How To Watch & Listen
Fordham (4-5) At Rutgers (8-3)
Where: The RAC (capacity 8,000)
Tip-off: Tuesday, December 12th at 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPNU - Dave Leno and Julianne Viani
Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: WCTC 1450 AM & WOR 710 AM, Sirius 145, XM 195 - Jerry Recco & Joe Boylan; WRSU 88.7 FM
KenPom Rankings: Rutgers #106; Fordham #231
(Note: Rutgers rose up eleven spots after the 38 point win over FDU)
KenPom Prediction: Rutgers 65 Fordham 55; Rutgers 83% chance to win
Series History: Fordham leads the all-time series 19-16, but Rutgers has won the past four meetings, including a 68-53 victory at Madison Square Garden last season.
The Rams are led by third year head coach Jeff Neubauer and enter Tuesday's contest with a 4-5 record. Their best win is a 13 point victory over Manhattan (KenPom rank #200th), while they also lost by 1 point to Miami (OH) and 2 points to Harvard. The one common opponent Fordham and Rutgers have is Florida State. The Seminoles won by 24, but were held to a season low 67 points by the Rams. Rutgers lost by 5 in what has been the closest margin of victory for Florida State this season (9-0).
Fordham is 34th in Division I in points allowed at 63.7 per game. They average 11.4 steals per game (4th in DI), force 18 turnovers (34th in DI), and opponent’s are shooting just 28.8% from three point range (28th) against them. The issue is for the Rams are due to struggles on offense, as they are shooting only 40.3% from the field and 24.1% from behind the arc. Fordham is also not a good rebounding team, so they get limited second chance points opportunities.
Here are stats for key players on FDU:
6’6” senior guard Will Tavares - 17.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.4 assists
6’10” junior forward Prokop Slanina - 12.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.3 assists, 1.1 steals
6’3” junior guard Joseph Chartouny - 10.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.8 steals, 3.7 assists
Know Your Three-Point Shooters:
Prokop Slanina - 9 of 26 for 34.6%
Ivan Rout - 15 of 44 for 34.1%
Perris Hicks - 6 of 19 for 31.6%
Rutgers Notes: The Scarlet Knights lead the country in rebounding (45.73) and offensive rebounding (16.0) per game. They are also third in scoring defense (57.3 ppg). Corey Sanders is three points shy of 1,000 for his career and Mike Williams needs 21 to do the same.
Keys To Victory
Continue Shooting Hot Streak
In the past two games, Rutgers has made 55 of 95 shots for 57.8% from the field and 10 of 25 for 40% from three-point range. It's easily the best stretch of the season shooting wise for Rutgers and it would be encouraging for this team to continue its recent success leading up to the Seton Hall game on Saturday. It's not realistic to expect this team to continue to shoot as well as it has, but if they can even just consistently stay in the 45%-50% range from the field, it would be a major improvement.
Protect The Basketball
Fordham’s defense is #1 in Division I with a 16.4% steal rate and 8th with a 25.9% turnover rate. Rutgers has done a good job most of the season in limiting turnovers and currently have a 16.5% turnover rate, 46th in Division I. However, they have struggled lately and in four of its past five games, they've committed at least 13 turnovers in those contests. Rutgers needs to protect the basketball better if they want to have success this week, as Fordham and Seton Hall will make them pay for costly giveaways. In this sense, playing a Fordham team that can turn its opponents over at a high rate is perfect preparation for Saturday's rivalry game. Rutgers needs to pass the test in this contest first.
Pound The Glass
On the other hand, Rutgers has the chance to dominate once again in the rebounding department in this game. Fordham is a weak rebounding team and rarely grabs them off of the offensive glass. The Scarlet Knights have the 8th highest offensive rebounding rate in Division I at 37.9% while the Rams are just 338th in this area (20.8%). Rutgers needs to exploit this advantage and dominate on both ends of the floor on the boards. Finishing near the rim off of offensive rebounds is key to keeping Fordham at arms length in this game as well.
Get Deshawn Freeman Going
In the past two games, Freeman has been quiet, averaging just 8.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. He wasn't needed much in the last contest in the rout of FDU, but tonight is an opportunity for him to dominate on the court. Freeman had 16 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Fordham last season. It would be encouraging to see him produce a similar performance heading into Saturday's game versus Seton Hall.
Don’t Fall In A Trap
After beating FDU by 38 points in the last game and with Seton Hall looming on Saturday, the matchup with Fordham on Tuesday could be one Rutgers might be looking past. It's unlikely that will truly happen with the coaching staff that's in place, but even so, it's important for Rutgers to start strong in this game and establish control early on. Fordham isn't the type of team that can comeback easily, as they are a weak offensive rebounding and three-point shooting team. Their biggest chance to stay in the game is through points in transition off of turnovers. If Rutgers can come out focused and play a clean game, they should win easily. If they are sloppy with the basketball and come out flat, it could be a dogfight. Their mindset entering this game will have a big impact in this one.
In The Bonus
It's the end of the semester for students and it's the holiday season for everyone, but hopefully fans will turnout to the RAC for this midweek affair. Rutgers really thrives off of the home crowd and it would be great to see that working tonight.