Michigan Wolverines Basketball: How To Watch Michigan Basketball vs. Rutgers, Betting Line, TV Channel, More
basketball Edit

Michigan vs. Rutgers Preview, Lineup Breakdown, Prediction & More

No. 3 Michigan Wolverines basketball (14-1, 9-1 Big Ten) is all set to host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (12-7, 8-7 Big Ten) Thursday night at Crisler Center.

The Maize and Blue are fresh off an eight-point comeback win at Wisconsin Sunday, while the Scarlet Knights took down Northwestern, 64-50, Saturday evening. They have now won five of six games after previously dropping five in a row.

Michigan's offense is led by senior forward Isaiah Livers, who did not play in either matchup against Rutgers last season due to injuries. He's averaging 15 points per game and shooting 45.7 percent from long range on the year. In fact, he's the only player in college basketball (and one of two since 1992-93) to be shooting at least 49 percent overall, 45 percent from three and 90 percent from the charity stripe.

It will be a stiff challenge going up against a Scarlet Knight squad that ranks 14th in adjusted defensive efficiency by Kenpom. According to Synergy, Rutgers is allowing opponents to score just 0.865 points per possession on the whole. However, the Scarlet Knights are surrendering 0.971 points per play against post-ups, which leaves the door open for Michigan freshman center Hunter Dickinson, Livers and others to score down low (the Wolverines score 1.195 points per post up).

Speaking of paint play, Dickinson notched four offensive rebounds last game, while Rutgers redshirt junior center Myles Johnson tallied five offensive boards over the weekend against Northwestern. It should be a battle all night between the two. On top of that, Michigan blocks the most shots in the conference (5.27 per game), while Rutgers is second (5.21 per outing).

Rutgers' offense, which ranks 56th nationally in Kenpom, isn't much of a threat shooting from beyond the arc, with the team only connecting on better than 30 percent of its looks from deep in one of its last five outings. Just 32.5 percent of the squad's offense comes from long range.

The Scarlet Knights are, however, steady with the ball, only turning it over 15.5 percent of the time in league play, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten. In addition, they make good on their two-point attempts, and are connecting on 50.2 percent of such looks (fifth in the conference) during the Big Ten season.

Rutgers junior guard/forward Ron Harper Jr., one of three players scoring in double figures at 16.2 points per game, leads the charge on offense from the power forward spot, making it an intriguing matchup between he and Livers. While fifth-year senior guard Jacob Young, another Scarlet Knight to watch, isn't a starter, he has the highest offensive usage rate on the team, averages 14.1 points per game and is an excellent one-on-one defender.

Below is everything you need to know ahead of the game, including personnel breakdowns for each team, key stats, a Q&A with Richard Schnyderite of The Knight Report and more.

RELATED: 'I Heard Them' — How Juwan Howard Is Proving His Doubters Wrong

RELATED: Steve Pikiell Previews Challenge Of Playing Michigan: 'They Have Pros'

Michigan Wolverines basketball sophomore wing Franz Wagner helped U-M beat Rutgers last season at Madison Square Garden.
Michigan Wolverines basketball sophomore wing Franz Wagner helped U-M beat Rutgers last season at Madison Square Garden. (AP Images)

Michigan Wolverines Basketball vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: What Time Is The Game? What Is The Betting Line? How To Watch / Stream, More

Date: Thursday, Feb. 18

Time: 9:01 p.m. ET

Venue: Crisler Center (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

Channel: Fox Sports 1 (Stream: Fox Sports App)

On The Call: Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play) & Nick Bahe (analyst)

Radio: Detroit: WWJ-Radio (950 AM) | Ann Arbor: WWWW (102.9 FM)

On The Call: Brian Boesch (play-by-play) & Terry Mills (analyst)

Line: Michigan -9.5

Over/Under: 136.5

KenPom Prediction: Michigan 73, Rutgers 64

Clayton Sayfie Prediction: Michigan 76, Rutgers 66

Michigan Wolverines Projected Lineup

#12 - Fifth-year senior guard Mike Smith (5-11, 185) — The Columbia grad transfer is averaging 8.2 points and 5.6 assists per game (leads the Big Ten), while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 48.6 percent from deep ... His three-point field goal percentage of 65.2 percent during conference play is the best in the league.

#55 - Senior guard Eli Brooks (6-1, 185) — Posting 8.8 points, 3.4 assists and three rebounds per contest ... Shoots 41.3 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from long range.

#21 - Sophomore guard Franz Wagner (6-9, 220) — Averaging 12.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, while shooting 50 percent from the floor ... Shooting the three at 33.3 percent for the season.

#2 - Senior forward Isaiah Livers (6-7, 230) — Leads the team in scoring with 15 points per game ... Also adds 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest, while shooting 49 percent overall and 45.7 percent from three.

#1 - Freshman center Hunter Dickinson (7-1, 255) — Notching 14.9 points (second on team) and 7.7 rebounds (leads the squad) per game, while shooting 66.4 percent from the field.

Key Bench Players

#15 - Senior guard Chaundee Brown (6-5, 215) — Averaging 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game off the bench in 20.3 minutes ... Is connecting on 46.5 percent of his overall looks and 38.2 percent of his attempts from deep.

#23 - Junior forward Brandon Johns Jr. (6-8, 240) — Plays the four and five spot off the bench ... Averages 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per contest and is shooting 64.9 percent from the field.

55 - Fifth-year senior forward Austin Davis (6-10, 250) — Averaging 6.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in 11.8 minutes of work ... Shooting 67.6 percent from the field.

Click the image to sign up for TheWolverine.com, free for 60 days!
Click the image to sign up for TheWolverine.com, free for 60 days!

Rutgers Scarlet Knights Projected Lineup

#0 - Senior guard Geo Baker (6-4, 195) — One of three players scoring in double figures, averaging 10.1 points, 2.9 assists and three rebounds per night ... Shoots 41.9 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from long range.

#4 - Sophomore guard Paul Mulcahy (6-6, 210) — Averaging 5.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per night, while shooting 45.2 percent overall and 37.1 percent from long range.

#22 - Junior guard Caleb McConnell (6-7, 195) — Puts up 6.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per outing, while shooting 30.6 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from deep.

#24 - Junior guard/forward Ron Harper Jr. (6-6, 245) — Leading the team in scoring with 16.2 points per game ... Also adds 6.1 boards and 1.9 assists per tilt ... Shoots 45.6 percent overall and threes at a 32.7 percent clip.

#15 - Redshirt junior center Myles Johnson (6-11, 255) — Notches 8.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, while shooting at a 66.7 percent clip from the field.

Key Bench Players

#42 - Fifth-year senior guard Jacob Young (6-2, 185) — Plays the point guard spot the majority of the time for the Scarlet Knights and is considered a stellar on-ball defender ... Averages 14.1 points, 3.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from three-point land.

#10 - Junior guard Montez Mathis (6-4, 210) — Is the backup at the two and three spots ... Averaging 9.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game, while connecting on 41.3 percent of his shots and 34.5 percent of his looks from deep.

#5 - Freshman center Clifford Omoruyi (6-11, 240) — The former four-star recruit began the year as a starter but has since been relegated to a bench role ... Averages 4.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 68.6 percent from the field.

Team Statistics
Category Michigan Rutgers




Opp. PPG






Opp. FG%






Opp. 3FG%



Turnovers per game



Kenpom Adjusted Efficiency Ratings
Category Michigan Rutgers













There are 357 teams in Division I

Q&A With Richard Schnyderite Of The Knight Report

The Wolverine: Rutgers is a very good defensive team. In what ways do they make life difficult for opposing offenses?

RS: Honestly, it all starts with their length and ability to get a hand on just about everything. Paul Mulcahy is a 6-foot-7 point guard, Geo Baker has some length at 6-4, Caleb McConnell is a legit 6-6 maybe even 6-7, Ron Harper Jr. is a great on ball defender and Myles Johnson is prototypical paint beast. Add in Jacob Young, who is one of the fastest guards in the nation, and Montez Mathis, another on ball defender, and you can see why the Scarlet Knights are near the top in the country in both steals and blocks.

The Wolverine: What specifically is the biggest strength of the team?

RS: This is once again one of those pesky Steve Pikiell teams that thrives on defense and rebounding and they use both of those to make things happen on the offensive end. There was a point where it seemed like they were shying away from that and then they went on a five game losing streak. Now they seemed to have upped the defensive effort, but the offense has still be ehh as of late.

The Wolverine: Finish this sentence: Rutgers wins if _____________.

RS: Rutgers wins this game if they hit they play the same defense they've been playing and find a way to get Ron Harper Jr. going. It's going to be very hard to pull this one if you're Rutgers, in my opinion, but if they can get the Harper who was playing lights out early on this season and keep their bigs out of foul trouble, then they have a shot.

The Wolverine: What is your final score prediction and how do you see the game playing out?

RS: I don't think that Ron Harper Jr. comes back and Michigan is playing out of their minds lately (for example, the recent Wisconsin comeback), so I can't see how the Wolverines don't win this one. However this Rutgers team won't just roll over, so I'm going Michigan by a final score of 72-64.


• Talk about this article inside The Fort

• Watch our videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel

• Listen and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes

• Learn more about our print and digital publication, The Wolverine

• Sign up for our daily newsletter and breaking news alerts

• Follow us on Twitter: @TheWolverineMag, @Balas_Wolverine, @EJHolland_TW, @AustinFox42, @JB_ Wolverine, Clayton Sayfie and @DrewCHallett

• Like us on Facebook