Following up a big win with another win. That's the next step for this young Rutgers team. After the Florida loss, all the fans know what happened: losing a game in the last minute to USF and then getting slaughtered by WVU. Now, Rutgers has a chance to back-up the UConn win as they face off against a reeling Pittsburgh Panthers team.
It's in the Petersen Events Center, one of the most difficult places to play in the country.
Keys after the jump...1. Make Pittsburgh's Intensity: Pittsburgh, like WVU and like UConn, is going to come out very, very angry. They are coming off a loss to DePaul and are staring down the barrel of 0-4 in conference. This team has also had nearly a week to prepare for RU. Rutgers is once again facing a wounded tiger. They'll need to be just as angry. If Rutgers can be just as angry, they can keep a very loud crowd quiet.
2. Dane Miller, Dane Miller, Dane Miller: Still a key. 'Nuff said.
3. Contain Ashton Gibbs: If Gibbs is on Rutgers is in trouble. They defense is going to have to step up and cool off the senior. Gibbs is one of those players who can hit shots from anywhere in the building. I'd expect him to try and exploit the defense of Rutgers' freshman guards and Miller. If they contain Gibbs the way they did Jeremy Lamb, they'll be in very good shape.
4. Get the Ball To the Big Men: With the loss of Khem Birch to transfer, the Pittsburgh front court has been in a bit of flux. Rutgers' big men, especially Gilvydas Biruta, should be able to exploit that. If Rutgers can feed Biruta and the other big guys, and Rutgers guards can drive to the hoop, it should open up the outside shot.
5. Hit Your Free Throws: In order to win on the road, you have to make foul shots. Rutgers should get to the Free throw line several times, and they're going to have to cash in on those shots. Shoot in the 80% area and Rutgers will definitely be in the game down the stretch.
The game is tomorrow night at 7 pm on SNY.