Photo: flickr Writer: Eric Daniel
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have looked much improved, at least through the nonconference, as Rutgers stands 11-2 overall heading into their conference opener. After a rough year for the football team Rutgers’ fans are hoping the basketball team can start to become relevant in the Big Ten this season. Rutgers was competitive in their nonconference finale, but the Scarlet Knights came up short in the end losing to a great Seton Hall squad on the road by a final of 61-72. Rutgers’ overall record has been boosted by their easier schedule and we’ll figure out what kind of team this really is come Big Ten play. The Scarlet Knights are led by Nigel Johnson who’s averaging 12.7 points per game.
Wisconsin brings back pretty much everyone from last year’s NCAA tournament team that found a decent amount of success and this group has largely taken care of business so far this season standing 11-2 overall with their only defeats coming away from home against Creighton and UNC. Wisconsin tends to lean on their defense for success as the Badgers rank 10th in the nation in points allowed compared to 97th in scoring average. The Badgers have picked up some resume building wins in the nonconference against teams like Tennessee, Georgetown, Syracuse, Oklahoma, and Marquette. The Badgers have a lot of veteran experience and this group has been led by Bronson Koenig who’s averaging 14.6 points per game.
Both of these teams like to build off of success on the defensive side of the ball and as a result points are probably going to be tougher to come by in this matchup. Rutgers doesn’t get much respect in the Big Ten landscape, but this is a chance for the Scarlet Knights to prove themselves by at least competing here on the road against Wisconsin. We’ll side with Rutgers and the generous amount of points, especially given this could be a lower scoring game.
Rutgers +18 -105