Big Ten fans are in for a Top 25 matchup when the No. 14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-2, 3-2 Big 10) battle the No. 17 Michigan State Spartans (7-3, 1-3 Big 10) on Tuesday night. The two schools are coming off a short turnaround after both playing on Saturday afternoon.
Michigan State owns a 10-0 all-time record against Rutgers, including 9-0 in conference play. The top 25 showdown tips off at 9 P.M. Eastern inside the Breslin Center in East Lansing, MI.
Michigan State is a 1.5-point favorite on the road in the Big Ten showdown, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers played only a four-game non-conference slate to start the season, highlighted by a 10-point victory over Syracuse. After rolling through the shortened non-conference schedule, Rutgers took care of business in their first two conference contests, climbing to No. 11 in the AP Top 25. Since the 6-0 start, the Scarlet Knights have dropped two of their last three conference games, including a narrow 77-75 loss to Iowa at home on Saturday.
The Scarlet Knights average 80 points per game, behind 49-percent shooting from the floor and 39.3-percent from beyond the arc. Leading the way is guard Ron Harper Jr. H averages 22.1 points per game, bolstered by a 48.3-percent clip from three.
Starting guards Jacob Young (15.7 ppg) and Montez Mathis (15.3 ppg) added balance to the Rutgers offense. In Saturday’s loss to the Hawkeyes, the Scarlet Knights’ starting five all scored in double figures for the first time in 11 years.
On defense, the Scarlet Knights allow 71.6 points per game on 42.3-percent shooting from the field and 30.8-percent from the three-point line.
What to Know – Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State lost its first three conference games to start the season for the first time in 19 years. The Spartans broke the losing stretch in an 84-77 victory on Nebraska’s road on Saturday. Part of the struggles early on could be because MSU began conference play with three of their first four conference games away from East Lansing.
Aaron Henry (13.4 points per game) and Joey Hauser (12.3 points per game) pace a Spartans offense that averages 79 points per game. The Spartans shoot 45.1-percent from the floor and 34.9-percent from beyond the arc.
Rocket Watts (9.8 ppg) came off the bench to chip in nine points against the Cornhuskers, logging his lowest time on the floor (14 minutes) this season. Watts was an All-Big Ten Freshman selection last season and has started seven of MSU’s ten games this season.
MSU’s opponents shoot 46.3-percent from the field and 35.6-percent from the 3-point line to average 75.6 points per game.
The Pick is In
In the always wild Big Ten conference picking these games are never easy on any given night. From top to bottom, the Big Ten is one of the deepest conferences in the nation.
Rutgers has played superb basketball to start the season, while the Spartans have struggled to come together as a team. History is on Michigan State’s side in this one, but with no fans, we give the edge in this matchup to the Scarlet Knights.
The Pick – Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+1.5).