Last time these two teams faced, Rutgers lead by 4 at the half.
Corey Stokes won the second half for Villanova, and Rutgers lost by double digits. Now the Wildcats are invading the RAC. But they're facing a different Rutgers team.
What does Rutgers have to do to lead for both halves this time?
Keys to the game after the jump...Contain Corey Stokes...Listen, just like Ben Hansbrough and Kemba Walker, Stokes is going to get his points. But the key is to play him like Dane Miller played Jeremy Hazell. Force him into bad shots, and a lot of them. Make him earn his points from awkward areas on the courts. Don't give him a good look. Don't give him a reason to get hot.
Rebound... Gang Rebound... GET THE BALL!... The Villanova front court has been improving, and they were still able to out rebound Rutgers in the last game. The Scarlet Knights have been better at this as well. The team still has to gang rebound and do whatever they can to get the key rebounds and only give the Wildcats one possession per trip on offense.
Find another scorer besides Jonathan Mitchell... What Mitchell has done during the Big East season has been fantastic. But there hasn't been another player to go along with him. Whether it's Dane Miller driving to the basket or James Beatty hitting threes, Rutgers needs to find another scorer. Preferably two. Could this be a bounce back game for Gilvydas Biruta? After the swipe in the first meeting, maybe he's playing with a chip on his shoulder.
Keep the crowd in it... This helped so much during the Pittsburgh game. It's time for the students to do it again. But Rutgers has to do it's best to keep the fans in it. They need to hit some big shots and get some key stops. A loud RAC could put the team over the top.
Resist the Villanova run... The Wildcats can score. They get their points in bunches, and in the blink of an eye a team can be down by ten. Don't let that happen. Stay in the game. You want a shot at the end of the game. Which brings me to...
DON'T FOUL... Villanova is one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country. Rutgers fouls a lot. Rutgers can't give the Wildcats too many chances from the line. They'll make Rutgers pay. What's interesting about this is, Mike Rice knows it's a problem. And everytime he's spotted a problem this season, he's fixed it. The team has learned to be more vocal, to stop expecting bad things to happen, to keep their head up. Can they fix this one? It might be the biggest key to pulling at upset.
The game is tomorrow at 8. I have to work for the first half so I won't be at the RAC. I'll catch it on SNY. The rest of you get to Piscataway and BE LOUD!