What to watch for: Rutgers

  • 03/01/2018 8:38 am in

Indiana’s second matchup this season against Rutgers tips on Thursday at Madison Square Garden and we’re taking a look at three things to watch for in the rematch in lieu of our traditional game preview.

The matchup with the Scarlet Knights will be broadcast on BTN at approximately 8:55 p.m. ET with Kevin Kugler, Shon Morris and Rick Pizzo on the call:

· Can Indiana hold down Corey Sanders again? In IU’s first matchup this season against Rutgers in Piscataway, the Hoosiers won easily because of a strong defensive effort.

Indiana held Rutgers junior Corey Sanders to just nine points on 1-of-11 shooting in a 65-43 win. It was a true team effort as Devonte Green, Josh Newkirk and Robert Johnson all played well defensively.

Sanders, however, enters Thursday’s matchup with Indiana on the heels of a strong effort against Minnesota. He scored a game-high 23 points against the Gophers and outplayed senior Nate Mason. In addition to the 23 points, Sanders also had six rebounds, two assists and no turnovers in 36 minutes.

If Indiana is going to advance past the Scarlet Knights to face Purdue on Friday night, the Hoosiers must contain the Rutgers point guard.

· Will Juwan Morgan look refreshed after a week off? Juwan Morgan was Indiana’s MVP all season. But there’s no denying that Morgan started to wear down towards the end of the regular season.

The junior forward should have fresh legs and renewed energy when the ball tips tonight at MSG as Indiana had six days off to prepare for their Big Ten tournament opener.

The time off was important for the Hoosiers and Morgan, according to Archie Miller.

“I think that was really big,” Miller explained. “We were beat up. I know every team in the league as we finished was going down some type of stretch. We were an exhausted group, not so much physically but mentally, as well. It was a hard grind to get through January and February.”

· What kind of atmosphere will today’s games generate? The Big Ten’s decision to bring the conference tournament to New York City was, in large part, a nod to the east coast teams that have been added to the league in recent years.

Maryland got its turn to have the tournament nearby last March in Washington D.C. and now Rutgers is the de facto hometown team with the tournament in New York City. Piscataway is less than 40 miles from the Garden.

But if Wednesday’s attendance is any indication, the Big Ten tournament isn’t going to be much of a draw in the Big Apple. There were empty seats scattered throughout the building for opening round games featuring Iowa, Illinois, Rutgers and Minnesota. Tickets on the secondary market have hit rock bottom prices.

And as it turns out, as big of a deal as it was for the league to get the Big Ten Network into homes in the New York market, Wednesday’s attendance showed that the city doesn’t really care about Big Ten hoops.

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  • Lance76

    Corey Sanders is the stick that stirs that pot. As I watched the end of the Rutgers-Minny game, I remembered our defense on Sanders when IU played them. I also remember stories of RMK putting notes on lockers expressing points to limit an opposing player. If we limit Sanders to points the first contest and disrupt their flow, we win.

  • Mark Wilson

    Watching Rutgers last night, a little worried, they are pretty athletic, and seem to play harder in their “close to” home arena, still looking for our Hoosiers to put together a long winning weekend.. the 9 o’clock time slot screws me up to watch but I will be able to listen with Fish on the radio. Go Hoosiers

  • j_stew12

    I expect Rutgers to come out and hit shots tonight. Don’t be surprised if IU gets down early as we adjust to the atmosphere and competitiveness. I’d almost put Rojo on Sanders to start and get him out of rhythm early. Defense wins this game as long as we’re locked-in! Go Hoosiers!

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i personally just don’t feel a whole lot of drama andor intrigue with this game, other than we get another shot at PUke if we win as expected. that game may put a few more butts in a few more seats

  • adam

    “And as it turns out, as big of a deal as it was for the league to get the Big Ten Network into homes in the New York market, Wednesday’s attendance showed that the city doesn’t really care about Big Ten hoops.”

    but hey, at least we jacked up the schedule to do it!!!

  • Ms hoosier

    It’s tournament time you must make free throws,you can’t commit silly unforced turnovers and IU better not look past Rutgers and not play hard tough basketball or this will be there last game. Go Hoosiers

  • HuntinHoosier86

    It seems like in recent years past, anytime we’ve been in NYC for any type of tournament, the New York Hoosier fanbase really shows up. Let’s hope that continues tonight!! Can’t look past this game AT ALL!!

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Can’t look past Rutgers at all given our history in the BIG tournament, bring the D tonight and we win its as simple as that
    GO HOOSIERS!!

  • Rob

    I don’t know about that, the IU student body hasn’t been showing up for their home games.

  • Hoosiernation1887

    As a student who attends every game it pains me to say this is true. However, these aren’t students in NYC. The non-student attendance at SSAH has been pretty on par with at least the past two seasons.

  • David

    I watched last nights games off and on, and have a couple of takeaways. The announcers said MSG or New York about every other sentence, enough already we already know where the tournament is give it a rest. Also, the games were very physical, and the refs let it happen. There may be fist fights break out before a champion is crowned if they continue to call games like that.

  • Rob

    I think that’s going to change.
    I like Miller and think he’s a really good coach.
    If they get that kid from New Albany, then things will change real quick…fingers crossed!!!

  • Hardwood83

    I went to the Seton Hall game in Nov and was surprised how many other Hoosier fans were there. I think IU will represent pretty well…..of course this tourney has been in Indy many times and the Hoosiers have laid an egg. Maybe a hostile environment will help!

  • Ole Man

    Rutgers is playing their best D of the year and it’s pretty good.
    A team like that only needs one player, i.e. Sanders, to go off to beat another team (witness last night’s victory over MN.)
    IU will have to bring intensity, focus, D, and balanced offense to win.
    One last thing, if last night’s games are any indication, the refs are letting the teams beat up on one another.
    Rutgers is taller and probably more athletic if more ragged on their front line.
    If the refs continue to allow their grab and shove Rutgers could kill us, like they did MN, on the O boards and steal the game.

  • Koko

    The real proof in the pudding is how the attendance looks when
    the top four teams in the tournament hit the court and who they
    play.

  • IdahoHoosier

    This IU squad really has to be a “one game at a time” team. I hope no one is thinking about PU until after tonight’s game.

  • Banned on the Run

    Every game for the test of the season is going to be tough. It comes down to the mental aspect. You come ready to compete, or you go home.

    GO BIG RED

  • IdahoHoosier

    Lets hope our guys can mentally guide those FTs through the dang hoop!

  • coachv

    agreed. i think the game will be close but we pull it out

  • Sandra Wilson

    The Iowa game was called fairly close. They shot 41 free throws. In the Rutgers game, it just may have been that particular group of officials that let it go. The refs have been bad everywhere this season. The kids will just need to adjust. I’m not sure a closely called game with us shooting a large amount of free throws is to our advantage. FM and JS need to be really aggressive on the boards if it’s loosely called. This game will probably not be like the last time we played them, but to me there’s still no excuse for losing to them. Their offense is horrible. If we don’t allow them to change turnovers into easy baskets and play just decent defense, we’ll win.

  • coachv

    there’s no such thing as saving your legs unless you are suggesting limiting each player to no more than 20 minutes.

  • Colt

    Get Sanders frustrated and IU will win.

  • Tcuomo

    My bro is a PSU alum and got session 2 tix for $25. Alex wasn’t kidding about prices bottoming out. I’m sure the semi’s and championship game will sell better, but I think the NYC experiment was a complete failure.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Stubhub had last night’s Iowa/Illinois game tix for as low as $3 early in the day. Yikes.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Playing 2nd team more is a luxury for good and deep teams. I’d love to see it happen but IU hasn’t shown ability to blow out many teams to make that happen. They better just focus on beating Rutgers and if they are alive and in the tournament tomorrow, worry about PU.

  • John D Murphy

    We don’t have enough talent to do that.

  • StudentHoosier

    Survive and advance.

  • onehoosier

    with the stub hub seller fees.. they were just giving them away.

  • HoosierD

    The attendance on the first day of the tournament has been low, no matter the location. It may end up being low for every day of the tourney, but how about we wait longer than just the 10-14 seed games to say the “attendance showed the city doesn’t really care about Big Ten hoops”

  • Tcuomo

    He’s technically only paying $12.50 to see PSU and another $12.50 to see IU. $3 is crazy low though.

  • coachv

    what does “spinning of wheels” mean?

  • Hoosiernation1887

    I know that the article states that MSG was pretty empty for yesterday’s games but it seemed like there was a discernible advantage for Rutgers against Minnesota, I heard pro-Rutgers chants periodically throughout the game. However, IU has a big enough alumni base that I wouldn’t think there would be any kind of crowd adversity, which hopefully wouldn’t matter too much anyway as we handled Rutgers at their building. That said, we certainly can’t overlook this team mainly due to Corey Sanders; he has the ability to take over a game with his scoring on any given night.

  • AndyCapp

    “I’m not sure a closely called game with us shooting a large amount of free throws is to our advantage.”

    Good point Sandra!

  • iugradmark

    As this season has played out, I’ve watched each game as an opportunity to build for the future. The earlier Rutgers game was one of those accomplishments that we were able to capture when we proved that the team could win one of these quick turnaround games.

    I realize many people are pointing to the time off from our last game but we have not yet shown that we can come out and play passionately and win after dropping a close emotional game. Losing on senior night after playing some OT against OSU was draining. I am glad for the recovery time but I want to see how we come out and play and whether we can put these poor starts disappointing losses in our rearview mirror.

  • Hoosier 53

    So stupid to have the Big Ten Tournament in New York! ACC country. Can you see the ACC having their tournament in Chicago or Indianapolis?

  • PalmettoHoosier
  • Gunner76

    Watching the Hoosiers this year is a crap shoot.
    Who, if any, of our guards other than RJ will show up?
    How many turnovers?
    Will anyone hit free throws?
    Can anyone hit a three?
    Can we rebound?
    To much inconsistency, hard to call.
    Go Hoosiers!

  • Donnie Vick

    Not sure I’d pay $3 to see those 2 teams play.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    IU 76, Rutgers 60

  • VOXAC30

    I predict a 3 an 0 run.