Rutgers is clearly in a rut. This season is on the verge of being worse than last year's if it already hasn't. Now Rutgers travels to Villanova to take on the Wildcats. Villanova is flying high after beating UConn on Saturday, and are looking to make the NCAA tournament. Rutgers needs to win 4 out of 5 to be considered for the NIT.
Here are the keys:
1. The Ewing Theory: The Knicks played better without Patrick Ewing. Now it's time for Rutgers to get better without Eli Carter. Fans have bashed Carter all year for not being a smarter player, however Rutgers is a better team with him because of the scoring threat he is. The Scarlet Knights need to rally around Eli Carter and his injury, and become a better team. Each player needs to know their role and play it to their fullest potential.
2. Channel 2010-2011: When Mike Rice took over the Scarlet Knights, he got a bunch of under-recruited seniors to play smart offense and hard defense. What came of that was a formidable team. They never made a game easy for their opponent. They never got too down on themselves. They didn't win as much as some wanted (and the Tyree Graham injury hurt a ton), but if they had the talent of the current Scarlet Knights, they'd be NIT and threatening to go beyond that. It's time for this team to embrace that mentality.
3. This is Myles Mack's Team: Along with Kadeem Jack, Mack was Mike Rice's most heralded recruit. But ever since Eli Carter scored 30 some odd points against Florida, Mack has taken a backseat. That is, until Saturday against DePaul where Mack went off. He needs to keep that up and maybe even do more. He needs to realize he has teammates. Let the game come to him. He needs to create and score. A lot for one player to handle, but Mack has the mentality to do it.
4. Defend the Perimeter: Villanova always has guards. They can shoot. Rutgers needs to play a smart defense and get out on their guards and force them to drive to the hoop. 2 points is less than 3 points.
5. FEED THE BIGS: Okay, that should be clarified. The bigs needs to make lay-ups. Rutgers has blown more lay-ups this season than (fill in dirty analogy here). If Rutgers' big men make their lay-ups and Jerome Seagears and Mack play to their potential, Rutgers wins. Period.