It's tough to say that Rutgers basketball is at a crossroads only ten games into the year, but after two straight last minute losses where the offense faltered (a 14 minute stretch spanning both LSU and Princeton without a basket), the coach blaming himself for "not connecting" with the team, and players saying they aren't listening to him in practing.... it's about as close to a crossroads as you can get.
Thankfully, the 2-8 Monmouth basketball team comes to town.
Find out the keys of the game after the jump...1. Run the Offense the Right Way: This is what the savvy fans are going to be looking for tomorrow night. The Scarlet Knights should win easily, but how they play during that win will be interesting. If the players are still going one on one, trying to be the one to take over the game, then there's still a problem. If players are making the extra pass, setting screens, and reversing the ball, that's a sign the game is starting to change. The freshman have to let the game come to them a little more. Dane Miller needs to be a bit more selfish. Look for that tomorrow. The team needs to be disciplined... even if the shots aren't falling.
2. Keep Playing Defense: One thing that hasn't suffered has been the Scarlet Knights' effort on defense. It's easy to shrug shoulders and let the other team dictate the tempo. The Knights haven't done that. They've bore down on D, mixing zone and Rice's trademark switching man-to-man defense. This needs to keep up. Solid defense will lead to plenty of run outs and this team needs to score in transition if the half court isn't going to work.
3. Stay Off the Bench: If the Scarlet Knights aren't playing the right kind of offense tomorrow--especially the freshman, expect them to find a seat on the bench. Rice is going to have to send a message, and this is the perfect game to do it in. The Scarlet Knights shouldn't be pushed too much if they're doing things right, and should be able to win no matter who's on the court. So, Rice can afford to use the bench to send a message this game. Play the game the right way and this won't be an issue.
4. Get to the Free Throw Line: Finally, the team needs to learn the line is a weapon. You need to want to get to the free throw line as much as possible. Every time you force a foul, you hurt the other team and get an opportunity for easy points. The kids needs to take advantage of this.
7:30 tomorrow at the RAC.