Now I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds: Men’s Basketball vs. Rutgers Preview
Well, this season got depressing in a hurry. After a 12-1 non-conference record, the wheels have come off the bus for the Nittany Lions. They hung in against a tough, though less-talented than usual MSU squad. That game included another wasted D.J. Newbill offensive masterpiece, a Devin Foster breakout, and Brandon Taylor invoking his inner Monty Python. Against a lesser team, the Lions might’ve snapped their losing streak. Alas, Tom Izzo-coached teams don’t lose games like this, and PSU dropped the away matchup, 66-60.
Now, we play Rutgers again. Ugh. We did this once already, so this won’t be as in-depth as usual.
The Enemy (is Everywhere)
I gave a very detailed breakdown on Rutgers when PSU last took on the Scarlet Knights. Not a ton has changed, but the Scarlet Knights did beat Wisconsin in what may be the biggest fluke in the Big Ten this year. They played Maryland, Minnesota, and Michigan to single digit defeats, and Myles Mack has stepped up even more, averaging over 20 points per game in Rutgers’ last four games. Kadeem Jack, who killed Penn State with five offensive rebounds, has stepped up his efficiency, shooting 52 percent from the floor and has taken his game back further inside where he is most dangerous. However, Rutgers is dead-last in the Big Ten in offensive efficiency since conference play began, and is, again, not that good. This is a team that Penn State, even a reeling Penn State, should be able to defeat.
How To Make Them Disappear Completely
Score more points than them. Or, more accurately, make them try to outscore you. Rutgers is last in effective field goal percentage, last in turnover rate, and second-to-last in free throw percentage in Big Ten play. The Scarlet Knights are not a good offensive team in any way, and their defense isn’t much better. They rank second-to-last in the conference in adjusted defensive efficiency, and they rarely force turnovers. Unless Myles Mack drops 40, a good basketball team should not lose to Rutgers.
KenPom Game Prep
Rutgers is a bad team that Penn State should beat. When Penn State plays bad teams it should beat, it finds a way to lose. Such is life in the BJC. However, I think this is finally the game in which the Lions break the streak. DJ goes for a cool 30, Shep finds himself after a stretch of forgettable games, and Penn State walks out with a 73-59 win. Please god, don’t let us lose to Rutgers again. I don’t think my heart can take it.