College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Rutgers vs. Michigan (Wednesday, February 23)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Geo Baker.
- Rutgers travels to Ann Arbor looking for the season sweep of Michigan.
- The Wolverines are home favorites, but they will be without coach Juwan Howard and a pair of players due to suspension.
- Our analyst breaks down the matchup and shares his prediction and pick below.
Rutgers vs. Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Juwan Howard strike to the Wisconsin Badgers assistant coach was seemingly heard around the world.
It’s been the headline topic on national news stations over the last week. Howard has now been suspended for the remaining five games of the regular season for the altercation. Two Michigan players, Moussa Diabte and Terrance Williams, will also be out in this matchup as each was suspended one for one game.
The Wolverines’ season marches on, and now they welcome in Rutgers who has some issues of its own.
The Scarlett Knights are on the bubble but have some marquee matchups over the next week that could help their chances. Rutgers will travel to Michigan and then host Wisconsin; two victories may be enough to solidify the Scarlet Knights into the NCAA tournament.
Rutgers will first need to take care of business against a Michigan program that is depleted due to the postgame scuffle that took place against Wisconsin.
The Scarlet Knights went 6-4 in their nonconference slate, which put the program behind the eight-ball before Big 10 play started. They’ve had the second-toughest Strength of Schedule in the nation.
Rutgers put together an impressive four-game win streak that all included opponents that rank among the top 25 in Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Illinois. That streak came to an end on Sunday in a 72-84 loss to Purdue. Purdue’s Jaden Ivey scored 25 points in that matchup – doing most of his damage at the free throw line where he hit 15-of-18 attempts.
Rutgers has done most of its damage scoring inside the perimeter where it finds 56% of its points this season. The offense should thrive matching up against a Michigan defense that has struggled defending inside the 3-point arc.
The Wolverines have allowed their opponents to hit 51% of their 2-point attempts which is 238th in the nation. Michigan has allowed 56% of its opponents points to come from that range which is the 31st-most in the country.
Michigan hasn’t garnered much momentum this season. The Wolverines’ longest win streak was early in conference play when the group won three in a row. Since then, they have traded wins for losses which has led them to a 14-11 record on the year.
It seems like Hunter Dickinson has been the only reliable source of offense for the program this season. Dickinson has averaged 18 points and eight rebounds while hitting 57% from the field. He’s scored double figures in all but one conference game this season.
Eli Brooks is the only true shooting threat on the Wolverines roster. He’s hitting 41% from 3-point territory. Outside of him, only one player is hitting above 35% from deep, and that’s Dickinson, who has made only 16 3-pointers this season.
The lack of shooting has been a major issue for the Wolverines recently. The group has failed to shoot better than 25% in 11 of its games this season, including four of the last five.
The Wolverines will be without two of their forwards in this matchup due to the suspension. That will allow the Scarlett Knights to focus more of their attention on slowing down Dickinson down low.
Rutgers vs. Michigan Betting Pick
Rutgers handled Michigan 75-67 at the RAC to open the new year. The Scarlet Knights never trailed in that game and led by as many as 17 at one point. Michigan’s shooting woes showed up in the first matchup as they hit just three of 15 shots from downtown.
The Wolverines’ lack of shooting threats has been a big weakness all season as only Brooks has been a threat from outside. Remove him from the equation, and the team has made just 113-of-363 from deep (31%).
Michigan will be without two forwards in Moussa and Williams. With those two out, the Rutgers defense will collapse onto and focus on double-teaming Dickinson anytime he gets a touch.
Add in the loss to Juwan Howard, and there is a chance this team collapses the final five games of the season. I’ll be backing Rutgers, who is desperate for a victory to improve its resume against a short-handed Michigan side.