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Rutgers vs. Dartmouth: Basketball Preview Game 1

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Dartmouth comes into this game picked last in the IVY League.  They didn't win many games last year and the experts don't expect to win many more this year. 

You've seen the hype for Rutgers, however.  This is supposed to be the year the turnaround starts.  7 highly ranked freshman, no seniors and a Coach who wants to step on his opponents.

So, what does Rutgers have to do to start the season off on the right foot?

Find out after the jump...

KEYS TO THE GAME:

1. Control Your Emotions:  Face it, they're freshman.  And they're playing in their first collegiate game.  Emotions are going to run high and that can take a player one of two ways.  It can help them have the game of their lives, or it can screw them up completely.  This team shouldn't come out tight and nervous.  You want them loosey-goosey and playing with an easy confidence.  If that happens, this game will be a rout.  If the freshman are tight, that could lead to an interesting evening.  Dartmouth has 3 seniors that can right a ship and keep their team calm.

2. Dominate the Boards:  This was a problem all last year.  Rutgers could not out-rebound their opponents, and even when they did, they still gave up key offensive rebounds to give away leads.  Not that Rutgers has a deeper front court, you want to see the Scarlet Knights dominate a team that has only two players over 6'8'.  If Rutgers can dominate the rebounds (and get some offensive rebounds), that's a sign there might be hope in the rebounding category this year.  Especially once Kadeem Jack returns.

3. Turnovers:  Rutgers will have to control the ball all year.  And with 3 freshman guards getting the majority of the playing time this year, turnovers might be a problem.  Watch the assist to turnover ratio tonight.  This is another way Dartmouth might keep it close, stealing the ball and hitting 3s.  If Rutgers controls the ball and doesn't turn the ball over, they win going away.

4. Who Will Be the Leader?  Dane Miller and Austin Johnson have said all the right things during practice this year, but now they have to show it on the court.  Miller hasn't ever seemed to be the type to want to lead his team in scoring--preferring to pass the ball to an open teammate.  Austin Johnson got pushed around by Rutgers-Newark last Sunday.  At least one of these players has to step up and have a big game.  Show the world on the first day of that season that this year just isn't about freshman.  Look for Miller to throw it down any chance he gets.

5. How Long Does Mike Rice Keep His Jacket On?  This was always the eyeball test for how well the team was playing early in the year.  At times, the jacket didn't make it to the first TV timeout.  I don't expect it to tonight.