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12/22 Big Ten Preview: Rutgers Hosts Lafayette

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Game of the Day

Lafayette Leopards at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Time/TV: 1:00 PM ET (ESPNU)

Rutgers will look to a win a third straight game today after defeating Wisconsin and Seton Hall at home last week. The Scarlet Knights have the chance to pad some wins with Lafayette and Caldwell College to close the year. There’s a serious chance they could build some momentum heading into conference play and will also face a relatively manageable schedule to start January.

Lafayette is 7-2 and coming off of a 96-56 win over Widener. The Leopards, ranked 184th in Saturday’s KenPom rankings, have won five straight and have almost matched last year’s win total of 10 games. While against lesser opposition, Lafayette is fifth in the nation in field goal percentage and third in three point percentage. Justin Jaworski leads the team with 20.7 points per game and is also hitting 47.3% of his threes, so it’ll be critical for Rutgers to slow him down.

The Scarlet Knights backcourt duo Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker are currently leading the team in scoring and have done a good job at revitalizing an offense that hasn’t always looked good in recent years. Myles Johnson has added 8.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. On the defensive side of the ball the Scarlet Knights have held opponents to 61.8 points per game, good for 40th in the nation.

Rutgers has dropped games like this in the past and playing a couple days before christmas when students are usually off campus can lead to some ugly, uninspired games. If Rutgers can slow down Jaworski than they should be fine, as long as they don’t overlook Lafayette with the holidays just a few days away.

Pick: Rutgers