In this Big East tournament opening round matchup, the Scarlet Knights find themselves in unfamiliar territory: they're the favored team.
Rutgers is currently favored by three points, with 3.5 also available at certain online sportsbooks. As for the total, it can be found at 145, with the UNDER having hit the mark in four straight encounters between these teams.
DePaul Blue Demons
2013 has been pretty much a disaster for DePaul. Since the turn of the new year, the Blue Demons have gone 2-16 SU, with their only wins coming on the road against Providence and at home versus DePaul.
Heading into the tournament with a six-game losing streak, confidence cannot be too high whatsoever for this DePaul team.
Backing the Blue Demons with your college basketball picks hasn't been working out well at all either. They've failed to cover the spread in any of those six consecutive losses and are 12-16 ATS on the year (6-7 ATS on the road).
Offensively, DePaul has done just fine, averaging 71.8 PPG this season, but they have been torched continuously on the other end of the court, giving up 75.3 PPG on 46.5 percent shooting during the regular season.
The Blue Demons are led by Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin. Young leads the team with averages of 16.8 PPG and 4.6 APG, while Melvin has been good for 16.3 PPG and 6.9 RPG.They'll be counted upon to get the offense going against a very active Rutgers D tonight.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Eli Carter going down with a season-ending leg injury was obviously a big blow for the Scarlet Knights, but they haven't rolled over and died just yet.
Much of the credit should go to Myles Mack, who's stepped up in a major way to help offset the loss of the team's leading scorer. Mack, a guard that's small in stature but not in heart, averaged 13.3 points per game during the season and had some fantastic efforts last month, including a 28-point outburst against this very same Blue Demons team.
The Big East can be very unforgiving though, which is why Rutgers still lost five of their last six regular season games.
Nonetheless, the Scarlet Knights closed out the season with a road win over Seton Hall and also kept things close with the likes of Georgetown, Marquette and Villanova, all three of which are going to be taking part in the Big Dance.
Without Carter, a huge emphasis has been placed on defense for Rutgers and that's what's been able to keep them competitive. As opposed to DePaul, who's given up 80.4 PPG over their last five, the Scarlet Knights have allowed 64.4 PPG in that span.
College Basketball Pick
The Blue Demons won the only meeting between these teams this season by a score of 75-69 and in turn cashed as 1.5-point favorites on the college basketball odds board.
Still, we have been following Rutgers closely as of late and they've been playing with a lot of heart since their star went down. Everyone else is stepping up their intensity levels and you can see this team growing for the future.
The Scarlet Knights are also the far better defensive team, and defense tends to win out over everything else in these tournament games.
Throughout the season, Rutgers has gone 9-4 ATS in 13 games outside of their home court, and we think they'll make a good account of themselves here in the opening round. With that said, we're backing the Scarlet Knights to cover the chalk against the unreliable Blue Demons.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Rutgers Scarlet Knights -3 at Bet365
Check out our NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day for two more free plays.