After a disappointing loss to the fifth-ranked Spartans where IU only had a one-point deficit with just over a minute and change, the Hoosiers will look to get things back on track with a road game at Rutgers on Monday night at 7:00 PM Eastern.
Indiana coming into the game barely lost their last time out, falling down the stretch to Michigan State at Assembly Hall 63-60. They gave the Spartans a big fight in one of the tougher places to win in Bloomington, backed by great rebounding. The Hoosiers outrebounded Michigan State 53-29 which was the big difference maker in what could have possibly won the game for Indiana. Juwan Morgan had a very nice game with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Freddie McSwain had 8 points and 16 rebounds.
For Rutgers, they have been downright ugly in their last five games dropping all. Their last time out, however, they gave the rival Purdue a good fight and nearly won just falling short 78-76. Free throw shooting would be the difference maker in that game, with Purdue dominating that field with 17 more makes in 19 more attempts. Rutgers did outscore Purdue 49-40 in the second half, but they could not come through down the stretch with a big stop which would have ultimately won the game for the Scarlet Knights.
Statistically, for this game, the numbers are very even between the two sides. Indiana averages 71.6 points per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field. Rutgers averages 66.8 points per contest while going 40.7 percent from the field. The defensive outlook would favor the Scarlet Knights, who yield 63.8 points per game compared to Indiana’s 71.1. Rebounding would also go Rutgers way, averaging 2.7 more boards per game. Ball movement would favor the Hoosiers, averaging 13.5 assists per game compared to just 10.4 per game from Rutgers. The defensive playmaking would be dead even between the two teams, with each side averaging 4.4 blocks and Rutgers has just a +.9 advantage on steals.
Despite the numbers favoring each side equally, IU has a tough task ahead of them. Rutgers has proved to be a strong opponent when playing in the RAC which will be the scenario Monday night. They almost beat Purdue, almost beat Michigan State, and beat Wisconsin in the same arena. Indiana holds the better overall record and Big Ten record which is why they are 1.5-point favorites. This game is going to be tight and rebounding could be the determining factor for the winning side. Overall, Indiana is going to need to play a clean game with minimal mistakes and they can win.