Thursday has a small schedule of college basketball games, but one of the Big Ten’s most important games is Rutgers heading to Columbus to take on Ohio State.
Both teams are 6-2 with Rutgers coming off a big win over Indiana. But that win came at home, where the Red Knights are a perfect 6-0 on the season. Rutgers dropped both of its games at Miami and Temple from Jersey Mike’s Arena.
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Ohio State vs. Rutgers Prediction (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): Ohio State -6 (BetMGM)
Ohio State is loaded with young talent thanks to a Top-10 recruiting class. The Buckeyes are a team with a high ceiling and are actually valued at 150/1 to win the NCAA Tournament. Like Rutgers, Ohio State’s two losses are at home to quality teams San Diego State and Duke.
Ohio State’s defense is currently average, ranking 71st in KenPom efficiency, but their strengths match Rutgers’ offensive strengths. The Scarlet Knights get most of their field goals from two-point range. However, Ohio State’s defense ranks 49th in two-point percentage defense.
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These are also two of the best offensive teams in college basketball. The difference is that Rutgers is not a defensive rebounding team. According to Haslametrics, the Buckeyes’ offense ranks fourth in second-chance conversion percentage, while Rutgers ranks 224th in second-chance defense percentage. That means OSU’s seniors have a lot of work to do cleaning up missed tackles.
This looks like a competitive game on paper, but a lot of factors point to the Buckeyes winning, and at home.
Ohio State vs. Rutgers (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) picks: Ohio State -6 (BetMGM)