Rutgers at Penn State Prediction - Basketball Picks 2/26/23

Penn State Nittany Lions (17-11) vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights (17-11)

Game Info: Sunday, February 26, 2023 at 6:30 pm (Bryce Jordan Center)

Betting Odds: Penn State Nittany Lions -3 -- Over/Under: 132.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Penn State Nittany Lions will host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Big Ten play from the Jordan Center on the BTN. Penn State leads the all-time series, 41-32, but Rutgers has won the last two games. 

Rutgers fell to 17-11 after losing to Michigan at home. The Scarlet Knights and Wolverines engaged in a low scoring battle that saw Big Blue exit Jersey with a 13-point win, 58-45. Rutgers is scoring 68.8 points per game, while allowing 59.8 ppg and shooting 43.2% from the floor.

Rutgers has played themselves onto the wrong side of the bubble by dropping four of their last five games, and they’ll look to stop the bleeding here. The Scarlet Knights are 9-8 in Big Ten play, with a 3-6 road record. Rutgers still represents a strong defensive unit in the country, and they play through Clifford Omoruyi from the inside. The junior center has posted back-to-back double-doubles in three of the last four games, and he leads Rutgers in scoring (13.3) and rebounding (9.8). Third-year forward Aundre Hyatt scored a team-high 24 points against Nebraska last week, and he’s up to 9.6 ppg. Veteran guards Caleb McConnell (9.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Cam Spencer (12.6 ppg, 3.2 apg) and Paul Mulcahy (8.8 ppg, 5.1 apg) start on the perimeter for Rutgers.

Penn State moved to 17-11 after defeating Ohio State in Columbus. The Nittany Lions trailed at the break, and the Terps would close out to hand them a six-point loss, 74-68. Penn State is scoring 72.4 points per game, while allowing 68.8 ppg, and shooting 47% from the field.

Penn State has responded to a four-game skid with three straight wins, and they’ve kept their postseason hopes alive. The Nittany Lions are 8-9 in Big Ten play, with a 12-3 record at home. Penn State plays through the veteran trio of Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, and Andrew Funk. Pickett, a 6’4 guard, dropped a career-high 41 points in the win over Illinois last week, and he’s posting a strong line of 18.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 6.9 apg. Lundy, a three-year starter, is second on the team in scoring (14.6) and rebounding (6.1). Funk, a Bucknell transfer, is third on the team at 12.1 ppg.

Rutgers is 16-10-1 against the spread this season, with a 11-16 over/under record. Penn State is 14-11-2 ATS this year, with a 16-11 o/u record.

Penn State’s momentum may just be enough to warrant trusting them as hosts this Sunday. Rutgers' fall from grace has been tough to watch over the past month of action, and I’m unsure if they can right the ship against a streaky Nittany Lions team. Defense travels, so the Scarlet Knights should have a chance to at least affect the scoreboard, but I like Penn State covering the home margin in this Big Ten contest. 

Corey’s Pick Penn State -3

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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