When you're playing one of the most storied programs in the country and you don't follow the game plan, you're in trouble.
When you're playing one of the most storied programs in the country and they bring their A game, you're in big trouble.
Both happened last night when Rutgers took on the UNC Tarheels at Madison Square Garden.
More after the jump...All the press before the game said Rutgers needed to control the tempo. They needed to play tough defense, force turnovers, and slow the ball on offense. Use the shot clock and take good shots. UNC is known for their fast break, and the offensively challenged Scarlet Knights needed to avoid that.
However, the Knights forgot the game plan and tried to get into a foot race. And they turned the ball over. They were down 11-2 by the first TV timeout. It was even uglier by the next one. Jonathan Mitchell was able to pour in 20 points, but that was about the only bright spot for the team.
On the other hand, the Tarheels were clicking in every aspect of the game. They forced RU into turnovers and got run outs. They shot 11-23 from three point land--and they're not supposed to be a good three point shooting team. They slaughtered RU. It was never close.
So, what does this means for the Scarlet Knights? That 9-3 in the OOC portion of the schedule is a good start, but they are still a work in progress. If Rutgers is going to be a threat this year, they're going to have to be smart with the ball. When the play the big boys, such as number 8 Villanova on Sunday, they can't get blinded by the bright lights. They're going to have to be smart. Follow Rice's game plan.
This game was supposed to be a measuring stick. Rutgers didn't measure very high. Now, they have four days to get ready for the Big East season. Hopefully, Rice will get them punching the punching bag again.
Villanova on Sunday.