Boston University (3-3) At Rutgers (3-1)
How To Watch, Listen, News & Notes
Where: The RAC in Piscataway, New Jersey
Tip-off: Friday, November 23rd at 2:00 p.m. ET
Stream: BTN Plus (subscription $) - Ralph Bednarczyk & Danny Breslauer
Buy Tickets here
Radio: Rutgers IMG Sports Network of WCTC 1450 AM/WOR 710 AM, XM 386 - Jerry Recco & Joe Boylan; WRSU 88.7 FM - Justin Sontupe & Chris Tsakonas)
KenPom Rankings: Rutgers #108; Boston University #228
(Rutgers moved up 28 spots since win over Eastern Michigan)
KenPom Prediction: Rutgers 74 BU 63; Rutgers has an 84% chance to win.
Vegas Line: Rutgers -12.5
Series History: Rutgers leads 13-5 all-time, including a 81-79 Scarlet Knights victory in 2012 the last time the two programs met.
Mutual Opponents: Rutgers defeated Drexel 95-66 and Eastern Michigan 63-36, while BU lost to Drexel 86-67 and Eastern Michigan 80-62.
About Boston University
Head coach Joe Jones is in his eighth season at BU and has a record of 125-105. He is also the brother of Yale head coach James Jones. The Terriers went 15-16 last season and were picked to finish in fourth place in the preseason poll for the Patriot League. They are off to a good start shooting wise with KenPom rankings of 109th in effective field goal percentage, 112th in 2-point field goal percentage and 132nd in 3-point field goal percentage out of 353 Division I teams. However they are ranked 339th in free throw percentage, making just 57.3% from the line.
They are struggling on the defensive end, as BU has a defensive efficiency rating ranked 268th and are ranked 240th or worse in offensive rebounding percentage (240th), 2-point field goal percentage (289th), turnover percentage (301st), and block percentage (307th). The one area defensively they have been strong in is defending the three-point shot, as they are ranked 94th in defending it.
Boston University returns four starters, but sophomore wing Walter Whyte has yet to play in a game this season. They are led by Basking Ridge native and 6’8” junior forward Max Mahoney, who is averaging 16.2 points on 66.8% shooting from the field, as well as 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist in only 23.6 minutes per contest. 6’7” junior forward Tyler Scanlon is averaging 12.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.0 steals in 33.0 minutes per game. The third player scoring in double figures is 6’5” sophomore guard Javante McCoy, who is posting 12.3 points behind 50% shooting from three-point range (13-26), while grabbing 3.3 rebounds and dishing out 2.7 assists in 27.7 minutes per game.
Keys To Victory
Win Turnover Battle
BU hasn’t turned its opponents over very well so far this season, so Rutgers should improve in taking care of the basketball. The one thing they did poorly in the dominant win over Eastern Michigan was commit 20 turnovers. The zone and fullcourt pressure caused problems at times, so Rutgers needs to improve in this area. However, this is a matchup they should have better ball control if they play smart, while have an opportunity to force BU into some mistakes and use their athleticism to score in transition.
Dominate The Boards
Rutgers is a much bigger team than BU and the Terriers average only 35 rebounds per game. The Scarlet Knights should be aggressive inside and should be able to dominate second chance points off of offensive rebounds. Considering BU is a poor free throw shooting team, they need to clean the glass off of misses from the line and look to run as well.
Don’t Force Three-Pointers
Rutgers looked much more comfortable in it’s halfcourt approach against Eastern Michigan, despite playing against a zone, because they shared the basketball so well. They didn’t force three-point attempts, like they did against St. John’s, which led to better looks from behind the arc. They ended up making 10 of 24 attempts from three and it was due to sound ball movement and generating open looks from deep. Rutgers needs to learn from that and pick their spots in this game, as they could benefit from attacking the rim early, which could lead to more open looks from three as the game progresses.
Make Free Throws
Rutgers has made just 42 of 76 attempts from the free throw line this season, which is just 55.3% and rank four spots worse than BU in the KenPom rankings at 343rd. Geo Baker, Eugene Omoruyi, and Peter Kiss are all averaging better than 71% from the line, so if they can attack the rim and generate opportunities from the charity stripe, it would benefit the Rutgers offense greatly.
Avoid Turkey Hangover
Rutgers can’t let the unexpectedly easy win against Eastern Michigan and the spoils of Thanksgiving lead to a poor performance on Black Friday. It’s a midday tip and students are home for the holiday, so it’s a game they need to bring energy from within and avoid coming out flat. BU can shoot well and is a team Rutgers doesn’t want to allow to gain confidence as the game progresses. They’ve lost its last two games, but they beat a top 100 team in Northeastern to start the season who already beat Harvard and Alabama of late. Two years ago, Black Friday was the game that Rutgers needed a ridiculous comeback in the final five minutes to beat Hartford on a C.J. Gettys buzzer beater. This team needs to take care of business and move on to preparing for a difficult three game stretch that follows next week (at Miami, Michigan State, at Wisconsin).
In The Bonus
There are probably a solid amount of BU students home for the holiday that hail from the Garden State, so there could be a decent turnout for this game, along with Rutgers fans. This team proved a lot in how they responded after the loss to St. John’s by throttling EMU on Monday. Rutgers needs to build off of that performance and win this game in commanding fashion like they should. If you can get to the RAC for this matchup, you should go, as this team is going to be fun to watch develop as the season progresses.