Big Ten Clash: 'Over' Our NCAA Basketball Pick For Purdue & Rutgers

Willie Bee

Monday, January 18, 2016 1:41 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 1:41 PM GMT

It should be a very lopsided affair tonight in New Jersey where the NCAA basketball odds have the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 20 point underdogs against visiting Purdue.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 140.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

We saw one big upset in the Big Ten on Sunday when the Wisconsin Badgers knocked off No. 4 Michigan State in Madison. Could another upset be brewing Monday night when the Purdue Boilermakers head east to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights?

Eh, probably not, especially if the current spread is any indication of what to expect in the 7 PM (ET) tip at Louis Brown Athletic Center. The Big Ten Network will televise the clash that finds Purdue 20 point chalk. If you're inclined to play the scoreboard, we're seeing 141's across the board for the total.

It's a series that has been one-sided in very sporadic play until the teams became conference rivals in 2014. Purdue has won six of the seven all-time meetings, the first taking place in 1953 and the last two about 11 months ago. The Boilermakers won all three of those, the teams splitting on the NCAA basketball odds both spreads and totals.

Each team did cover on the road, however, Purdue as 6 point chalk in Piscataway and the Scarlet Knights as double-digit 'dogs in Indiana. The 61-51 final at RAC stayed 'under' a 125 point total, thanks in large part to the schools missing 17 free throws in a 40 foul affair.

 

Young Boilermakers Big On The Glass
Purdue (15-3 straight up, 10-4 against the spread) was sitting in the No. 24 hole of both polls last week, falling back four rungs on the ladder after dropping an 84-70 decision at Illinois as 9½ point chalk. The defeat marked the second loss for the Boilermakers in Big Ten play, and third defeat in the last seven games after beginning the season 11-0.

Matt Painter's troops did rebound from that upset to wallop Penn State in their only game this past week, completely dominating the Nittany Lions on the glass in the 74-57 triumph that had just enough to cover a 16½ point line. That was no surprise to see the Boilermakers win the rebounding battle, Purdue's 42.5 RPG among the top 10 figures in the country.

Painter has a deep squad, using 10 players in each of the last nine contests, and that should be the Boilermaker's biggest advantage against an injury-ravaged bunch of Scarlett Knights. But it's also a fairly young bunch with three of the top four scorers either freshmen or sophomores.

 

Knights Should Be Overpowered Inside
It's always going to be difficult for a program such as Rutgers (6-12 SU, 6-7 ATS) to compete on the hardwood in a conference as deep and strong as the Big Ten. And it's going to be practically impossible when the Scarlet Knights have to play with as thin of a frontcourt as Eddie Jordan's gang is right now.

Jordan's rotation started off on the wrong foot, no pun intended, when sophomore center Shaquille Doorson suffered a foot injury in preseason practice. The 7-footer has yet to make it back, and was expected to provide depth as Ibrahima Diallo's backup. Diallo hasn't played since fracturing a foot in the December 12 loss to George Washington.

The big loss was junior forward DeShawn Freeman who injured his knee about two weeks before Diallo got hurt, and Jordan is also doing without Jonathan Laurent after the freshman forward suffered a concussion in the setback at Wisconsin about two weeks ago. Laurent has missed the last three games and is questionable for tonight's matchup.

The highlight of the evening for the Knights might turn out to be the halftime performance by the Rutgers Irish Step Dancing Club. Pounding the ball inside, Purdue should be able to win this one going away, but my free NCAA basketball pick is going to be on the final sailing past the total.

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