Rutgers Women’s Basketball: Scarlet Knights vs Michigan State Spartans Preview
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights conclude their brief two-game road trip with a matchup with Big Ten rival Michigan State on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
The Scarlet Knights (17-6) come into the game struggling, especially away from the RAC. Rutgers has lost four of its last six games, including three straight on the road. It will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The Scarlet Knights will look for revenge after falling to the Spartans, 66-55, in Piscataway back on January 20.
Since that meeting, the Scarlet Knights have won just two of five matchups. Meanwhile, the Spartans (11-12) have had struggles of their own. Michigan State has dropped all five of its games since its victory at the RAC just over three weeks ago.
If there is one area the Spartans thrive, however, it’s on their home floor. Michigan State is 8-2 at home this season and will look to continue that success on Thursday night. On the other end, the Scarlet Knights will look to improve on their 5-4 road record.
This will be the 11th meeting all-time between the two teams, with both teams having won five games coming into the matchup on Thursday. Michigan State leads the series 4-3 in the seven games played since Rutgers joined the Big Ten.
In terms of statistics, these two teams are closely matched. The Scarlet Knights hold the advantage in scoring defense, shooting percentage, rebounds per game, turnovers per game, and blocks per game. On the other end, Michigan State holds the advantage in scoring offense, three-point shooting percentage, assists per game, and steals per game.
Keys to Victory
Defense: The Scarlet Knights just could not keep up with the explosive Maryland offense on Sunday. The result was Rutgers allowing the most points against in a game all season.
The Scarlet Knights have thrived defensively all year long, ranking ninth in field goal percentage defense and 19th in scoring defense. Michigan State is a solid offensive team, but not nearly as dynamic as Maryland. If the Scarlet Knights hope to get back on track, it will start on the defensive end.
Big Three: The Scarlet Knights struggled mightily on the offensive end in their matchup with Maryland on Sunday. Rutgers will have to find more offensive production if the team hopes to get back to its winning ways.
The Scarlet Knights are at their best when they can get balanced scoring throughout their lineup. They excel when three or more players are able to crack double-digits in scoring. Since the start of the season, the Scarlet Knights are 15-2 when three or more players put up double figures in scoring. Rutgers may need another performance like this to get its offense back on track.
Road Struggles: The Scarlet Knights enter the matchup with a road record of 5-4, but the record doesn’t tell the whole story. Rutgers began the season with a 5-1 record away from the RAC. Since then, the Scarlet Knights have dropped their last three on the road. Two of those losses were by double digits. The Scarlet Knights have the capability to be an excellent road team. If they hope to get back on track, they are going to have to overcome their recent road struggles.
Following their matchup with the Spartans, the Scarlet Knights will head home for a meeting with Michigan on Sunday at 12 p.m. at the RAC. Rutgers will look to avenge its loss to the Wolverines back on January 26.
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