Northwestern vs. Rutgers, 01/12/17 - Prediction & Preview

Game Snapshot

#561 Northwestern University Wildcats
vs.
#562 Rutgers University Scarlet Knights

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Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Northwestern Wildcats (13-4 SU, 9-5 ATS, 5-8-1 O/U) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (11-6 SU, 5-5-1 ATS, 4-7 O/U)

NCAAB: Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 9:00 p.m. EST

The Line: Northwestern Wildcats -6. Total: 131.5

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will be hoping to halt a five-game losing streak when they host the Northwestern Wildcats at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on Thursday night. Rutgers started the season 11-1 but has suffered consecutive setbacks at the hands of Seton Hall, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State, and Iowa. The Wildcats ended a two-game skid of their own by beating Nebraska this past Sunday.

On the road again

Northwestern is continuing its road-heavy start to the Big Ten season, as this marks the fourth such contest for the Wildcats in their opening five games. They handed Nebraska its first loss of the conference season last weekend, posting a 74-66 victory in Lincoln, Neb. Scottie Lindsey scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to lead Northwestern, while Vic Law nailed his first five three-point attempts en route to 15 points.

Lindsey has scored in double-figures in all 17 games this season. It’s the most consecutive games with at least 10 points for a Northwestern player since John Shurna compiled 22 in a row during the 2011-12 campaign. Lindsey (91.3 percent) and Bryant McIntosh (90.5 percent) have been exceptional from the charity stripe this season. They rank third and fourth, respectively, in the Big Ten. In conference play, the duo has combined to hit on 27 of 28 attempts (.96.4 percent).

Struggling agains the ‘Cats

The game marks the eighth-ever meeting between Rutgers and Northwestern. Rutgers is just 1-7 after getting blown out 98-59 on the road last season. Jonathan Laurent scored 17 points to lead the Scarlet Knights in that contest. They are 0-2 in the head-to-head series at home, having most recently lost 51-47 in December of 2014.

Rutgers built a nine-point advantage in the second half but was unable to hold off Iowa in a 68-62 road loss last Sunday. Deshawn Freeman posted his seventh double-double of the season, scoring 19 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. The Scarlet Knights out-rebounded Iowa 44-36 and established a 40-26 advantage in points in the paint. Rutgers, however, attempted only four foul shots in the entire contest compared to the Hawkeyes’ 23. Freeman is averaging 11.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game during this 2016-17 campaign. Nigel Johnson is first on the team with an average of 12.1 points per contest.

NCAAB Trends:

The Northwestern Wildcats are:

  • 13-5 ATS in their last 18 overall
  • 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games
  • 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against the Big Ten

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are:

  • 1-4 ATS in their last five overall
  • 7-25 ATS in their last 32 games against the Big Ten
  • 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning records

Rutgers has been awful in this head-to-head series and it has not done much this season to suggest the tide is about to turn. The Scarlet Knights have lost five games in a row, including four by double-digits. They have been little more than hopeless against Big Ten opposition. The Wildcats are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 overall, 5-2 ATS in their last seven on the road, 6-2 ATS in their last eight against the Big Ten, and 6-2 ATS in their last eight against winning opponents. Rutgers is 1-4 ATS in its last five overall, 7-25 ATS in its last 32 against the Big Ten, and 1-4 ATS in its last five against winning opponents. Expect those trends to continue.

Pick: Northwestern Wildcats -6

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Ricky Dimon

A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is a freelance sports writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.