Big Ten Tournament NCAA Basketball Picks: Penn State vs. Nebraska

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 1:24 PM GMT

Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015 1:24 PM GMT

The Big Ten tournament has arrived, with Penn State and Nebraska set to do battle in the first round. Let's run over the sports betting odds before coming up with our favorite sports picks.

Odds Overview
Once again we've got a tight line on our hands, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise in what's typically a balanced, deep Big Ten conference. This season has been no different, and both Penn State and Nebraska will be looking to make a splash when it matters most.

However, it's the Nittany Lions that are the favorites for this afternoon's encounter. Penn State is laying 2.5 points on the NCAA Basketball odds on the neutral court in Chicago. 

 

Nebraska Cornhuskers
Yikes. What an ugly month or so it's been for the Cornhuskers. They haven't tasted victory since the first week in February, as they've since gone on to lose eight consecutive games after a win over Northwestern on February 3rd. It has truly been a nightmare for this Nebraska team of late, so confidence levels have to be at an all-time low heading into the tournament.

That's the beauty of March, though. It doesn't really matter what you've done during the regular season. If you get hot at the right time, you can surprise a lot of people. We have seen the Cornhuskers do some good things, as they managed wins over Michigan State and Illinois among others. That being said, it's hard to ignore their recent performances, which have been awful.

It's going to be up to Terran Petteway to and Shavon Shields tarry the load for Nebraska. Petteway has easily been the team's best player, averaging 17.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG in the regular season, while Shields has been the number two option, going for 15.3 PPG and 5.9 RPG per contest. If those two get hot and play at their highest level, Nebraska would be in a great spot to move on to the next round.

Here's Another Capper's Take on Penn State vs. Nebraska

Penn State Nittany Lions
Though the Nittany Lions had their fair share of troubles to end the regular season too, they at least closed out with a win over Minnesota, on the road no less. It's a victory that could be exactly what was needed confidence-wise heading into the Big Ten tournament. The Golden Gophers are not an easy team to beat in their gym, so Penn State has to be feeling good.

The manner in which the Nittany Lions won was quite spectacular too. D.J. Newbill had a huge game and then silenced the entire crowd with a dagger three to win the game for the road team. Newbill finished with 31 points, five rebounds and four assists and two steals in the win, practically carrying the entire Penn State team on his back.

That's nothing new for Newbill though. He's averaged 20.7 points per game during the regular season and is the only Penn State player averaging in double figures. More balance would be nice, but it's at least comforting to know that the Nittany Lions can win at any given moment because they have one of the best players in the country on their team. If Newbill gets going, who knows what will happen? He's a wildcard, that's for sure.

NCAA Basketball Pick
We can't wait to see Newbill go up against the tandem of Petteway and Shields.

Ultimately though, we're more impressed with Penn State's overall body of work, and it's pretty darn difficult to discount just how badly the Cornhuskers have been playing lately. How can we put faith in a team that's dropped eight in a row? It seems like an unnecessary risk.

It's going to be a very competitive game, that much we know, but we think Penn State is the play. The Nittany Lions easily topped Nebraska in the one regular season meeting and we're anticipating a similar result this afternoon, so take them with your NCAA Basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick Penn State Nittany Lions -2.5 at BetOnline

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