Coming off a dramatic comeback victory over Northwestern, the Iowa basketball team will need to refocus as they head to New Jersey to play Rutgers.
On paper, this should be a relatively easy game for the Iowa basketball team, but anyone who has been paying attention to Big Ten basketball the last few weeks knows there are absolutely no easy games in the conference.
Rutgers is 125th in NET Rank, and they are 92nd in KenPom’s rankings. Moreover, they are currently in 11th place in the Big Ten and 12th place in terms of overall record. They are also losers of their last four games (which includes losses to Illinois and Northwestern).
Again, on paper, this should be an easy match for an Iowa basketball team that is ranked 26th in NET Rank and 25th in the KenPom rankings. However, going on the road is never an easy task.
Rutgers is currently 9-5 at home compared to a dismal 2-7 on the road whereas the Hawks are 13-2 at home and just 3-3 on the road.
That being said, Rutgers is the lowest scoring team in the Big Ten (68 points per game), and they are the second-worst shooting team hitting just 41.2% of their shots. From three-point, they are third-worst in the league hitting just 31.8% of their threes. KenPom’s advanced analytics support the notion that Rutgers flat out stinks offensively. Their adjusted efficiency margin is 170th in their nation.
Rutgers defense, however, is a much better unit. Outside of defending the three (they are 270th in the nation in that), they are effective at guarding the rim and making offenses work hard for each point. Their defensive adjusted efficiency margin ranks 55th and the average possession length of their opponents is one of the longest times in the country (18 seconds).
The two guys the Iowa basketball team will need to be on the watch for is junior forward Eugene Omoruyi, who is leading the team in scoring with 14.1 points per game and rebounding with 7.4 rebounds per game, and sophomore guard Geo Baker, who is second on the team in scoring with 13 points per game and first on the team in assists with 3.9.
This Rutgers team is one of the youngest in the nation, but they are one of the tallest meaning offensively, the Iowa basketball team will have its hands full attacking against this team. Jordan Bohannon, specifically, will have to work to create his shots against the length of Rutgers guards (none of which stand shorter than 6’4”).
For the Iowa basketball team, they will likely be at full health despite both Joe Wieskamp battling back issues against Northwestern and do-it-all forward Nicholas Baer exiting the game with an undisclosed injury.
Hopefully, the Hawks can have a bit more success converting easy buckets and won’t have to rely on any late-game heroics from Bohannon to close out this Big Ten matchup on the road in New Jersey.
Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 5 PM Central Standard Time, and it will be aired on FS1.