CBB Picks: Take Rutgers as underdog in Big Ten tournament

The Big Ten tournament quarterfinal slate opens with two games that feature NCAA tournament bubble teams.

Indiana hopped over to the right side of the bubble with a win over Michigan on Thursday, but it may not have enough in the tank to deal with Illinois in Indianapolis.

Rutgers' NCAA tournament hopes are still up in the air because of a poor nonconference record. The Scarlet Knights should be in the Big Dance and they get a chance to prove that once again versus Iowa in the second quarterfinal.

In addition to the Big Ten, there are two clear advantages on the afternoon slate from Conference USA, where it is time for one of the best teams against the spread to end its strong season.

Friday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 282-304-4 (9-4 Thursday)

Indiana vs. Illinois (-6) (11:30 a.m. ET, BTN)

The line is flying in favor of Illinois this morning.

The Illini beat Indiana by 17 points in their lone regular-season meeting and they are fresh to deal with threat posed from the Hoosiers.

Indiana exhausted a ton of energy to come back against Michigan and I don't know if it can pull off another victory.

After all, this is still a Hoosiers team that lost seven of its last nine regular-season games and won thanks to a Michigan collapse yesterday.

Louisiana Tech vs. North Texas (-3.5) (12:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

North Texas' defense is phenomenal and it will be the reason why it wins the Conference USA tournament, and potentially win a game in the NCAA tournament.

The Mean Green limited Louisiana Tech to 49 points in their last meeting. They held eight of their last 10 opponents under 60 points.

North Texas ranks in the top 40 in three key defensive metrics, and it is 45th in three-point offense. It needs to make the shots it gets because it ranks 358th in adjusted tempo.

Iowa vs. Rutgers (+6.5) (Over 144.5) (2 p.m. ET, BTN)

Rutgers apparently needs to win this game to be safe in the NCAA tournament?

I know, it's very dumb. Rutgers should not be on the bubble after the February it had, but here we are.

Rutgers should take advantage of Iowa's lack of defense. The Hawkeyes can score with anyone, but they give up 71.2 points per game.

The total is right in the sweet spot for both teams to score just above 70 points in what could be a very exciting back-and-forth game.

UAB (-7) vs. Middle Tennessee (3 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

It's time to say goodbye to Middle Tennessee and its fantastic ATS record.

MTSU is without Josh Jefferson, who was seen with crutches at the C-USA tournament on Thursday.

The Blue Raiders lost to Charlotte and Old Dominion to end the regular season when Jefferson went down and they barely beat UTEP on Thursday.

UAB earned seven of its last eight wins by double digits, a run that started with a 22-point triumph over MTSU on February 5.

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