Thursday Big East Basketball Picks: South Florida at Rutgers

South Florida Bulls at Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Louis Brown Athletic Center, Piscataway, NJ
Thursday, January 20, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Rutgers -4.5
Current Line: Rutgers -4
Opening Total: 126
Current Total: 124
Money Line: Rutgers -180 / South Florida +160

Rutgers vs South Florida Big East Basketball Preview
Rutgers has failed to cover the last five meetings with South Florida, going 1-4 straight-up

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-7, 1-4 Big East) have dropped five of their last six games and will try to turn things around at home on Thursday against a team they have struggled against in the past.  The Scarlet Knights (-4) have lost four of the last five meetings with the South Florida Bulls (7-12, 1-5) and have failed to cover all of those games.

South Florida is coming off its first win in conference play on Sunday, beating Providence 79-72 to snap a seven-game losing streak.  The Bulls saw five players score in double figures led by Hugh Robertson’s 17 points while Jarrid Famous added 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.  They are 3-3 against the spread in their six Big East games, covering their last two on the road.

Rutgers lost last year’s meeting 73-64 at South Florida as Dominique Jones scored a game-high 20 points for the home team.  Jones is no longer on the team, giving the Scarlet Knights the perfect opportunity to turn things around and win for just the second time in league action.

Ironically, the only Big East win for Rutgers this season also came against the Friars by a similar score of 85-72 back on January 8.  Jonathan Mitchell led the Scarlet Knights with 21 points and 10 rebounds in that game, but he has totaled a combined 17 points and nine rebounds in two losses since then.  They are coming off a 74-65 home loss to Georgetown last Saturday.

A 9-2 start has all but vanished for Rutgers following a 1-4 start against conference opponents, and the schedule does not get any easier after hosting South Florida.  The Scarlet Knights hit the road for four of their next five games, with the only home game during that stretch coming against #5 Pittsburgh.  The only positive news is that they are 1-2 at home and both losses were within 10 points.

The Bulls have played tough on the road even though they have yet to win a league game away from home.  All three of their Big East road games were decided by less than 10 points, including covers at Cincinnati and Connecticut in overtime.  The OVER has cashed in South Florida’s last five games overall along with seven of eight, going against the series trend.  The UNDER is 6-1 in the last seven meetings with Rutgers, including six straight prior to last season.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot as Big East conference play hits full stride. Don’t miss out on any more basketball betting winners this season.

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