Saturday, January 14, 2023

5 Things to Look For This Week (January 15-19)

photo courtesy of NJ Advance Media

Five Things to Look For This Week 

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have two big conference games coming up this week

Just when you thought Rutgers (12-5, 4-2) has already played some of their most difficult Big Ten competition this season, the Scarlet Knights are about to embark on another brutal stretch of games. The Scarlet Knights host the dangerous Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday, January 15 and then travel to East Lansing to battle the surging Michigan State Spartans on Thursday, January 19. This week's two-game stretch is going to be critical because winning at least one of these games will keep the Scarlet Knights above .500 in the conference and in position to contend for a Big Ten regular season title.

All season long Rutgers has shown everyone they have togetherness as a team, the ability to play with toughness and physicality, and the unrelenting ability to overcome adversity. These  qualities have made this year's Rutgers team one of the best in the Big Ten Conference.

Not only does this team play connected as a unit, but the Scarlet Knights have had several key players step up in specific roles this season that have helped them win games. The nation now knows about Cam Spencer after the Loyola-Maryland transfer drilled two game winning shots. During the offseason, there were questions about who will step up to take the big shot this season when needed. That question has been answered. 

Since joining Rutgers this year, Spencer is leading the team in scoring with 13.5 ppg; leading the team in steals with 2.5 spg; and second in assists with 3.6 apg. Spencer is also shooting an incredible 48.2% from deep, and 97.2% from the free-throw line.

Aundre Hyatt has significantly developed and improved his game during the course of the season. Hyatt has accepted his role as the 6th man coming off the bench for the Scarlet Knights, and he has had his most productive season yet. He has provided significant minutes coming off the bench as well, and is now averaging 24.8 minutes per game. Hyatt is third in scoring for Rutgers and is averaging 10.1 ppg. Hyatt is also shooting a career high 32% from beyond the arc, 76% from the free-throw line, and 4.5 rpg.

Mawot Mag has been a massive contributor to Rutgers this season as the third year junior is playing more minutes than he ever has before in his collegiate career (24.0 mpg). The suffocating defender is now averaging 5.2 rebounds per game and 1.1 steals per game. Mag's offensive production has been a big boost as he is averaging 7.2 ppg and 73.5% from the free-throw line.

All three mentioned players have been a pleasant surprise and a joy to watch on the basketball court this year. All-Preseason Big Ten player Cliff Omoruyi, Paul Mulcahy, and big Ten DPOY Caleb McConnell have been the anchors guiding this team with their profound leadership. In lieu of all the positives, there are five things Rutgers fans will need to look for and expect from this team in the two big games coming up this week in order for the Scarlet Knights to have continued success.


1. Look for Rutgers to continue to free up Cam Spencer for the big shot. Most of the Big Ten games this season have been meat grinders for Rutgers, with the exception of the Indiana and Maryland blowouts. Rutgers has continuously relied on Spencer to bail the team out with the big game winning shots as he did against Purdue and Northwestern. It should be no surprise that Rutgers' next two games will probably come down to the last possession. Ohio State and Michigan State are both scrappy teams that will be difficult matchups for the Scarlet Knights. Each possession will be just as important as the next. If the game comes down to the wire and Rutgers needs a lift, don't be surprised if the Scarlet Knights create plays to free up Spencer to take the shot.

2. Paul Mulchay needs to continue to take charge. Rutgers is at its best when Paul Mulcahy is at his best. Mulcahy will need to avoid any mental breakdowns this week. Ohio State and Michigan State will try to fluster Paul Mulcahy and lure him into breaking down mentally. In the game against Northwestern last week, Mulcahy's emotions shows and his frustration with the officials were not held back. Mulcahy was also whistled for technical fouls for flopping. Paul Mulcahy has done an incredible job all season showing maturity and keeping his emotions in check, and this needs to continue. Mulcahy is a veteran on this team, and he has to do what he does best: floor general. Mulcahy has to continue making crafty passes and dissect each team's defense. Mulcahy is elusive as any other player when he backs down other defenders offensively.

3. Cliff Omoruyi needs to be more involved offensively. Cliff Omoruyi has been somewhat invisible the last three games, but that is not entirely his fault. The Big Ten knows Omoruyi is a key player for Rutgers and is held in high regard as one of the best centers in the conference. With that being said, Northwestern, Iowa, and Maryland have game planned well in defending Omoruyi and eliminating many chances for him to get quality touches on the ball. Omoyuri only tallied 4 points against Northwestern; 9 points against Iowa; and 4 points against Maryland. If Rutgers is going to win against Ohio State and Michigan State, Omoruyi must find ways to get involved offensively, whether it's creating space off the ball for good looks at the basket or crashing the boards for second chance points. Omoruyi has done a phenomenal job rebounding the ball all season, and he averaged 11.5 rpg in the last three games.

4. Valuable minutes off the bench will be important. Rutgers will need to rely on key players coming off the bench to provide valuable minutes. Freshman Derek Simpson and Aundre Hyatt have been intricate for Rutgers when coming off the bench and have actually provided a much needed boost to the team both offensively and defensively. In the win against Maryland, Simpson logged 18 minutes, scored 6 points, forced 1 steal, and made both free-throws from the foul line. Hyatt logged 26 minutes in the win against Northwestern and also scored 10 points, grabbed 3 boards, went 2-of-3 from deep, 1 block, and 1 steal. If Rutgers can get this type of production out of its bench against Ohio State and Michigan State, the Scarlet Knights should win these games.

5. Rutgers will increase its defensive pressure. Rutgers already boasts one of the nation's most elite defense by holding opponents to only 56.5 ppg (4th); holding opponents to shooting 37.% from the field (6th); holding opponents to 27.8% from 3PT range (10th);  creating 10.1 steals per game (10th); and forcing 17 turnovers per game (29th). Expect the Scarlet Knights to ratchet up the pressure defensively on Ohio State and Michigan State. Steve Pikiell has gone to a full-court press throughout many games this year, and it has flustered the Scarlet Knights' opponents. In the second half of the 1st meeting between Rutgers and Ohio State, it was quite evident the full-court press by the Scarlet Knights slowed down the Buckeyes' offensively and forced them into making turnovers. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

NET Rankings of Rutgers' Opponents (thru games Feb 19)

photo courtesy of Getty Images

NET Rankings of Rutgers' Opponents (thru games Feb 19)

Here are the NET Rankings of Rutgers' opponents for games played through February 19. Rutgers is currently ranked 29th in the NET Rankings. Last week, the Scarlet Knights dropped a Q3 home contest to Nebraska but picked up an important Q2 road win over Wisconsin. The loss to Nebraska set Rutgers back in the NET Rankings. The win against Wisconsin could become a Q1 road win if Wisconsin can move into the Top 75 of the NET Rankings. The Badgers are currently ranked 76th in the NET. Rutgers has one Q1 game, two Q2 games, and one Q4 game remaining on their schedule. If you want to view the entire NET Rankings, please click here.

Rutgers Record in Each Quadrant:

  • Quadrant 1: 4-6
  • Quadrant 2: 4-2
  • Quadrant 3: 2-2
  • Quadrant 4: 7-0

NET Rankings of Rutgers' Opponents

Nov. 7, Columbia, W (344, Q4)
Nov. 10, Sacred Heart, W (330, Q4)
Nov. 12, UMass-Lowell, W (135, Q3)
Nov. 18, vs Temple, L (123, Q3)
Nov. 22, Rider, W (205, Q4)
Nov. 26, Central Conn. State, W (337, Q4)
Nov. 30, at Miami, L (31, Q1)
Dec. 3, Indiana, W (18, Q1)
Dec. 8, at Ohio State, L (68, Q1)
Dec. 11, Seton Hall, L (71, Q2)
Dec. 17, Wake Forest, W (77, Q3)
Dec. 23, Bucknell, W (295, Q4)
Dec. 30, Coppin State, W (340, Q4)
Jan. 2, at Purdue, W (5, Q1)
Jan. 5, Maryland, W (24, Q1)
Jan. 8, Iowa, L (42, Q2)
Jan. 11, at Northwestern, W (39, Q1)
Jan. 15, Ohio State (68, Q2)
Jan. 19, at Michigan State (40, Q1)
Jan. 24, Penn State (59, Q2)
Jan. 29, at Iowa (42, Q1)
Feb. 1, Minnesota (214, Q4)
Feb. 4, vs Michigan State (40, Q2)
Feb. 7, at Indiana (18, Q1)
Feb. 11, at Illinois (27, Q1)
Feb. 14, Nebraska (92, Q3)
Feb. 18, at Wisconsin (76, Q2)
Feb. 23, Michigan (65, Q2)
Feb. 26, at Penn State (59, Q1)
Mar. 2, at Minnesota (241, Q4)
Mar. 5, Northwestern (39, Q2)
Q1 home games are highlighted in yellow
Q1 road games are highlighted in green

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Weekly Big Ten Power Rankings (games played thru January 8)

 Weekly Big Ten Power Rankings (games played thru January 8)

1. Purdue Boilermakers, (15-1, 3-1) - Purdue recovered after their loss to Rutgers and went on the road to beat Ohio State and Penn State. Next Opponents: 1/13, Nebraska.  Previous Week - 1

2. Michigan State Spartans, (11-4, 3-1) - Michigan State is red hot right now. They crushed Nebraska by 18 and stymied Michigan at home. Next Opponents: 1/10, at Wisconsin; 1/13, at Illinois. Previous Week - 6

3. Rutgers Scarlet Knights, (11-5, 3-2) - Rutgers had a very impressive week despite losing at home to Iowa, the Scarlet Knights knocked off #1 Purdue and blew out Maryland. Next Opponents: 1/11, at Northwestern; 1/15, Ohio State. Previous Week - 3

4. Northwestern Wildcats, (12-3, 3-1) - Northwestern is surging right now. They lost to Ohio State earlier in the week but recovered with big wins over Illinois and Indiana. Don't blink now but the Wildcats are atop the Big Ten right now. Next Opponents: 1/11, Rutgers; 1/15, at Michigan. Previous Week - 11

5. Ohio State Buckeyes, (10-5, 2-2) - Ohio State looked very impressive in their win at Northwestern, but blew a chance at knocking off Purdue and then were outplayed by a struggling Maryland team. Next Opponents: 1/12, Minnesota; 1/15, at Rutgers. Previous Week - 2

6. Wisconsin Badgers, (11-3, 3-1) - The Badgers split two conference games this week. They slipped past bottom dweller Minnesota and lost by double-digits to Illinois. Badgers have not looked impressive lately but stay atop the Big Ten standings. Next Opponents: 1/10, Michigan State; 1/14, at Indiana. Previous Week - 5

7. Michigan Wolverines, (9-6, 3-1) - The Wolverines had an impressive blowout win over a struggling Maryland team and knocked off Penn State, but felt short against their rivals Michigan State. Next Opponent: 1/12, at Iowa; 1/15, Northwestern. Previous Week - 9

8. Penn State Nittany Lions, (11-5, 2-3) - The Nittany Lions had a tough week. They started off with a big win over Iowa, but lost on the road against Michigan and a neutral floor meeting with Purdue. They have a chance on Wednesday to pick up a big win. Next Opponents: 1/11, Indiana. Previous Week - 4

9. Iowa Hawkeyes, (10-6, 2-3) - The Hawkeyes were on the verge of collapse until they punched Indiana in the mouth for their first Big Ten win of the season and then walked into The RAC to overwhelm Rutgers. Next Opponents: 1/12, Michigan; 1/15, Maryland. Previous Week - 13

10. Illinois Fighting Illini, (10-5, 1-3) - The Illini were thoroughly outplayed by Northwestern earlier in the week but they made up for it with a nice 10 point win over Wisconsin. Next Opponents: 1/10, at Nebraska; 1/13, Michigan State. Previous Week - 7

11. Maryland Terrapins, (11-5, 2-3) - Maryland was blown out by Michigan and Rutgers earlier this week, but they made up for it with a big win over Ohio State. Next Opponents: 1/15, at Iowa. Previous Week - 10

12. Indiana Hoosiers, (10-5, 1-3) - Indiana is in a world of trouble right now. They lost to Northwestern and Iowa. They are injury plagued at the moment and are sitting near the bottom of the Big Ten. Next Opponents: 1/11, at Penn State; 1/14, Wisconsin. Previous Week - 8

13. Nebraska Cornhuskers, (9-7, 2-3) - Nebraska got waxed by Michigan State this week, and topped Minnesota in OT. Next Opponents: 1/10, Illinois; 1/13, at Purdue. Previous Week - 12

14. Minnesota Golden Gophers, (6-8, 0-4) - The Gophers are still searching for their first Big Ten win of the season. They fell short against Nebraska and Wisconsin this past week. Next Opponent: 1/12, at Ohio State. Previous Week - 14

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Preview & Keys to the Game: Iowa at Rutgers (January 8, 2023)

photo courtesy of Getty Images

Iowa (9-6, 1-3) at Rutgers (11-4, 3-1)

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are riding high at the moment after knocking off AP Poll ranked #1 Purdue 65-64 on Monday and then followed the upset with a masterful defensive performance against Maryland in 64-50 beatdown on Thursday. Rutgers is currently sitting near the top of the Big Ten standings at 3-1, and are in position to stay near the top if they can beat the Iowa Hawkeyes who visit The RAC on Sunday, January 8th at 12 PM (BTN).

Iowa started off the season in solid form, and tallied several key victories over Seton Hall, Clemson, and Iowa State; however, the Hawkeyes dropped three in a row, including a humiliating loss to Eastern Illinois, before defeating #15 Indiana 91-89 on Thursday. With new renowned confidence after the decisive win over Indiana, Iowa is more dangerous than ever when they tip off against Rutgers.

As of January 6, Rutgers is sitting at 14 in the NET Rankings and are 13 in the KenPom Ratings. Iowa is 59 in the NET, and 50 in the KenPom. It's probably safe to say that Iowa would not be 59 in the NET if they had not lost to Eastern Illinois, and they would probably be somewhere in the top 30. Iowa is 2-3 against Q1 teams; 2-2 against Q2 teams; 1-0 against Q3 teams; and 4-1 against Q4 teams. Tomorrow, the Hawkeyes will be a Q2 opponent for the Scarlet Knights.

Iowa has a veteran squad and several key players that could cause trouble for Rutgers. Iowa runs a high up-tempo offense but gets very good play from their centers and forwards down low. The Hawkeyes have three players that average scoring in double figures, including Filip Rebraca (14.4 ppg), Kris Murray (21.3 ppg), and Tony Perkins (11.2 ppg). Murray is Iowa's leading rebounder at 9.8 rpg, while Rebraca is a close second to Murray with 8.5 rpg. Iowa has several players that shoot well from beyond the arc. Murray is averaging 38.2% from beyond the arc, and Connor McCaffery is averaging 37.5%. Both Murray and McCaffery take a bulk of the 3PT shots for the Hawkeyes. As a team, the Iowa Hawkeyes are shooting 32% from 3PT range. Iowa is rated 15th in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Here are other offensive categories Iowa ranks well in, according to NCAA Statistics:

  • Scoring offense - 23rd
  • FTs made per game - 21st
  • Assists per game - 23rd
  • Assist/Turnover ratio - 3rd
  • Turnovers per game - 9th
  • Offensive Rebounds per game - 41st
  • Fastbreak points - 60th
Although Iowa has one of the best offenses in college basketball, they are not one of the best teams defensively. Iowa's defense is led by Connor McCaffery with 1.4 spg and Filip Rebraca with 1.4 bpg. Iowa does have one category that is their strongest suit defensively, and that is rebounding where the Hawkeyes rank 91st, according to NCAA Statistics. Iowa is rated 128th in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Here are several categories where Iowa ranks defensively, according to NCAA Statistics:
  • Scoring defense - 258th
  • 3PT% defense - 175th
  • Fouls per game - 26th
  • Turnovers forced per game - 160th
  • Steals per game - 181st
  • FG% defense - 274th

All season long Rutgers has continued to play its relentless, suffocating defense and it's what allowed the Scarlet Knights to stifle Purdue and overwhelm Maryland. Despite a poor shooting performance on Thursday against Maryland, Rutgers still won in comfortable fashion. But Iowa is a different team, and boasts one of the best offenses in the nation. If Rutgers can continue to play elite defense and continue to work for good shots against a poor defensive team, the Scarlet Knights can walk away Sunday with a victory.

Iowa's Last 3 Games:
1/5 - Indiana (21, Q1), W 91-89
1/1 - at Penn State (66, Q1), L 83-79
12/29 - at Nebraska (85, Q2), L 66-50

  • Slowdown the tempo - Iowa is going to want to play this game as fast as they can and move the ball up and down the court quickly. It will be Rutgers job to slow this game down on both ends of the floor. Rutgers will have to continue to press Iowa and wreak havoc in their backcourt. Do not allow Tony Perkins and Kris Murray to move the ball quickly down the floor.
  • Force turnovers - Rutgers has done a great job all year long in forcing turnovers. As I mentioned in the first key in slowing down the tempo and putting pressure on Iowa's backcourt, the Scarlet Knights need to be able to force turnovers and generate steals which can lead to fast break opportunities for Rutgers
  • Front Rebraca - Filip Rebraca is one of Iowa's leading scorers, and the Iowa guards love feeding the ball to the big man. Cliff Omoruyi is going to be tested once again down low and he is going to have to front Rebraca the best he can.
  • Crash the boards - Iowa is a very good rebounding team, and it's no wonder they did a great job against Indiana on Thursday working for second chance points. Rutgers is a decent rebounding team but if they want to avoid any second chance points for Iowa, Rutgers is going to have to crash the boards and grab as many rebounds as they can.
  • Feed the beast - Iowa is not a great team defensively and Rutgers should be able to feed the ball down low to Cliff Omoruyi. The more touches Cliff is given near the basket, the more chances Rutgers can control the paint but also free up other shooters. Rebraca is not the best defender, and if Cliff can pound the ball to the hoop with physicality and athleticism, Rutgers should have an easy night.
  • Get Cam Spencer going - In order for Rutgers to have a big night, Cam Spencer needs to get going. If Rutgers can free up space for him on the perimeter, Spencer can be lethal from the outside. Rutgers is 8-2 when Cam Spencer scores in double-digits.

Friday, January 6, 2023

NET Rankings of Rutgers' Opponents (thru games Jan 6)


photo courtesy of NJ Advance Media

NET Rankings of Rutgers' Opponents (thru games Jan 6)

Here are the NET Rankings of Rutgers' opponents for games played through January 6th. Rutgers is currently ranked 14th in the NET Rankings, which is a program best under Steve Pikiell, and have two decisive Quadrant 1 (Q1) victories on the season. There are plenty of opportunities to pick up more Q1/2 wins on their schedule. Rutgers has done an incredible job this season avoiding any dreaded Quadrant 4 losses. Rutgers has seven Q1 road games and one Q1 home game remaining on its schedule. If you want to view the entire NET Rankings please click here.

Rutgers' Record in Each Quadrant
  • Quadrant 1: 2-2
  • Quadrant 2: 1-0
  • Quadrant 3: 2-2
  • Quadrant 4: 6-0
NET Rankings of Rutgers' Opponents
Nov. 7, Columbia, W (329, Q4)
Nov. 10, Sacred Heart, W (314, Q4)
Nov. 12, UMass-Lowell, W (89, Q3)
Nov. 18, vs Temple, L (159, Q3)
Nov. 22, Rider, W (230, Q4)
Nov. 26, Central Conn. State, W (340, Q4)
Nov. 30, at Miami, L (38, Q1)
Dec. 3, Indiana, W (21, Q1)
Dec. 8, at Ohio State, L (9, Q1)
Dec. 11, Seton Hall, L (88, Q3)
Dec. 17, Wake Forest, W (80, Q3)
Dec. 23, Bucknell, W (276, Q4)
Dec. 30, Coppin State, W (279, Q4)
Jan. 2, at Purdue, W (5, Q1)
Jan. 5, Maryland, W (55, Q2)
Jan. 8, Iowa (60, Q2)
Jan. 11, at Northwestern (59, Q1)
Jan. 15, Ohio State (9, Q1)
Jan. 19, at Michigan State (58, Q1)
Jan. 24, Penn State (69, Q2)
Jan. 29, at Iowa (60, Q1)
Feb. 1, Minnesota (237, Q4)
Feb. 4, vs Michigan State (58, Q2)
Feb. 7, at Indiana (21, Q1)
Feb. 11, at Illinois (51, Q1)
Feb. 14, Nebraska (85, Q3)
Feb. 18, at Wisconsin (50, Q1)
Feb. 23, Michigan (74, Q2)
Feb. 26, at Penn State (69, Q1)
Mar. 2, at Minnesota (237, Q3)
Mar. 5, Northwestern (59, Q2)
Q1 home games are highlighted in yellow
Q1 road games are highlighted in green

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Rutgers Hoops Insider on Jim Maisano's College Hoops Chat (WVOX 1460 AM) (January 2, 2023)


Rutgers Hoops Insider appears on College Hoops Chat with Jim Maisano

Check out Rutgers Hoops Insider appearing on College Hoops Chat with Jim Maisano (January 2, 2023) by clicking here. Jim Maisano is the host of College Hoops Chat, and has a passion for college basketball. Jim has been doing WVOX (1460 AM) radio shows since 1996 and now Jim hosts College Hoops Chat every Monday from 8 PM to 9 PM on WVOX 1460 AM. You can listen to all of the College Hoops Chat episodes by visiting

Please add College Hoops Chat on Twitter @CollHoopsChat -or- contact at 

The January 2, 2023 episode (Season 3/Episode 13) of College Hoops Chat features discussion from guests covering UConn's hot start, Providence Friars & the Big East, Iona Gaels winning again, and Rutgers & the Big Ten. 

Monday, January 2, 2023

Preview & Keys to the Game: Rutgers at #1 Purdue (January 2, 2023)

photo courtesy of USA Today

Rutgers (9-4, 1-1) at #1 Purdue (13-0, 2-0)

After another dominant non-conference win, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will resume Big Ten play and travel to West Lafayette, IN to take on college basketball's number one ranked team in the country the Purdue Boilermakers (7 PM ET, BTN). Rutgers has been in similar territory against Purdue before. Last year, college hoops fans can remember Ron Harper Jr's buzzer-beater at The RAC that stunned then number one ranked Purdue. It was the first time Purdue had ever been ranked number one. This time, the Scarlet Knights are entering the lion's den at Mackey Arena, one of the best college basketball atmospheres, and the Boilermakers will be ready. Tonight's game is definitely going to be the biggest test for Rutgers all season. Rutgers has yet to win a game on the road this year.

Purdue enters tonight's contest at 4th in the NET Rankings, and 6th in KenPom Ratings while Rutgers enters at 20th in the NET, and a tied program best at 18th in the KenPom. Purdue owns non-conference marquee wins over Marquette, West Virginia, Gonzaga, and Duke. The Boilermakers are first in the Big Ten standings at 2-0 with a blowout victory over Minnesota and escaped Nebraska with an overtime win.

Purdue is a very well-balanced offensive and defensive team. According to NCAA Statistics, Purdue rates high in several offensive categories:

  • Scoring offense - 78th
  • FT% - 36th
  • FT attempts per game - 20th
  • Off. rebounds per game - 29th
  • Assists per game - 67th
While some of the offensive statistics are not glaring, Purdue is a fantastic rebounding team that create second chance opportunities. Defensively, Purdue rates high in several categories, according to NCAA Statistics:
  • Scoring defense - 20th
  • 3PT% defense - 15th
  • FG% defense - 22nd
  • Def. rebounds per game - 19th
The only category Purdue ranks poorly in defensively is forced turnovers per game where Purdue ranks near the bottom in the country. (For more stats on Purdue click here)

Purdue's offense runs through their big man Zach Edey. Everybody knows about one of the nation's best players in Edey. After all, the big guy is up for national awards and accolades. Edey is averaging 21.9 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 63% FG shooting, and 72% FT shooting. Fletcher Loyer is second to Edey in scoring, averaging 12.3 ppg. Purdue is not a great 3PT shooting team; however, Brandon Newman and Fletcher Loyer take a big bulk of their shoots from deep. Newman is averaging a respective 35% and Loyer is averaging 32%. 

Rutgers is a more efficient team defensively, but the players share the basketball evenly on offense, signs of a very unselfish team. Rutgers is likely to rely heavily on its defense to stifle the Purdue as the Scarlet Knights boast the nation's third best defense. Rutgers ranks high in many defensive categories, according to NCAA Statistics:

  • Scoring defense - 4th
  • Blocks per game - 87th
  • FG% defense - 5th
  • 3PT% defense - 3rd
  • Def. rebounds per game - 63rd
  • Turnovers forced per game - 23rd
  • Steals per game - 11th
Cam Spencer leads Rutgers in 2.7 spg while Caleb McConnell is close at 2.3 spg. Cliff Omoroyi is not only Rutgers' leading scorer at 15.0 ppg but he grabs 10.1 rpg. Rutgers does have three other players that score in double figures per game including Cam Spencer (12.8 ppg), Aundre Hyatt (10.7 ppg), and Caleb McConnell (10.6 ppg). Cam Spencer is also Rutgers' best 3PT shooter at 43.3% followed by Paul Mulcahy and Caleb McConnell at 33.3%.

Can the Scarlet Knights pull off another big upset of #1 Purdue? 

Purdue's Last 3 Games:

12/29 - Florida A&M (359, Q4), W 82-49
12/21 - New Orleans (358, Q4), W 74-53
12/17 - vs Davidson (166, Q3), W 69-61


  • Shutdown Zach Edey - It's clear Purdue's offense runs through Zach Edey. The big man is averaging 21.9 ppg. Just as Rutgers had shutdown big man Trayce Jackson-Davis of Indiana back in early December, the Scarlet Knights are going to have to mimic the same style of defense. They are going to have to find ways to front and double team the big man, forcing him into committing turnovers and uncomfortable shots. Cliff Omoruyi will be facing his biggest test of the season, and Cliff will have to get physical in the trenches with Edey. Cliff will have to scrap for every rebound but also be smart in not committing fouls, especially early in the game. As crazy as this sounds, Rutgers is going to have to continue to go down low offensively in order to draw fouls against Edey. The more the Scarlet Knights can draw fouls against Edey, the more you take him out of the game. Ideally, getting Edey in foul trouble early will greatly benefit Rutgers.
  • Force turnovers - Rutgers is going to have to apply pressure early in the game and force the Boilermakers into uncomfortable situations. Rutgers may have to do this majority of the game. Purdue does not turnover the ball a lot, but they also haven't faced a high-pressure defense like Rutgers all season long. Can Rutgers sustain a high-pressure defense for majority of the game?
  • Limit second chance opportunities - Purdue has one of the best rebounding teams in the country, but Rutgers is also a very good rebounding team as well. Rutgers is going to have to find a way to limit Purdue's second chance opportunities on the glass. If Rutgers can limit any second chance opportunities, the Scarlet Knights have a good chance at winning this game.
  • No slow starts, work for good shots, convert 2nd chances - Rutgers has done a fantastic job of starting their games without falling behind early. They have gotten off to good starts while working for good shots, solid ball distribution, and solid offensive rebounding to create second chance opportunities. Rutgers will have maintain the same intensity and focus to keep themselves from falling behind early in the game. This Rutgers team is not the type of team that is built to come from behind. It feels as if almost every possession is going to important in this game so Rutgers is going to want to limit the amount of empty trips to the basket.
  • Maintain mental focus - Mackey Arena is one of the best atmospheres in college basketball, and you know Purdue fans are going to bring it. It's going to be loud and hectic. Rutgers is going to have maintain strong mental focus in this game, and now let the crowd get to them. That also means no unnecessary fouls, especially technical fouls. Last year, Cliff Omoruyi lost his cool in the game at West Lafayette which led to a technical foul and let Purdue expand it's lead. KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK!
  • Get Spencer going early - Rutgers is 7-2 when Cam Spencer scores in double figures. Spencer has to create space on the perimeter and take a risk at shooting from deep. Heck, Spencer is shooting 43% from deep, so he should take those shots! 
  • PM must be the best floor general - Paul Mulcahy is great at creating plays and distributing the basketball. I have said it many times, this kid is a wizard with the basketball. He has the innate ability to pass the ball and maneuver in tight spaces. If PM can get going with his ball distribution and ability to maneuver, Rutgers has a really good shot at winning this game.