but when Rutgers does stumble, it usually bounces back. Consider the loss at home to Nebraska a few weeks ago, when the Scarlet Knights were playing their worst basketball of the whole year. They were able to regroup and win on the road against Wisconsin a few days later. That’s the toughness head coach Steve Pikiell has instilled into this team. It’s precisely the kind of toughness which will enable Rutgers to go on the road in the Big Ten and win a tough game against a Penn State team which is trying to play its way into the NCAA Tournament. Rutgers will not back down on defense and can turn this game into a grinder, whereas Penn State — which runs crisp and creative offensive sets — wants a more free-flowing offensive game.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights just haven’t been a good team of late. We mentioned the home-court loss to Nebraska, which was rock bottom for this team. Yes, Rutgers regrouped to win at Wisconsin, but then the Scarlet Knights came crashing back down to earth once again in another home-court loss to Michigan this past week. Rutgers is losing to teams not currently in the NCAA Tournament field, though Michigan is trying to play its way into the field and still has a chance. The broader view is that Rutgers just isn’t getting nearly enough offense right now. Penn State should be able to contain the Scarlet Knights and thrive at home.
Penn State is aware that this Sunday showdown is quite significant for its NCAA Tournament odds. The Nittany Lions will be energized and should bring the level of intensity they need in order to win.
Stay away from this game, but if you absolutely insist on a pick, lean to Penn State.
Final Rutgers-Penn State Prediction & Pick: Penn State -2.5
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