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Purdue Basketball: Rutgers Preview

The Boilermakers head to New Jersey for a matchup against one of the best defensive teams in the nation.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers University

Overall Record: 10-8

Big 10 Record: 2-5

KenPom Ranking: 97

Basic Information

Location: Piscataway, New Jersey

Type of School: Public Research University

Mascot: Sir Henry the Scarlet Knight (See Michigan and Indiana, it’s not hard to have a mascot!)

Head Coach - Steve Pikiell

Seasons at Rutgers: 8

Other Head Coaching Jobs:

Stony Brook (‘05-’16)

Career Record: 319-270

Conference Championships: 4 (Stony Brook, ‘10, ‘12, ‘13, ‘16)

Conference Tournament Championships: 1 (Stony Brook, ‘16)

NCAA Appearances: 3 (1-3)

Final Four Appearances: 0

Kenpom Style of Play

() = National Ranking per Kenpom

Offense

Adj. Efficiency: 102.5

Avg. Poss. Length: 16 (38)

Defense

Adj. Efficiency: 94.6 (10)

Avg. Poss. Length: 18.3 (343)

Adjusted Tempo

68.5 (145)

Kenpom 4 Factors

() = National Ranking per Kenpom

Offense

Effective FG%: 43.9 (355)

Turnover %: 16.5 (129)

Off. Reb. %: 31.6 (103)

FTA/FGA: 35.2 (126)

Defense

Effective FG%: 46.1 (30)

Turnover %: 21.4 (27)

Off. Reb. %: 31.4 (267)

FTA/FGA: 30 (112)

Personnel

Rutgers Starters

Position Number Player Class Height Weight Previous Team Minutes Points Rebounds Assists
Position Number Player Class Height Weight Previous Team Minutes Points Rebounds Assists
Point Guard 0 Derek Simpson So. 6'3" 165 N/A 26.4 9.6 3.4 3.2
Shooting Guard 1 Jamichael Davis Fr. 6'2" 175 N/A 22.8 5.5 3.1 2.1
Small Forward 25 Jeremiah Williams Jr. 6'4" 177 Iowa St. / Temple 28.6 13.2 5.2 4
Power Forward 5 Aundre Hyatt Sr. 6'6" 235 LSU 26.5 11 4.8 1.4
Center 11 Clifford Omoruyi Sr. 6'11" 240 N/A 28 11.2 9 0.5

Rutgers Bench

Position Number Player Class Height Weight Previous Team Minutes Points Rebounds Assists
Position Number Player Class Height Weight Previous Team Minutes Points Rebounds Assists
Point Guard 2 Noah Fernandes Sr. 5'11" 180 UMass 21 6.4 2.1 1.6
Power Forward 9 Oskar Palmquist Sr. 6'8" 220 N/A 10.9 2.7 1.5 0.3
Forward 3 Mawot Mag Sr. 6'7" 216 N/A 27.3 9.5 3.9 1.3
Small Forward 10 Gavin Griffiths Fr. 6'8" 193 N/A 16.4 5.1 1.7 0.4

Rutgers on Offense

I’m not sure what to say about the Rutgers offense that won’t upset folks.

I’m going to try this.

Rutgers is a solid offensive team capable of scoring all the points. Purdue should fear the Scarlet Knights...

I’m sorry y’all, I can’t. I don’t mean to be disrespectful but Rutgers is one of the worst offensive teams I’ve had the displeasure of previewing.

Nothing is easy for this team. Remember in the past how Rutgers would grind down the clock and then put the ball in the hands of a shot maker? Now they jack up quick shots and don’t have “the guy” on offense. They may not even have “a guy”. Geo, Cam, Paul, and Ron aren’t coming through that door tomorrow.

The Scarlet Knights are one of the worst shooting teams in basketball, perhaps at any level. They’re hitting 29.6% from 3 (328), 43.7% from 2 (349), and 65.6 from the line (329). The only thing in the positive ledger is they don’t turn the ball over and Cliff Omoruyi is built like Greek God and can occasionally bully a matchup in the post.

Last time out he drew Coleman Hawkins of Illinois, and despite the ineptitude of the rest of the squad, put up 22 and 9 on the Illini’s dramatic center. Granted, they still lost the game 86-63, but Cliff played well.

Purdue will double any deep post look from Omoruyi and beg someone else on Rutgers to hit a shot. The best shooter of the bunch is Aundre Hyatt, hitting a robust (for Rutgers) 35%. Point Guard Derek Simpson is the only other regular contributor hitting over 30%, and he just clears the bar at 31%.

Pikiell’s only way forward in this game is to take the air out of the ball and hope one of his guys gets hot. The problem is, his team likes to take bad shots early in the shot clock. They play quick on offense and if they do that against Purdue, they better score because playing quick against Purdue is death.

Rutgers on Defense

Hey, it’s not all bad in Piscataway because their defense is as tough as ever. Pikiell nailed the long, athletic, portion of the roster build (at least in the front court) but sacrificed offensive skill.

Last season they swarmed Zach Edey, often times sending 3 defenders on the catch. When Painter went to the high pick and roll game, they continually “tagged” Edey on the roll, some times with multiple guys. Zach put up 19 and 11 on 6-10 shooting and Rutgers won the game thanks to a hot night from Paul Mulcahy (16) and Cam Spencer (14).

They knocked off Purdue at home because the Boilermakers didn’t have anything else to offer. They let Rutgers play slow, pack the paint, forced 13 turnovers, and made the game an ugly slog. That’s what they’ll look to do tomorrow, but Purdue has the confident shot makers to hurt them this time around.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a start like we saw against Michigan. Rutgers is going to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, garbage disposal, master bath, and utility closet at Zach. Throw in Omoruyi’s size and strength, and it could be tough going for the big man early. Last season that spelled trouble for Purdue.

This season when a team focuses all their attention on Edey, the rest of the Boilermakers eat. Loyer, Gillis and Jones might be the most explosive shooting trio in the nation. Loyer and Gillis are rock solid, and once Jones gets on a heater, it’s all over. Purdue can put a 12 point run on a team without Zach touching the ball. The Wolverines found that out the hard way last time out.

As long as Purdue keeps doing what they’ve been doing and don’t get bogged I don’t think Rutgers has what it takes to contain the Boilermakers attack for 40 minutes.

Matchup to Watch

Rutgers vs The Big Run

This Scarlet Knight team can’t play from behind. They’re not good enough on offense to put up the required points.

Their only way to win this game is to make it as ugly as possible, take away any sort of flow and rhythm, and hope Purdue misses open shots. The first run Purdue puts on them could be the only run Purdue needs. Look for Pikiell to burn through his timeouts any time it looks like Purdue is getting something going on offense.

If Purdue gets up early and draws the Scarlet Knights into a basketball game. It’s all over. The last thing Rutgers wants to do against Purdue is attempt to play any sort of free flowing game the showcases skill. They need this to be the rockiest or rock fights to have a chance.

Prediction

KenPom

Purdue: 76

Rutgers: 64

Confidence: 87%

Drew

Purdue: 87

Rutgers: 65

That’s right, I’m calling for a 20+ point win on the road. I don’t think you can play with Purdue if you can’t score. The Boilermakers finally have the explosive back court to complement Zach’s metronome scoring. Purdue’s guards can put a run on you, and then hand the National Player of the Year the baton and let him do his efficiency thing until it’s time for another run.

It’s hard to come back against the Boilermakers because there is always money in the Edey-stand. When things tighten up, having the best college basketball player in the world is a huge benefit. His ability to get to the line and hit free throws is the best run breaker in sports.

Purdue is going to hit Rutgers with a run in the first half that they won’t be able to recover from. The faster they play, the worse it’s going to get for them. Rutgers is a good defensive team, but Purdue is an elite offensive team.

I’ll take elite offense and solid defense (for the most part) over solid defense and putrid offense by a wide margin.

This team is on a mission and won’t overlook a team that has given them fits in recent years.