What to Expect: Rutgers

  • 01/30/2015 11:15 am in

Indiana will try to end its first losing streak of the season on Saturday when it welcomes Big Ten newcomer Rutgers to Assembly Hall. The Scarlet Knights are 10-12 overall and 2-7 in conference play.

The game will be broadcast at 3:15 p.m. ET on BTN:

Conference expansion means that Indiana will welcome another new league foe to Assembly Hall on Saturday afternoon. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights, an addition made by the conference to help with exposure in the northeast, haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 1991 and are 0-4 in Big Ten road games thus far.

But that’s not to say this group hasn’t been competitive at times. Earlier in the month, Rutgers knocked off Wisconsin, sans Frank Kaminsky, in Piscataway, and also won its Big Ten-ACC Challenge game at Clemson. However, reality of just how far the program has to go under second year coach Eddie Jordan has set in as Rutgers is 0-5 since the win over the Badgers with the losses coming by an average of 13.8 points.

Coming off tough losses at Ohio State and Purdue, this is a chance for Indiana to finish out the first half of the Big Ten season with its sixth win and continue on as one of the league’s surprises thus far.


Rutgers is led by a pair of seniors: 5-foot-10 guard Myles Mack and 6-foot-9 forward Kadeem Jack.

Mack is playing more Big Ten minutes than anyone besides Penn State’s D.J. Newbill and is the team’s leading scorer at 14 points per game. He’s shooting just 44.9 percent on 2s and 32.2 percent on 3s in conference play, but he is capable of getting going from outside as he knocked down four triples in three straight games against Wisconsin, Maryland and Minnesota. His free throw percentage of 86.2 also leads the team and he’s tenth in assist rate in Big Ten games at 25.8 percent.

Jack is 6-foot-9, but he isn’t a traditional post player. As shown in his shot chart below via Shot Analytics, Mack takes 50 percent of his attempts from midrange:


He’s using 28.3 percent of Rutgers’ possessions while on the floor in Big Ten play, the seventh highest usage rate in the league, and he is shooting 48.5 percent on 2s and only 18.2 percent on limited 3-point attempts. Jack plays the majority of his minutes – 75 percent – at the five spot so Indiana won’t have the size disadvantage it experienced on Wednesday when trying to guard A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas in the post.

The third scoring option on Rutgers is 6-foot-3 junior guard Bishop Daniels, who likes to get into the lane but is turnover prone. Daniels is turning it over on 25.8 percent of his possessions in league play and is making just 42.3 percent of his 2s. He has proven capable of knocking down the occasional shot from distance as he’s 6-of-13 on 3s in conference play.

Freshman guard Mike Williams has started 11 games but has been poor offensively all season (38.5 eFG%), which is likely why Jordan is playing Daniels the majority of minutes alongside Mack.

A couple of other names to know: 6-foot-9 Greg Lewis, who can block shots and hit the offensive glass. Junior Etou also has some size at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds but has made just 27.6 percent of his 2s in league play. Percentage wise, he’s currently the Big Ten’s sixth best defensive rebounder. Freshman D.J. Foreman, who is 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds, is another offensively challenged player – he’s shooting just 39.3 percent on 2s in Big Ten games – who is available in the frontcourt for Jordan.


If Indiana’s defense is going to put the clamps on a Big Ten opponent, Rutgers is likely the victim. Over its past three games, the Hoosiers have allowed 1.09, 1.32 and 1.25 points per possession. IU’s defensive efficiency is now 13th in the conference and its allowed effective field goal percentage is 14th:


The Scarlet Knights are the most offensively challenged team in the Big Ten and over their last three games, they haven’t scored more than .88 points per possession. On Thursday against Michigan State, Rutgers managed just .75 points per trip. This is also the Big Ten’s most turnover prone team with a 20.6 turnover percentage in conference play.

Rutgers hasn’t been great defensively, but they’re middle of the pack in efficiency, opponent free throw rate and defensive rebounding.


The Pomeroy ratings have this contest as Indiana’s best chance for a win over the next 10 games. His model predicts IU to win by 13 with a 90 percent chance of victory. Sagarin is equally bullish as his ratings favor Indiana by 14.

After breaking into both polls on Jan. 19, Indiana is just 1-2 and a pair of humbling losses to Ohio State and Purdue should have this group engaged and ready for a bounce back.

Rutgers, which has dropped five in a row, faces the unenviable task of coming to Assembly Hall, where IU is 12-1 this season, with just one day to prepare and a team waiting that will be hungry to wipe the taste of two bad losses out of its mouth.

More than anything else, Indiana needs to show it can put up some defensive resistance after three straight subpar performances and also respond to the challenge from one of its leaders in Yogi Ferrell, who called this group “soft” following the loss at Purdue.

(Photo credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America)

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  • Gregory Spera

    Rutgers at home. The cure for what ails ya.

  • MillaRed

    I expect a more talented Indiana team to get a convincing win and stop the bleeding. 6-3 is still a very pleasant surprise and keeps us on pace for the 10 B1G wins and a ticket to the dance. Now let’s get out there and get it done. Go Hoosiers!

  • David Macer

    Timing is good for this game. Hopefully “good” IU will show up. This will put us at 6-3 with 2 winnable road games left. Hold serve at home and the B1G standings could see IU in Top 3. With some losses by Wisky and MD, could lead to winning the conference. I’m always hopeful.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    Only favored by 13 or 14? I predict this will be a 20 point blow out.

  • TomJameson

    I think this NEEDS to be a 20 point blowout .. a win by 26 would be a great statement!

  • Drew

    For all that is good an holy please win this one big for my heart rate. It needs a rest.

  • Drew

    I disagree. A win by 27 would definitely send a message

  • Gregory Spera

    “…and also respond to the challenge from one of its leaders in Yogi Ferrell, who called this group “soft” following the loss at Purdue.”

    Over the course of the season, many people here on ITH have, when describing this team’s toughness, been calling them a “finesse team.” I’m glad Yogi cut through the BS and got straight to the point.

  • pcantidote

    If I am the Rutgers coach: (1) dribble penetration all the way to the basket on every offensive possession, and (2) extend the defense out to the three point line and switch everything. That is the book on how to beat us. Not sure if they have the talent to pull it off, but If they do those things aggressively even this game could be uncomfortable.

  • David Gaines

    Yogi should look at his defense before he calls anyone soft

  • N71

    What the…shhhhhh!

  • INUnivHoosier

    They don’t have AJ Hammons to stop all those layups when they extend to the three point line.

    This game is completely different than the last.

  • INUnivHoosier

    I don’t understand this?

    How on earth could a win by 27 be anything but failure? 28 is the minimum.

  • SilentBob

    Yea I think that top 25 ranking went to their head. Am I the only one who noticed the defensive intensity players like Max and James played with at Illinois and Maryland vanished almost as quickly as it appeared?

  • If Rutgers coach has watched the last two games they will by 7 points ast least. TC never makes adjustments so they be the same old team! I’m ready for a coaching change, bring back Calbert!

  • pcantidote

    Not really. Mich St and OSU did not have Hammons either and they pulled it off just fine. Again, not sure Rutgers has the talent, but the book is out there.

  • INUnivHoosier

    The OSU game wasn’t a bad shooting night from 3 like the PU game. There were a lot of silly turnovers. The PU game wasn’t a lot of silly turnovers. It was poor shooting and bad interior shot selection (getting stuffed.) The MSU game was not a bad turnover night but an awful shooting night.

    So, 3 games with 3 different results. Not sure the book is there.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Forgot to mention we had a different look with Perea at MSU, as well.

  • Bill

    We win by 20. Yogi called his team pu$$:Es. They will respond. Our best big man defender last game was Robinson.

    Holt was scared. His facial expressions said it all night. Hartman was lost. Tried but lost.

    We will bounce back. Let’s just pray like hell pUKe is nowhere near our bracket come March. This is not our year to play that height. Would get ugly.

    We win this one going away Sat.

  • pcantidote

    Your focusing on the results, I am focusing on the game plan. MSU, OSU and PU all played the exact same defense against us. They took away 3 pointers and dribble penetration with aggressive high switching defense. You beat that by feeding the post (LOL) and backcuts. So sure, some nights we will have TOs, some nights we will miss contested shots, but the book is out.

    I predict Rutgers cannot pull it off and we shoot 35 free throws.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I hope they respond like the Celtics in 84 when Bird called them sissies.

  • SilentBob

    Your looking at the results of losses and not the wins. Those three aren’t the only ones who have tried to do that. Heavy help has been more apparent to heavy switching IMO but hey everyone sees the game differently. Match ups are always key and I haven’t seen Hammons play like that since his freshmen year. Partly because we allowed it. Crean said something about preparing the team to play against both 7 footers at the same time. Maybe they would have tried it, but I thought it was a poor idea to prepare for that since they haven’t done that all season. Neither player has good conditioning and they need at least one on the floor at all times. Regardless mental errors seemed to highlight the game to me. I’ve never seen so many players in their interviews say that we didn’t follow the game plan coach gave us (I believe every player interview since has said that).

  • Hoosier Hall

    I can’t attest to whether Holt was scared or not but he actually hustled and gave effort. He has actually been one of the least disappointing guys considering his situation coming in.

  • INUnivHoosier

    The thing is, they didn’t take away 3 pointers in all those games, and they didn’t take away dribble penetration in all those games.

    You are looking at the L and the game plan, but each game plan played out differently during the game.

  • And One

    I will be very disappointed if this is a close game.

  • Gregory Spera

    As has been mentioned by Alex and others, Yogi is by far our best perimeter defender, and IMO, the little guy takes a beating on both ends of the floor, yes even on defense, since, despite his stature, he is more than willing to body-up much larger opponents.

  • SCHoosier

    Holt wasn’t “scared.” I remember one sequence where Emmitt blocked a shot and then immediately stole the pass that came back into the man he was defending. Holt just hasn’t seen anybody that big since the Jack and the Beanstalk movie. Outweighed by 50-75 pounds I thought he battled. Just a little too little in that game to make a difference..but “scared.” Nah!

  • SCHoosier

    They have an excellent but small (5-10) Point guard Mack) he can do about everything. Interestingly he seems to prefer the pass to the dribble…at least in the games I’ve seen. Also have a couple of 6-9 dudes who can get your attention. All that said..at home..IU should win by 12 unless the Hoosiers totally lay down on defense.

  • SCHoosier

    Both ya’all are smokin’ something.

  • INUnivHoosier

    I think he’s going to make a big jump over the summer. I’m excited to see him as a Sophomore.

  • Darrell Allen

    Yes Gregory, “finesse” … meaning … very athletic and talented all-around players, like TW, JBJ, RJ, CH and pure shooters like NZ & MH .. as opposed to those players who bring a true physicality to the game! While YF is normally undersized in his matchups, he generally holds his own at both ends of the court, due to his physical stature (in addition to his quickness & skill set). However, IU’s players are often smaller-built in stature; i.e. weight and most of the time height. This issue is exposed by teams who have bulkier players who are able to hang onto our “finesse” players’ jocks and not give them space to excel. Those teams who try to simply “run” with IU and/or back off on defense, do so at their own peril. Got it? JMHO

  • David Gaines

    U must not be watchin the same yogi that I am. Number 11 right? Smh… bodying bigger opponents? Did u see the second Ohio State game?

  • ForeverIU

    I want it to be a close game so we can stay on edge before traveling to Madison.

  • ForeverIU

    Yogi has been talking tough to these guys for a while I’m sure. He said after last season he was going to get in guys’ faces. I don’t think their willingness to be tough is the issue. I think Yogi can do what he does because CTC empowers him to do so and forgives him his blunders. I don’t think CTC affords the same freedom to other players, at least not to the same degree. Just my reading.

  • EdgarAllenPoor

    This could be the last game IU wins this season so let’s cheer them on.

  • EdgarAllenPoor

    To CTC’s credit he always provides a concisive post-game analysis after every IU loss and those analyses alone should warrant a contract extension. CTC just hasn’t had enough time to develop a consistent, top-level team. We need to give him a few more years.

  • TomJameson

    Hahaha … Truly a huge win would be great, not really expected, but great. Drew and INUnivHoosier were piling on with some very nice sarcasm in a good humor kind of way. I like it. Now … where is my lighter??? lol

  • Why don’t you give serious consideration to taking your negativity to some other site. Preferably MSU or U of M, both of whom we WILL beat yet this year.. Bye…

  • Not I said the wolf.. I want a near blowout, I think they’d be better suited to go to Wiscky on a real confidence builder.. Knowing their defense did the job, and they’re offense is still capable of putting up B1G numbers…

  • INUnivHoosier

    Why even comment?

  • And One

    Oh, for heaven’s sake. EAP, I don’t know you, but you are either a die-hard IU fan who has taken the last couple games very hard and fallen into despair, in which case I would tell you, chin up old boy; or you are a troll. If the latter, I’m kind of scratching my head about what satisfaction you get from coming in here amongst these good and knowledgeable people and spreading vitriol. Please consider taking up another hobby. I recommend stamp collecting. I bet you’d make a good philatelist.