How To Watch, Stream & Listen
Fairleigh Dickinson (2-7) at Rutgers (9-1)
Where: The RAC in Piscataway, NJ
Tip-off: Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. EST
Stream: BTN2GO - Lou Brogno & Dick Lloyd
Radio: WCTC 1450 AM - Jerry Recco & Joe Boylan; WRSU 88.7 FM - Andrew Fafalios & Mike Antosh
KenPom Rankings: Rutgers #134; FDU #289
KenPom Prediction: Rutgers 78 FDU 66; Rutgers is given a 86% chance to win
Series History: Rutgers leads 11-2. Last season, Rutgers won 72-64.
The Knights without a color enter this game on a five game losing streak, including a 70-62 loss on the road against Ohio State on December 3rd. They also have played a lot of local schools, having lost to Seton Hall, Fordham, St. Peter’s, and Iona by double digits. Still, they are the defending champions of the Northeast Conference and are favored to repeat. FDU played tough against the Buckeyes and beat Rutgers in year one of the Eddie Jordan era, three season ago. They won’t be intimidated to play in the RAC, that’s for sure.
FDU is led by 6’1” junior guard Darian Anderson, who is averaging 19.4 points per game behind 47% shooting from the field, including 44% from three-point range. He scored 27 points against Seton Hall and is coming off a 33 point performance on Saturday against Towson. He is the type of shooter that is very hot or cold, as he has delivered five performances of 55% or better, as well as three games shooting 25% or worse.
Anderson is complemented by 6’1” point guard Stephan Jiggetts, who is averaging 13.1 points and 5.1 assists per game. He is another threat from behind the arc, where he is shooting 41% on 39 attempts this season.
The frontcourt is anchored by 6’7” sophomore forward Mike Holloway and 6’6” junior forward Earl Potts Jr. The highly efficient Holloway is shooting 57% from the floor and averages 13.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Potts Jr. is putting up even numbers of 9 points and 5 boards per game.
Overall, FDU plays a nine man rotation and is averaging a solid 74 points per game on offense. They have a low turnover rate and are shooting 51% on 2-point attempts. However, their defensive numbers are horrible and their adjusted defensive efficiency is ranked #341 out of 351 Division I teams.
Keys To The Game
Avoid Emotional Letdown
Regardless of Stony Brook having a down year and getting blown out by 38 points on the road against Hofstra last night, it was a emotionally hyped game for Rutgers against them this past weekend. At 9-1 and FDU coming in on a five game losing streak, this game has the potential to be an upset special if Rutgers doesn’t come out of the gates ready to play. They need to impose their will right from the opening tip on and not let up all night. FDU displayed a lot of heart and grit in their single digit loss at Ohio State. Rutgers wants to avoid a dogfight against their in-state opponent and break their confidence early on. They need to channel their performance against Central Connecticut State, not the one against Hartford. The leaders on this team need to step up, as Rutgers needs to pick up two wins this week before the schedule gets much more difficult.
Attack The Rim
Rutgers needs to be aggressive on offense and attack the rim at will. FDU is not a big team up front, so getting the ball into Deshawn Freeman and CJ Gettys is a must. The self dubbed “Ghost Gang” have dominated low major opponents all season and tonight should be no exception. Also, guards Corey Sanders, Nigel Johnson, and Mike Williams should look to penetrate early and often, as FDU shouldn’t be able to handle their quickness or athleticism. Head coach Steve Pikiell likes to use the term “chin to the rim” and hopefully we see a lot of crowd pleasing dunks tonight.
Defend The Three
Upsets are built off the underdog getting hot from behind the arc and FDU’s backcourt of Darian Anderson and Stephan Jiggetts are capable of hitting a bunch in this game. Rutgers needs to have good awareness of where they are on the court at all times, preventing them from getting too many open looks. This is an area that they need to work on before Big Ten play opens, as they’ve let the best shooters on opposing teams get too comfortable at times this season. They’ve overcome it against inferior competition, but they’ll suffer in conference play if it continues. Sanders, Johnson, and Williams need to be more consistent in locking down the perimeter and must be hawks tonight in their halfcourt defense.
In The Bonus
The RAC has been rumbling the past few home games and hopefully that continues tonight. Exams start at the end of the week, so hopefully students can find some time to take a study break and show up for this game. It’s the last home game until Penn State comes to town on New Year’s Day, when classes are out of session. If the crowd can buzz early, it will only help this team get off to a fast start.