Mississippi State basketball vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights features matchup of stifling defenses

Chris Jans and the Mississippi State men's basketball team will have the delightful task of accounting for the stifling defense that the Rutgers Scarlet Knights bring every time they play. But Rutgers will deal with that as well.

Dec 3, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Chris Jans watches
Dec 3, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Chris Jans watches / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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Arguably one of the more intriguing storylines of the upcoming non-conference clash between Chris Jans’ Mississippi State men’s basketball team and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights is that both of these teams boast strong defenses. 

While Mississippi State basketball fans love to boast about how the MSU Bulldogs are great on defense, MSU fans will need to be aware of the fact that Rutgers is one of the best teams in the country at smothering opposing offenses. 

So, yeah, this game could get a little ugly as both Mississippi State and Rutgers love to smother their opponents. 

Entering into this game, Rutgers sits at No. 8 in the country when it comes to blocking folks at 6.4 blocks per game. The Scarlet Knights pull down an absurd 60.9 rebounds per game (good for No. 9 in the nation. 

Oh, and Rutgers is holding folks to a 37.6 percent field goal percentage.

Mississippi State basketball vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights features matchup of stifling, smothering defenses

Meanwhile, Mississippi State is holding folks to 63 points per game (the best such mark in the Southeastern Conference) while limiting folks to a 38.5 percent field goal percentage. 

Opponents have routinely struggled to find any sort of rhythm against either of these defenses. And again, that might just make this game a little ugly to watch (at least for fans of offense and points being scored).

So, what will happen when these two defenses match up? It’s not exactly a case of an unstoppable force meeting up with an immovable object. Rather, this feels like two immovable objects butting heads repeatedly.

Both of these coaching staffs will need to add a few new wrinkles to their gameplans. If the Bulldogs can find some success from shooting deep, that’ll give them a chance to avoid Rutgers’ center Clifford Omoruyi (who is averaging 3.7 blocks per game).

But maybe Jans has another plan. Who knows? I’m not a basketball savant, but Jans seems to be one.