How To Watch & Listen
FDU (3-5) At Rutgers (7-3)
Where: The RAC (capacity 8,000)
Tip-off: Saturday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m. ET
Stream: BTN Plus (subscription required)
Radio: WCTC 1450 AM & WOR 710 AM - Jerry Recco & Joe Boylan; WRSU 88.7 FM
KenPom Rankings: Rutgers #117; FDU #274
(Note: Rutgers moved back six spots after win over NJIT)
KenPom Prediction: Rutgers 80 FDU 66; Rutgers 88% chance to win
Series History: Rutgers leads the all-time series 12-2, including winning the last three meetings.
The Knights of FDU are led by fifth year head coach Greg Herenda and enter this contest with a 3-5 record. Their only Division I victory is over Holy Cross of the Patriot League and they opened its season with 20+ point losses to Seton Hall and Penn State. FDU visits the RAC on a three game losing streak, including single digit losses to Princeton and Iona.
Fairleigh Dickinson has shot well this season as a team, as they average 48% from the field, 36% from three-point range and 71% from the free throw line. They are a relatively young team, but traditionally play Rutgers tough, even winning at the RAC four seasons ago. Even the past two seasons, FDU has only lost to Rutgers by an average of 10.5 points. The Knights have struggled this season, but are certainly no pushover and a tough game should be expected.
Here are stats for key players on FDU:
6’1” senior guard Darian Anderson - 13.8 points, 3.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals
6’8” junior forward Mike Holloway Jr. - 13.5 points, 6.1 assists, 1.0 steal
6’1” junior guard Darnell Edge - 13.3 points, 3.0 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals
5’10” freshman guard Jahlil Jenkins - 10.1 points, 4.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals
6’5” freshman forward Noah Morgan - 9.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists
6’7” freshman forward Elyjah Williams - 6.4 points, 5.1 rebounds,
Know Your Three-Point Shooters:
Noah Morgan - 11 of 23 for 47.8%
Pat McNamara - 8 of 19 for 42.1%
Darnell Edge - 16 of 40 for 40.0%
Darian Anderson - 13 of 39 for 33.3%
Keys To Victory
Tired Legs = Attack The Rim
Rutgers is playing its fourth game in seven days and it’s unlikely they'll be able to come close to the best shooting performance of the season that they produced Thursday night against NJIT. In fact, even in that game, they finished the last 4:36 of the contest without a field goal (0-4). In this matchup, Rutgers needs to attack the rim and not settle for jump shots, as they're likely to struggle from the perimeter due to tired legs. Plus FDU is a team they should be able to dominate in the paint and that doesn’t block many shots. Corey Sanders and Geo Baker need to set the tone early by creating opportunities off of dribble penetration to either dish the rock or get to the rim themselves. Finishing and converting at the free throw line are keys as well.
Turn Them Over
FDU has a turnover rate of 25.3%, which is ranked 344th out of 351 Division I teams. Rutgers has the ability to feast on turnovers in this game. Continuing my point about having tired legs in this game, forcing turnovers and scoring in transition would be ideal and minimize halfcourt possessions that could result in having to take contested jump shots. We know Rutgers has the potential to be dominant on the defensive end and with optimal pressure, the turnovers should pile up for FDU and cripple their chances for an upset.
Don't Let Them Get Hot From Three
Another recipe for low majors to win these types of games is to get hot from behind the arc and FDU is certainly capable of doing that. They are shooting 36% from three-point range and have four players who are deep threats . Rutgers has continued to defend the perimeter better this season, holding opponents to just over 30% from three-point range. Another fear with four games in a week is that fatigue will hamper their effectiveness in contesting every shot, especially from the perimeter. Rutgers can't allow too many open looks from three because FDU can make them pay.
One underrated quality we've seen from this team so far this season is their willingness to play together and share the basketball on the offensive end. They have also fully bought in on the defensive end. This is critical in this game and can help them survive against FDU, despite being worn down from this past week. Rutgers needs to be patient and rotate the basketball in the halfcourt, resisting from settling for jumpers early on in the shot clock. The players need to feed off of each other's energy and carry themselves through challenging circumstances in this game. Also, they MUST take care of the basketball in this game and not have a repeat of its season worst 19 turnovers versus NJIT.
Clean The Glass So Well They Can Eat Off It
FDU is not a strong team on the boards and are allowing its opponents to grab over 35% of offensive rebounding opportunities against them. Rutgers is 12th in Division I with a 37.6% offensive rebounding rate and they need to exploit this advantage in a big way. Tired legs will make this a bit more of a challenge, but the mentality instilled in this team to play hard and rebound every missed shot lends confidence they can still be active on the glass in a big way in this game.
In The Bonus
It’s a Saturday night during the holiday season, but hopefully the RAC can fill up to at least half capacity for this game. The louder the crowd, the more it will help Rutgers feed off of their energy and fight through the fatigue of playing a fourth game in seven days. #PackTheRAC