After bringing their A game and still coming up short against Syracuse, Rutgers travels to Wisconsin to face probably the 2nd best team in the Big East. This is a tough game for Rutgers--of course, as we're learning any game is a tough one for this squad. Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder are great Big East players, and they are rolling right now, coming off a win at UConn.
But this is why they play the games.
Find the keys after the jump...1. Control The Tempo: The guards can't be looking to jack up 3s on a break. They have to work it around, take 25 seconds off the shot clock. Feed the big men. Get lay-ups. Get fouled. When a 3 is taken, it needs to be taken in the flow of the offense. Street ball will only result in being blown out.
2. Get Someone to Score: Rutgers hasn't won a Big East game unless at least 3 players score in double digits. Usually, though, one of those players has a breakout game. Eli Carter hasn't erupted in quite some time. In the Big East season, Myles Mack's scoring has come in bunches, but it seems like he's played 2nd fiddle. It'd be nice for Gilvydas Biruta to go on a streak. Someone needs to become undefendable. Then someone else needs to back him up.
3. Make Someone Else Beat You: Listen, DJO and Crowder are going to get their points. They're too good not to. My money would be on Odom taking advantage of the young guards. But Rutgers needs to limit them. When it comes down to crunch time, Rutgers needs to force the ball out of their hands. Make someone else make the big shot. Now, that's not going to guarantee the big shot won't go in--the Golden Eagles are really good. But it might make it a smidge more difficult. (Of course, watch Vander Blue go off for 42 points with no misses tonight.)
4. No Lead is Safe: Again, I don't have a good feeling about this game. Rutgers may not be in it from the very start. But if they are able to build a lead, they can't get comfortable. The Golden Eagle formula this season has included several double digit come backs. Marquette can explode for points at any time. Rutgers needs to play a complete 40 minute focused game.
5. Dane Miller, Dane Miller, Dane Miller: Consistency is starting to come around. Now he needs to step up. A Seton Hall-esque game (shutting down Jeremy Hazell, scoring in double digits) from last year would be perfect.
The game is at 8 pm on MSG plus.