Indiana (13-3; 3-2) at Rutgers (12-4; 3-2)
How To Watch, Listen, News & Notes
Where: The RAC (8,000) in Piscataway, New Jersey
Tip-off: Wednesday, January 15th at 7:00 p.m. ET.
TV: BTN – Kevin Kugler and Brian Butch
Stream: Fox Sports App
KenPom Rankings: Rutgers 32nd; Indiana 34th; Rutgers has moved up 2 spots since the loss to Illinois. Indiana moved up 8 spots after Saturday’s win over Ohio State.
Efficiency Rankings: Rutgers – Offense 104.4 (94th) Defense 88.0 (13th); Indiana – Offense 108.1 (39th) Defense 91.9 (40th)
KenPom Prediction: Rutgers 68 Indiana 64. Rutgers is given a 63% chance to win.
Vegas Line: Rutgers -3.5
Series History: Indiana leads the all-time series 7-2 and won the last meeting on March 10, 2019 by the score of 89-73.
SB Nation’s Indiana Site: Crimson Quarry
Indiana – 6’9” freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis (14.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 63.6 FG%); 6’3” senior Devonte Green (12.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 39.1 3-pt FG%); 6’7” junior Justin Smith (11.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals); 6’4” junior Al Durham (10.8 points, 2.7 assists, 2.4 rebounds); 6’11” junior Joey Brunk (7.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 53.2 FG%); 6’1” sophomore Rob Phinisee (7.1 points, 2.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 40.9 3-pt FG%);
Rutgers – 6’6” sophomore Ron Harper Jr. (12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.0 steal);
6’4” junior Geo Baker (11.4 points, 4.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals); 6’10” sophomore Myles Johnson (9.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 71.6% FG); 6’6” senior Akwasi Yeboah (9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 37.5 3-pt FG%); 6’2” junior Jacob Young (9.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists); 6’7” sophomore Caleb McConnell (7.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 37.9% 3-pt FG); 6’4” sophomore Montez Mathis (6.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals); 6’6” freshman Paul Mulcahy (3.9 points, 2.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 58.1% FG); 6’9” senior Shaq Carter (3.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 57.8% FG)
Indiana Scouting Report
Head coach Archie Miller is in his third season in Bloomington and the team is off to a 13-3 start and 3-2 record in Big Ten play. They own quality wins against Ohio State, Florida State, Louisiana Tech, Notre Dame, and UConn and all of their losses are against teams ranked in the KenPom top 30. However, they have lost their only two true road contests this season by 16 at Maryland and 20 at Wisconsin.
They primarily play a core of six players that is comprised of a freshman, a sophomore, three juniors and a senior. They have a lot of size and are a good rebounding team, but prefer to play in transition. They aren’t shooting or defending the three well in conference play, ranking 13th and 11th respectively.
Indiana is shooting 46.1% from the field, 31.1% from three-point range and 68.2% from the foul line this season. In Big Ten play, the Hoosiers are eighth in offensive efficiency and tenth in defensive efficiency.
Point guard Rob Phinisee has missed five games this season with various minor injuries, which has hurt the team’s development. Freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis has the 16th best offensive rating in college basketball this season and is a highly efficient player inside for the Hoosiers.
Rutgers captain Geo Baker was declared out indefinitely on January 3rd with a broken left thumb and is closer to returning than not.
Notes: As a team, Rutgers is shooting 46.4% from the floor, 29.8% from three-point range, and 64.7% from the free throw line……The Scarlet Knights are 9th nationally in rebounding margin (+9.1), field goal percentage defense (36.7%) and rebounding (41.63), 13th in scoring defense (59.6), 28th in scoring margin (+12.8), and 29th in blocks per game (5.1)….Rutgers is undefeated this season at the RAC (11-0), as well as when scoring 37 or more points in the paint (9-0) and when scoring 15 or more fast break points (7-0)……The Scarlet Knights have outrebounded its opponents in 14 of 16 games this season……RU has an RPI ranking of 22nd and a NET ranking of 30th, which is used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee to determine the field of 68 at the end of the season….Rutgers is currently 9th in Big Ten play in offensive efficiency and 4th in defensive efficiency.
Tweet of the day
Obviously only five games into the Big Ten schedule so far for Rutgers, but entering this week they have the second best offensive & defensive rebounding percentages, third best scoring margin, fifth best field goal percentage & best field goal percentage DEFENSE in league play.
— Aaron Breitman (@aaron_breitman) January 14, 2020
Keys To Victory
Cut off the head, watch the body die
When Rob Phinisee plays well, Indiana is hard to beat. He made three three-pointers in the first four minutes of Indiana’s last game, setting the tone in upsetting Ohio State. However, he has battled injuries all season and left Saturday’s game late holding his hip. He is expected to play tonight, but he could be dealing with another minor injury. Regardless, Rutgers needs to pressure Phinisee every time he has the ball in his hands and look to slow him down on the break. Look for Montez Mathis and Jacob Young to get the assignment, hoping to keep their floor leader contained.
Avoid Foul Trouble
Indiana is not a particularly great shooting team, but they excel in getting to the line with the best free throw rate in Big Ten play so far at 52.5%. Rutgers needs to contest shots but be disciplined enough to not commit unnecessary fouls. Of course, Myles Johnson needs to stay on the court as Rutgers is not the same team without him. His matchup with Trayce Jackson-Davis is critical. Also head coach Steve Pikiell can use the depth to his advantage if he doesn’t need to worry about foul trouble, allowing him to use multiple lineups and keep the Hoosiers off balance.
Offensive rebounding & limiting Indiana’s run game
Indiana is another good rebounding team, especially on the offensive glass and limiting opponents on that end as well. They have the best offensive rebounding rate in league play and 2nd best in opponents offensive rebounding rate. The Hoosiers transition game is keyed off of defensive rebounds as they look to run the break with Phinisee. Rutgers was outrebounded for just the second time all season in Saturday’s loss to Illinois. They need to be balanced in this matchup by attacking the glass but not getting caught defenseless in transition as Indiana will look to exploit their aggressiveness. If Rutgers can control the glass and limit Indiana on the break, it will force IU to win by outshooting them, which is not their strength and has been a difficult task for any opponent against the RU defense this season.
Points in the Paint
Rutgers had a terrible shooting game it’s last time out and the home nets in the RAC will hopefully be welcoming. Ball movement, shot selection and attacking the rim are always important, but tonight it’s key in making Indiana work on every defensive possession. The Hoosiers aren’t a prolific three-point shooting team so Rutgers doesn’t need to worry about keeping up in that area. Take shots behind the arc when it’s within the offense, but don’t get three happy for the sake of it. Getting points in the paint wears opponents down and Rutgers is undefeated when they score 37 or more points inside. Both teams shoot well from two-point range and get the majority of its points inside, so winning that battle is key to being successful tonight. Tying to the point with offensive rebounding, Rutgers is hard to beat when they hold an advantage in second chance points, so finishing near the rim on initial shots and off of offensive rebounds against Indiana’s size is important as well.
Feed the RAC faithful
Rutgers fell behind Penn State after great starts at home against Wisconsin and Seton Hall. Terrible offense kept the crowd at bay with little to cheer about until after the midway point of the first half. If the Scarlet Knights can make a few baskets early and get the RAC rolling from the start, it will be that much harder on Indiana to stay in the game. While they have a mostly veteran team, it’s leading scorer and rebounder is a freshman. It’s depth isn’t great either and having to play in a hostile environment all night can take its toll on an opponent at the end of the game. Make this a rowdy atmosphere from the start and it will pay dividends in the second half.
Appropriate Music Selection
For the seventeenth game of the season, I’m featuring “Your Hand In Mine” by Explosions in the Sky. Switching it up a bit with an instrumental song that I’ve always found inspiring. In my opinion, tonight’s contest is a huge swing game in this season. Win and Saturday’s tough road loss is just a blip with several consecutive winnable games ahead, as well as solidifying Rutgers in the top half of the conference. Lose and more pressure will mount for this relatively young team that may begin pressing because of it. This is the third sellout of the season and a win will probably ensure most of the remaining home games will be as well. Indiana may not be a true blue blood in college basketball at the moment, but it’s still a traditionally top half Big Ten team and beating them continues to build credibility. Rutgers is winning due to playing great team basketball and need to keep doing just that tonight.
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