NCAA Men’s basketball returns to action, as the Rutgers Scarlet Knights face the Ohio State Buckeyes. Both teams are coming off a loss, so they will be aiming to improve today. This is their second matchup of the season after the previous one ended in defeat for the Scarlet Knights.
The Scarlet Knights had an embarrassing defeat against the Spartans on Tuesday. They scored just 45 points and lost their second game in a row. They started the season 6-0, but have faced three defeats in four games since then. So they definitely need to improve or they will crash out of the Top 25.
The Buckeyes started the preseason as the 23rd best team, one spot over the Scarlet Knights. Although they have lost just thrice and won eight games, they are now out of the top 25, while Rutgers is currently 15th. They also need a win today to build momentum for the rest of the season.
The Buckeyes will be missing point guard CJ Walker, who has been ruled out with a hand injury. He had started 10/11 games so far, and he could be replaced by Justin Ahrens, who will help their shooting woes.
So their starting lineup could have Duane Washington and Justin Ahrens playing as the guards. Justice Sueing, E.J. Liddell, and Kyle Young will start as their forwards.
The Scarlet Knights will miss freshman Clifford Omoruyi for the fifth game in a row now. Geo Baker had an injury scare in his previous game but is likely to return.
So Rutgers could start with Jacob Young, Montez Mathis, and Geo Baker as their guards, while Ron Harper Jr and Myles Johnson start as the forwards.
The Buckeyes may have gone down the rankings due to their poor offense, but defensively, they are still one of the best. There is not much separating the two teams on offense, but the Buckeyes’ defense could be crucial today. Harper Jr’s form will be another important factor, as he has been struggling since the last two games.
The Buckeyes should be able to win narrowly, but don’t count out Harper Jr to mess up predictions.