In just over 2 hours, Mike Rice and Kevin Willard will coach against each other for the first time. Again.
Both coaches met when Robert Morris played Hofstra in the first games of their coaching career. Robert Morris came out ahead that game. But this meeting is between two instate rivals. And it's a rivalry that has been very chippy over the years.
So, what does Rutgers have to take on against the Pirates?
Find out after the jump....
They are the engine that makes SHU go. Pope is one of the keys to SHU's game. In a loss to Georgetown the other night, SHU was winning with two minutes left, when Herb fouled out. After that, SHU couldn't get anything going and ended up losing the game. After almost dying this offseason, Pope is starting to round into shape. Gilvydas Biruta and Austin Johnson are going to have to take the ball right at Pope and try to get him in foul trouble.
Jeremy Hazell is coming back from a broken wrist. As usual, he's an unbelievable shooter and can drive to the basket. Like Pope, he's a terrible mismatch for RU, but hopefully Dane Miller and the Scarlet Knights' switching defense can fluster him and keep him in check. The last thing Rutgers wants is for Hazell to get hot and act like Austin Freeman, Corey Stokes, and Kemba Walker did.
SHU is a deep team, though not as deep as they were early in the season. They have several other talented players, who can cause problems. Johnathan Mitchell will have his hands full with Jeff Robinson, who thrives in the open court. This season he's been shooting more threes, and closing out has been one of Mitchell's weak spots.
James Beatty will most likely start on Jordan Theodore, and he and Mike Coburn will be tasked with slowing him down. If Rutgers is going to have any shot in this game, it's going to be because they executed their game plan. Control the tempo, rebound, and force Seton Hall to play a half court game. Get Pope in foul trouble. Attack the basket.
One of the interesting things to watch is Rutgers' three point shooting. Historically, the Scarlet Knights have had problems shooting in pro arenas. It's been said that the sight lines are different than the college gyms and cause the shooter to have depth perception problems. If Rutgers can overcome that, and Beatty gets hot, it could be an interesting game.
It starts at noon on SNY.