This is it. The previews are finished. All the talk is finished. Now it's time to back it up. Basketball starts tonight. Here are some things to look for during what should be an easy game for the Scarlet Knights:
1. Dane Miller: For most of the pre-season, fans have heard that Miller is a different player. He's ready to lead and take over games. This is the perfect time to show it. Miller needs to take the ball to the basket and put up points early. It's great to see him making his teammates better, but this is his year and he needs to start showing it tonight. Be agreessive.
2. Wally Judge: Another hyped player, Judge should be able to eat at team like St. Peter's alive. Judge needs to score through contact and make easy lay-ups and dunks. Also watch his foul numbers. In the pre-season game against Holy Family, Judge was saddled with a lot of fouls and his lay-ups weren't going down. Hopefully he starts to shake off the rust tonight.
3. The Guards: Eli Carter, Jerome Seagears, and Myles Mack are the engine that makes the Scarlet Knights go. Unfortunately, last year they seemed to either be too aggressive or too passive at times. Watch them tonight, see if they make the extra pass or take the open shot. Ideally, they'll try to get the ball inside early and let the big men take it to the hoop. If that happens, not only will it reward the team later in the season, it'll also open things up for the guards later in the game. If the guards follow the gameplan all year, this team could be very successful.
4. Rebounding: The rebounding margin isn't what fans should focus on. That better be favoring Rutgers. No, keep an eye on who are getting the boards. Are the guards forced to come back for the ball? Is Dane Miller taking charge or are Kadeem Jack and Judge doing the hard work. If the forwards are pulling the ball down, then the guards and Miler should be able to outlet for easy buckets.
5. Pacing: Rutgers should step on St. Peter's throats tonight and put them out of it early. What will Coach Mike Rice do to make sure that happens? Will he quarter court press and try to slow down St. Peter's or does he full court press a smaller team? How much zone does he play? All of these are clues to what Rutgers will look like further on down the road.
--Former Scarlet Knight small forward Patrick Jackson will be suiting up for the Peacocks as a postgraduate transfer. He last played for Kent State. Jackson never found himself under old coach Fred Hill.
--Rutgers will be selling Jersey Strong shirts tonight. Proceeds will benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. Game time is 7:30.