Rutgers at Indiana Preview and Pick – 1/24/21

Spread: Indiana -3; Total: 135
January 24th, 2021. 11 AM CT. Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana

With NFL conference championship weekend upon us with nonstop football all afternoon; let’s spend Sunday brunch with a little college hardwood action as the Indiana Hoosiers take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Indiana Hoosiers (9-6, 4-4)

Indiana has been a tough team to figure out all year. This team lost at home to Northwestern, and narrowly escaped with wins over Penn State and Nebraska, is the same team that has gone toe to toe with some very good top 25 basketball teams: namely at FSU, at Wisconsin, and most recently a very impressive double digit road win at Carver Hawkeye arena over Iowa. That win really woke some people up to what IU has potential to do. Yes, Iowa had an extremely poor shooting night (shot only 38.1% from the field including only 21% from deep), but give credit to the Hoosiers defense as they are sneakily one of the best defensive teams in the country. In fact, Ken Pom ranks Indiana’s defense as the 18th best in the country. The Hoosiers offense is what normally holds them back. Thankfully, they are led by likely all Big 10 team candidate Trayce Jackson Davis, who usually puts the offense on his back.. He is the heart and soul of this team and he leads the Hoosiers with 20.6 PPG and 8.8 RPG. 

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-6, 3-6)

What has happened to the Scarlet Knights? A month ago they were a top 15 team, climbing as high as #11 in the country, but since a last game of December win over Purdue, Rutgers has dropped 6 straight games including a most recent 8 point loss to a previously winless Penn State team in conference play. Yikes. So what has happened to Rutgers? Inside this losing streak, the first 5 of these games were all losses to ranked teams (if you include Ohio State who is now ranked). Also their impressive offense early in the season, has all but disappeared. Since going toe to toe with Iowa with 75 points to start the losing streak, Rutgers has not scored more than 68 points in their last 5 losses. The Scarlet Knights are led by upper class men Ron Harper Jr and Jacob Young, who lead the team with 18.6 and 15.2 points per game respectively.

Prediction

This game will come down to Indiana’s defense vs Rutgers offense. In games where the Rutgers offense has scored less than 68 points, The Scarlet Knights are 0-5. In games that Indiana’s defense has held opponents to less than 63 points, the Hoosiers are 6-0. For Indiana’s mediocre record, they are very good ATS. This year, IU is 10-5 overall ATS including 4-1 in their last 5 games and 7-3 overall as a favorite. Conversely Rutgers has failed to cover in 4 out of their last 5 games on this losing streak and they sport a 1-3 record ATS overall on the road. I think the under is a good bet here, but the best bet for me is for the Hoosiers to cover. Take Indiana -3.

Matthew’s college basketball record 2020: 6-3

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