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Previewing Syracuse: Rutgers Basketball Game 26

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Rutgers has been off for a week, and--after a loss to Seton Hall--should be raring to go. 

Syracuse has been struggling at points this season, with some truly head-scratching losses. 

What are the keys to the game?

Find out after the jump...

Attack the Zone... One of the more interesting aspects of this game is Syracuse's 2-3 zone.  Gary Waters always had a good game plan for the zone and at least two shooters to play against it.  Usually, he'd set up an umbrella style offense.  For example, Ollie Bailey would be down along the baseline, just out of the key.  Then Dan Waterstradt would set up at the foul line.  Marquis Webb would be at the top of the three point line.  Ricky Shields and Quincy Douby would line up at the 3 point line on the wings.  I hope Mike Rice'll do the same.  I'd switch it up, a bit, however.  Gilvydas Biruta should be on the baseline.  Instead of the PF at the foul like, I'd put Dane Miller there, since that's the key position.  When he has the ball and zone collapses on him, he has 3 options.  One, pass to Biruta for a lay-in.  Two, drive to the hoop.  Three, dish to one of the wings for an open 3.  I'd have the two best three point shooters in James Beatty and Jonathan Mitchell on the wings.  Mike Coburn should be in charge of bringing the ball up and starting the offense.

Find Three Scorers....Mitchell has been solid all Big East season.  The rest of the team has been spotty.  If both Beatty and Biruta can get hot with Mitchell, RU has a chance.  That give Syracuse three players to defend and could open up Miller to play above the rim looking for tip ins.  If only Mitchell is hot, Rutgers is in trouble.  They need 3 players with 15 plus points.

 

Limit Syracuse's Outside Shot...While Rick Jackson is have a great season, from what I've seen, Brandon Triche makes the Orange go.  If Rutgers can defend him and not give him good looks at the basket, they can contain Syracuse.  It's a tall order though, as 'Cuse has a lot of open players and Rutgers hasn't closed out well on three point shots.  If they can slow the 3, they'll be able to stay in the game.

 

Keep the Crowd Out of it... The Dome is big, loud and intimidating.  If the crowd really gets going, forget it.  Play tough defense and use the shot clock.  If there isn't a lot of up and down action, you might be able to control tempo and put the Organe fans to sleep.