Rutgers faces off with Michigan to start the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. Rutgers is coming off a home loss to Northwestern, while Michigan is coming off a close overtime loss to Indiana on the road. My prediction is that Michigan covers the 3-point spread. Michigan and Rutgers are fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives, but Michigan is the better team. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Rutgers vs. Michigan Prediction
Michigan has had an up and down year, but they’re still in the mix to get a bid from the NCAA Tournament.
Hunter Dickinson has been the best player for the Wolverines this year. He leads the team in scoring at 18 points per game, in rebounds at 9 per game, and blocks at 1.7 per game. Jett Howard has been a very good sidekick to Dickinson this season. He’s second in scoring at 14.5 PPG. Kobe Bufkin and Dug McDaniel have also been very good in the backcourt. Bufkin is third in scoring at 14 PPG and also leads the team in steals per game at 1.3. Dug McDaniel is next up in scoring as the point guard at 8 PPG and then leads the team in assists at 3.5 per game.
As a team, Michigan just needs to find more consistency on both offense and defense. They average 74 PPG and then give up 70 PPG. Chicago could be a spot for Michigan to make a run.
On the other side, Rutgers at one point looked like one of the best teams in the Big Ten, but they’ve fallen off a little bit.
Clifford Omoruyi is the best player for the Scarlet Knights. He leads the team in scoring at 13.5 points, rebounds at 10 per game, and in blocks per game at 2. Cam Spencer is next up and is the best guard for Rutgers. He’s second in scoring at 12.7 PPG. Aundre Hyatt is also next up and scores 9.3 PPG, which is next up after Omoruyi and Spencer in scoring production. Caleb McConnell is also next up in scoring at 9.2 PPG and he leads the team in steals per game too.
Rutgers is one of the best defensive teams this season. They allow 60.4 PPG, which is 7th in all of college basketball, but only score 68.2 PPG.
Michigan needs to go on a run in this tournament to feel safely in the NCAA Tournament. Rutgers is desperate too, but Michigan is more trustworthy especially due to Hunter Dickinson and Jett Howard. Michigan covers and pulls away after a very close game with Rutgers.
Rutgers vs. Michigan Prediction: Michigan -3
Rutgers vs. Michigan Odds
Michigan is a 3-point favorite against Rutgers to open the Big Ten Tournament for both teams. The over/under is also at 133.5. Michigan being favored makes sense because they’re playing better than Rutgers right now. The over/under makes sense too because both teams are very good on defense. This spread could move a bit because of how close it is.
Rutgers vs. Michigan Key Matchups
Can Clifford Omoruyi matchup with Hunter Dickinson? Can Cam Spencer matchup with Jett Howard?
Hunter Dickinson vs Clifford Omoruyi
Hunter Dickinson has been carrying Michigan at times. He averages 18 points, 1.5 assists, and 9 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Clifford Omoruyi, who averages 13.5 points, 1 assist, and 10 rebounds per game for the season. Hunter Dickinson is the better player and is why I think Michigan will cover the 3-point spread. Omoruyi is very good, but he’ll have his hands full with Dickinson.
Jett Howard vs Cam Spencer
Jett Howard has a huge green light because of his dad, but it works most of the time. He averages 14.5 points, 2 assists, and 3 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Aundre Hyatt most of the game, who averages 9 points, 1 assist, and 4 rebounds per game for the season. Jett Howard is another huge reason why I think Michigan will cover the 3-point spread. Aundre Hyatt is decent, but he’s going up against one of his hardest matchups of the year in Jett Howard.