Tusslin' on the Turnpike

Chris Chambers

The school from South Orange travels to Piscataway in the first non-conference rivalry game in decades.

And so it's come to this:  Two teams that lost to Fairleigh Dickinson show up for battle.  If Rutgers wins, Eddie Jordan will get a bonus.  If Seton Hall wins, a Pirate gets its wings.  These teams are limping into this battle:  Rutgers is a game under .500, and Seton Hall is ravaged by injuries (Maybe they occurred during all the swashbuckling?)

Previous history suggests a bloody battle. However, with snow in the forecast right at the time people will be traveling, there might not be anyone there to see it.

But here's your preview:

Reasons for Optimism

--Rutgers will be up for this game.  It's the instate rivalry, it's at home, and it's your only shot at these guys.  The players on these teams have been playing against each other for ages--these kids want to bring home a W.

--Fuquan Edwin is unlikely to play.  That means Seton Hall will be without its two best players (Patrick Auda hurt himself too).  Rutgers can take advantage of this, as they'll be pretty much whole.

--The offense seems to be clicking again.  The guards were on for the George Washington game and Seton Hall is no GW.  If the guards are 80% of what they were last Wednesday, it should put RU in pretty good shape.

--Rutgers is deeper and more talented down low.  While Eugene Teague is a load and Brandon Mobley is good when he gets rolling, Wally Judge, Kadeem Jack, and Junior Etou should be able to overpower them.

Reasons to Be Pessimistic

--The defense is key in this game.  Too often, Rutgers' D has shaded to the strong side and left a 3 point shooter open on the weak side.  Rotations have been slow and in nearly every game, a 3 point shooter has hurt Rutgers.  Brian Oliver hit 8 (I think) 3s against LIU the other night.  With all the Pirate shooters, someone will find themselves open there.

--Rebounding.  Both teams are terrible at it, but Rutgers is "ugh."  They need to get stops and then secure the ball.  Too often teams get second chances and punish RU.

--A silent crowd.  Like I said, some snow is coming.  It's going to mess up the roads.  It's a football Sunday and the GIants play at 4.  It's a school night.  The teams are bad.  There won't be much energy to get the Knights going.  The RAC will play more like a neutral court.

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