Nebraska vs Rutgers Preview & Free Pick [2/14/2023]

Nebraska (12-14) at Rutgers (16-9)
When: Tuesday, February 14th 2023
Where: Jersey Mike’s Arena,
Piscataway, NJ
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: BTN
Opening Odds: Rutgers -12.5/128.5

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Eight teams in the Big Ten Conference are either 9-5 or 8-6 entering Monday’s action. Purdue easily leads the conference at 12-3, but those next eight teams are vying for a top four finish in order to get a double-bye in next month’s conference tournament. One of those teams – the Rutgers Scarlet Knights – are in action Tuesday night when they host the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Piscataway, NJ. Rutgers didn’t fare too well last week after entering the A.P. rankings at No. 24. They promptly went on the road and dropped a pair of contests to Indiana and Illinois to fall back out of the poll. Offense has been an issue for the Scarlet Knights and they managed just 60 points in each of those two losses to fall to 2-6 away from home.

The Knights are a solid 13-2 at home and will face a Nebraska team that is just 2-9 away from home this season. The Cornhuskers dropped six of seven games before rebounding recently to win two of their last three. Saturday’s contest against Wisconsin was an instant classic, as they rallied from 17 points down in the second half to win 73-63 in overtime. That came on the heels of a 21-point blowout loss at Michigan on Feb. 8. Nebraska is near the bottom of the Big Ten in most league defensive categories, including scoring, in which they allow almost 70 points a game. Nebraska has covered three of the last four meetings including last January – a 63-61 Rutgers win as 3-point favorites.

Big man Derrick Walker and guard Keisei Tominaga led the Cornhuskers with 18 and 22 points respectively versus the Badgers on Saturday. Nebraska has been without wing Juwan Gary and guard Emmanuel Bandoumel for six games. They have seen former starter Blaise Keita get back to his old self, playing 23 minutes off the bench against the Badgers and pulling down 11 rebounds. Tominaga has scored 76 points over the past three games behind 14-for-29 shooting from 3-point range. Tominaga is second on the team in scoring with 12 points per game, while Walker leads the Cornhuskers with 13.5 points and 7.4 rebounds. The Nebraska defense allows 98.3 points per 100 possessions adjusted – top 60 in the nation.

Like we mentioned above, Rutgers has been much better at home this season. They have home wins against Purdue, Maryland and Michigan State, while going 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games at home. Rutgers will be playing its third game since losing 6-foot-7 junior forward Mawot Mag to a season-ending injury. Mag was averaging 7.8 points and 5.3 rebounds a game, while averaging 24 minutes a contest. The Knights lead the Big Ten in scoring and field-goal defense, allowing 63.1 points on 40.3 percent shooting in conference games. Clifford Omoruyi leads the team in scoring (13.5) and rebounding (9.8), while Cam Spencer adds 12.4 points per game.

The home/road splits for these two teams are night and day. 12.5 is a lot of points to lay, but I’m going to do it. Rutgers defense will shutdown a very poor Nebraska offense and roll to victory.

Pick: Rutgers -12.5

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