Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
After a horrible loss Friday night, how can Rutgers make the world right again? In one word, they can't. But they can start playing better.
What are the keys to tonight's game against Sacred Heart?
1. Don't Lose: This seems silly, but the Scarlet Knights need to learn they can't take anyone for granted. All during the pre-seaon, the players talked about learning how to win a Division I college game. They kept saying that now they learned how to do it. Then they come out and utterly embarrass themselves against St. Peters. This team needs to win this game, and do it decisively. That won't be enough to calm nerves about the season, at this point, but it'd be a start.
2. Guards, Run an Offense: Rutgers' guards were the problem Friday night. Too often they played AAU style, "It's all about me" ball. That's not going to win a game, clearly. Eli Carter, Jerome Seagears, and Myles Mack need to get the ball to the big men until they get double teamed. Once that happens, it'll open up the perimeter. They need to drive and dish, not drive into the trees and throw up a floater. They need to trust their teammates, and also trust that there stats will come as well. Too often, the guards looked like they were panicking in an "Oh NO I'm not going to score at all!" way. Don't worry about your numbers, worry about winning a game the right way.
3. Dane Miller, step up: Miller played strongly the other night, but he wasn't a leader. He didn't demand the play get better. He didn't take over the game, he didn't stop the bleeding. He was the Dane Miller of old. Miller needs to mature quickly. He wasn't invisible, but he wasn't demanding either.
4. Kadeem Jack: Jack has all the tools in the world, but he's not making the smart plays. He needs to take a breath and play within himself. Too often on the press, he's not using his feet. He's putting his hands on players and getting called for fouls. That can't happen. Jack needs to worry about defensive, blocking shots, and rebounding.
5. Pacing: Rutgers let St. Peter's run the tempo of the game. The Peacocks slowed the pace and kept Rutgers from getting out in the fast break or running a crisp halfcourt offense. This is what teams are going to to do to the Knights. But Rutgers needs to use its speed and athleticism and push the tempo. Go out, run, score, press, defend. Force turnovers and hold on to the ball yourself. 18 turnovers won't win any games. Be smart with the ball.