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Rutgers Basketball Game 12 Preview: Fordham

NCAA Basketball: Fordham at St. John Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

How To Watch, Stream & Listen

Rutgers (10-1) v. Fordham (5-6)

Where: Madison Square Garden in New York City

Tip-off: Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST

TV: None

Stream: Facebook Live - Danny Breslauer and Austin Johnson

Radio: WCTC 1450 AM - Jerry Recco & Joe Boylan; WRSU 88.7 FM - Gabe Sustick and Matt Salvatore

KenPom Rankings: Rutgers #132; Fordham #200

KenPom Prediction: Rutgers 65 FDU 61; Rutgers is given a 63% chance to win.

Series History: Fordham leads the series 19-15 but Rutgers has won the past three games. The last meeting was a 94-83 Rutgers win at the RAC on December 11, 2002.

Holiday Festival History: Rutgers has an 11-9 all-time record in this event, dating back to their first appearance in 1974.

Special Ceremony: Rutgers legend and former New York Knicks player Hollis Copeland is being honored as one of four legends by the ECAC. The ceremony will take place during halftime of the first game of the event between St. John’s and Penn State. Copeland is 5th all-time in scoring and 6th all-time in rebounding in program history.

About Fordham

The Rams are led by second year head coach Jeff Neubauer, who in his first season produced just the second winning canpaign in the past 25 years for the program. After starting the season with a 5-1 record, they’ve lost five straight games, including a 28 point drubbing to St. John’s.

The backcourt is led by 6’3” Canadian point guard Joseph Chartouny and 6’1” Antwoine Anderson, both of whom average a little more than 10 points per game. Chartouny does so much more though, as he averages just over 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals per game. Anderson averages over 2 steals himself and the duo help make Fordham one of the best teams in the country at turning over the opposition, which we will cover more in a bit.

Graduate transfer and 6’5” wing Javontae Hawkins leds the team in scoring, as he averages 13.6 points per game, along with 5.0 rebounds. The 6’7” forward from Germany, Christian Sengfelder, is right behind Hawkins with 13 points per game. He is the most prolific three-point shooter on team, more than doubling the attempts of anyone else on the roster. There is good reason for that, as he is shooting 39% from deep and averages three made field goals from behind the arc a game. JUCO transfer Will Tavares is shooting a crazy 58% from three-point range, but on just 19 attempts. He chips in almost 8 points a game, making this a team with a balanced scoring attack.

Keys To The Game

Limit Turnovers

Fordham’s strength is wrecking havoc on the opposition and turning them over at a high rate. They are currently 2nd in turnover and steal percentage in the country, 3rd in forced turnovers (20.7) & turnover margin (8.0), and 5th in steals (11.8). They will look to rattle Rutgers early, who have had some issues with a lot of turnovers in the first half of games this season. However, they have been better of late, committing only 8 turnovers against FDU and now average a more manageable 12 giveaways per game. Their progress needs to continue tomorrow, as Fordham’s best chance to win is to force Rutgers into sloppy play and to generate their offense off of turnovers. Rutgers needs to keep it simple and avoid making bad or risky passes, as well as the guards being tight with their ball handling.

Dominate The Boards

Fordham averages a putrid 27 rebounds per game and 337th in offensive rebounding percentage. Their only player taller than 6’8” is Prokop Slanina from the Czech Republic, but the 6’10” forward is only averaging 2.5 boards in just over 13 minutes per game. Rutgers is currently 6th in the country with a +12 rebounding margin and this game is an opportunity to improve on that statistic. Deshawn Freeman, who is averaging over 9 boards a game, along with 7 footer CJ Gettys, should both be blue after the game with windex residue from cleaning the glass all afternoon. Also, the guards have rebounded well all year, so look for Mike Williams and Nigel Johnson to be involved too.

Pound The Paint

Another problem Fordham has due to their lack of size is they are terrible with their 2-point defense, which they rank 335th out of 351 teams, according to KenPom. They also rarely swat away shots from their opponent, as their block percentage on offense ranks poorly at 325th. Rutgers needs to take advantage and own the paint in this game. Guards Corey Sanders, Nigel Johnson, and Mike Williams need to look for seams in the defense and attack the interior, either looking to dish to the big men or take good shots near the rim. Freeman, Gettys and Candido Sa should dominate on the blocks and establish their dominance down low early on. They need to play with an attitude that they own the paint and not relent until the final buzzer.

Limit Fordham Trips To Free Throw Line & Make Their Own

Fordham is one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country, as they average 76% from the line. Hawkins and Chartouny both shoot over 80% and Rutgers needs to be careful to avoid foul trouble. If they get commit a lot of team fouls early in both halves and get Fordham into the bonus with a lot of clock left, it will give the Rams a major advantage. On the flip side, Rutgers is shooting just 66% from the free throw line and are coming off a poor performance against FDU, when they made just 14 of 29 attempts. Hopefully, they can make a few early and build confidence. This game can easily be won or lost from the charity stripe, so limiting Fordham’s opportunities at the line and making their own is a major key in this game.

In The Bonus

It will be very interesting to see what type of turnout there is at the Garden for this Sunday matinee. It was announced yesterday that this game will be televised on Facebook live, but hopefully enough Rutgers fans take advantage of a rare game at the Garden. St. John’ s and Penn State play in the first game, so some of their fans may stick around. Fordham is located in the Bronx, so they may even have a decent student turnout as well. No matter the crowd, Rutgers needs to come out ready to play from the opening tip and take control in the world’s most famous arena. This game starts off a difficult stretch ahead for Rutgers, so they need to leave the city with a victory.