Rutgers travelled to Memphis today, after playing its best basketball over the year over the past 3 games. Now it's time for the AAC Tournament, a wonderful moment in college hoops when anything can happen. Get a player or two hot over a 4 game stretch... and therein lie miracles.
And so, tomorrow night at 7:00, Rutgers will take on the South Florida Bulls, the only team they beat twice this year, and the last place team in the AAC. Win that and they move on to face the Louisville Cardinals who trounced Rutgers by 48 earlier this season.
But let's take it 1 game at a time and talk about what the Scarlet Knights have to do to beat the Bulls.
--Feed Kadeem Jack: In both games Jack was the motor that made Rutgers win. In the Sunshine State, Jack was unstoppable, scoring 31 points and going 13-13 from the Free Throw line. At the RAC, USF made Jack very uncomfortable, at times triple teaming him, but Jack still managed to score 20 including the game winner with 11 seconds left. Jack clearly befuddles South Florida, so keep giving him the ball.
--Limit Victor Rudd: At the RAC, RU allowed Rudd to get comfortable and he scored 26 points on volume shooting. He was a thorn in their side on the road as well, throwing down a thunderous dunk that almost brought the Bulls back in the game. Rutgers needs to stick their best defender on him.
--Play Within the Offense: When Rutgers does this, they look like a team that belongs with some of the better teams in conference. However, all season, too often they get into Me Too mode. This is something to keep an eye on JJ Moore with. He's only 11 points shy of 1000 for his career. You know he wants those points.
--Rebound, Rebound, Rebound: The Bulls are not a great offensive team, so Rutgers can't give them second chances.
--Step on Their Throats: It's very tough to beat a team 3 times in one year. If RU manages to get up early, keep pushing until the final buzzer. You don't want to give USF any confidence.
Do that and RU is looking at a rematch with the Cardinals.