When: 12:00 PM ET, Sunday, March 10th, 2019
Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
How to watch: BTN (Brandon Gaudin and Jess Settles)
Now winners of three straight for the first time since January 3rd, the Indiana Hoosiers finally have some momentum on their side. They have put themselves firmly back into the discussion for an NCAA tournament berth, but they still have work to do. That work will continue Sunday when the Hoosiers welcome the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to Bloomington in a must-win contest for Indiana’s tournament hopes.
Indiana will have revenge on their mind when these two team’s tip-off on Sunday, after Rutgers won the first match-up by a score of 66-58 in one of the low points of Indiana’s season. The Hoosiers offense had significant trouble trying to break down Rutgers defense, managing just .84 points per possession on the night.
The Hoosiers also struggled to contain big man Eugene Omoruyi, who racked up a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, along with recording 2 blocks in the contest. Geo Baker also proved tough to deal with, leading the Scarlet Knights in scoring with 16, half of which came from the free-throw line.
Indiana is a much different team now than when these two teams last met. The Hoosier offense has started to find a rhythm, racking up at least 70 points in three of their last four contests, including a season-high 1.38 point per possession performance their last time out against Illinois. The return of De’Ron Davis on the inside has also helped to give the Hoosiers some more size along their frontline, and Davis has been a key ingredient in the recent surge by Indiana.
One of the most important areas for the Hoosiers to focus on in tomorrow’s contest will be rebounding. Rutgers is an aggressive team on the glass, coming in at 6th in the Big Ten in defensive rebounding percentage and 5th in the conference in offensive rebounding percentage. Rutgers dominated Indiana on the glass in the last outing 45-32, and the Scarlet Knights rely on rebounding to make up for their deficiencies offensively, where they rank just 10th in the conference in effective field goal percentage.
While a win against Rutgers at home may not be looked upon as a huge victory, it is one Indiana desperately needs to keep their tournament hopes alive. A win would mean the Hoosiers would go into the Big Ten tournament with their eyes set upon an NCAA tournament berth, something no one could have predicted just a few short weeks ago. Indiana looks to have turned a corner on the season, but they have little room for error remaining.