Rutgers Falls to Richmond; UMBC Preview

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Dane Miller #11 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights lays the ball up past Malik Boothe #5 of the St.Johns Red Storm during the second round of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Rutgers now sits at 3-3 as Mike Rice's squad completed an 0-2 road trip in the Cancun Tournament.  Rutgers was never actually in the second game, They fell behind 17-2 and despite some good play late in the game, could never get over the hump.  Free throws continued to be a concern.

Even more of a concern were Mike Rice's comments that some players on the team cared more about their minutes and stats than the team.

Best to forget this game and move on.  And what better way to do that than to look ahead to Monday night's match-up.

Find it after the jump....

1. Follow the Formula:  Mike Rice's formula is a simple one.  Play hard for 3 or 4 minutes straight, defend well, and get to the bench for a breather.  The players clearly weren't following that in Cancun. It's time to remodel and re-focus.  Get back to basics and do what you do and do it well.  This team is not going anywhere if they don't do what Rice wants.  Now-against some "cupcake" opponents--it's time to start over.

 

2. Make Your Free Throws: This team seems a bit more comfortable at home (3-0) than on the road (0-3).  Still, besides one game, they haven't been great at the line.  Dane Miller and Gilvydas Biruta have to focus on taking advantage of the free shots.  Their stats will improve that way.

3. Step Up Dane:  Despite the FT misses, Biruta's been playing his part offensively.  As have Myles Mack, Jerome Seagears, and Eli Carter.  Miller is still an impressive stat stuff, filling the columns, but not dominating any of them.  Miller has to get his offensive game going.  He has to be more selfish.  It may be a lot to ask for--and remember, Jonathan Mitchell didn't really find his footing as Rutgers go-to guy until Big East play last year.  But Miller has to keep getting to the rim.  He's too talented not to.

4. Make Some Threes:  Rice's offensive plan is always to attack the rim, create contact, and get to the line.  But to compete in college basketball, you need to make some 3 pointers.  Rutgers hasn't hit theirs yet.  Carter and Austin Carroll are most likely to be the shooters (with Mack and Seagears chipping in), it's time for them to come around.

5. Close out, Close out, Close out:  The freshman haven't quite grasped Rice's switching D yet, and it showed in Mexico.  Now is the time to continue to work on that defense.  Rice doesn't want to have to fall back on zone all the time.  I'm sure he'd rather just mix it in.  So RU needs to keep working on closing out on 3 point shooters.

 

Game time is 7:30 tomorrow at the RAC.

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