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INDIANA vs. RUTGER: Game preview, odds, how-to-watch, and more

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Indiana kicks off its postseason with a game against the hosts of this very dumb, very bad Big Ten Tournament

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info / How to Watch:

Who? No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers (16-14 (9-9), #72 KenPom) vs No. 14 Rutger Scarlet Knights (14-18 (3-15), #161 KenPom)

When? Thursday, March 1st, 8:55 PM, BTN

Where? Madison Square Garden, New York Citwhy in the world is this a thing

Vegas? N/A

Pomeroy? Indiana 65-59, 70% chance of victory


After spending the entire season complaining about rushing the conference schedule along so that we could play the Big Ten Tournament in Madison Square Garden, Jim Delaney went and scheduled a non-conference game for IU. The audacity.

THE NUMBERS!

FOUR FACTORS

- eFG% TO% Off. Reb % FT Rate
- eFG% TO% Off. Reb % FT Rate
INDIANA (#95 adj. offense) 51.4 (158th) 18.3 (159th) 32.0 (70th) 35.9 (107th)
RUTGER (#23 adj. defense) 52.5 (248th) 15.8 (318th) 28.7 (170th) 27.5 (42nd)
- - - - -
RUTGER (#306 adj. offense) 47.7 (38th) 20.8 (49th) 29.2 (199th) 29.8 (91st)
INDIANA (#54 adj. defense) 50.5 (154th) 19.8 (95th) 29.9 (229th) 32.1 (146th)

At a glance, it looks like rutger’s defense is pretty elite. Twenty-third in the nation!?! That’s crazy!

[extremely Stephen A. Smith voice] HOWEVER

The Knights have been awful in conference play defensively, ranking ninth in the Big Ten in defensive efficiency, 10th in defensive eFG%, 11th in keeping opposing teams off the offensive glass and 10th in keeping teams off the line relative to field goal attempts.

In reality, IU’s first game against rutger is much closer to being reality than what the stats suggest.

Offensively? Well, hide the children. rutger is dead last in eFG%, 3P%, 2P% and second-to-last in FT%. They are 13th in free throw percentage (good job, Hoosiers), 12th in getting to the line and 10th in turnover percentage.

They broke 70 points thrice in Big Ten play. IU doubled them up in that category. While the first Indiana game was unquestionably one of their worst performances of the season, they are not a good team this year.

If you want something a bit more in-depth, check out the last preview where Swick broke down the team. Personally, I have not enough interest in rutger to dive much deeper than this.

Things To Watch:

  • RoJo mojo - The last rutger game was a bit of a kickstart for Robert Johnson. In that game, he hit four three-pointers and in the final six games of the regular season, including that one, he is shooting 54.3(!!!!) percent from deep. He’s averaging 17.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists and has generally been the player we expected him to be this season.
  • BTT struggles - I also won’t dive too deep into IU’s Big Ten Tournament struggles because they’re well-documented. Those struggles have generally come when IU is Actually Good and are upset. Last season they won a BTT game before falling and I’d imagine it’ll be the same this year. But it’d be nice if this started a nice little run for once with an upset that the Hoosiers have been oh so close to this season on numerous occasions.
  • Well-rested - IU is going to have six days off between games. That hasn’t happened since late December. After rushing to get to this point in the season, Indiana will get some rest before inevitably choking in round one and heading home.

Prediction

I can’t rule out an upset with how bad this IU team can be and how terrible they’ve been historically in this tournament. But they have been playing better over the last six games, a span that started in New Jersey. Indiana 71, rutger 58.