With the threat of snow, treacherous roads, and fan interest at a low point, Rutgers is going to be playing this game in front of a tiny crowd. UNC Greensboro played little defense, is 5-5, and the Scarlet Knights beat them last year in North Carolina.
But Rutgers is 4-7 (with one of those wins being D-2 Stillman College), and are on a 4 game losing streak. There aren't any gimme games anymore. Not when you lose to Fairleigh Dickinson.
Here are some keys to help RU get off the schneid.
Play Some Defense: Rutgers has been flummoxed this year on defense, especially against teams that shoot the three pointer well. The Spartans shoot 37% from 3 and that's not bad. If they get open the way opponents have been getting open, this is a problem for the Scarlet Knights. It almost seems to be better if the Knights play a straight man to man without help. Too much passing by the opponent, too much switching by Rutgers will lead to confusion on defense and open shots. Shadow your man, then box out.
Keep the Tempo, but Follow the Plan: Rutgers' offense is improving as the year goes on, but there's still one problem and it cost them against Princeton. Whenever RU gets down by more than 2 points in the second half, they panic and play hero ball. It leads to runs by the opponents which put the game out of reach. Rutgers needs some patience and needs to make smart plays. They best players need to touch the ball in areas where they can score. That means get Myles Mack, Jerome Seagears and J.J. Moore open beyond the arc and....
Feed Kadeem Jack in the Post: Kadeem Jack is the best player on this team. But when he's gotten the ball, he's gotten it too far from the basket. He's taken deep jumpers or had to try and drive the lane. Get him the ball in the post. And hey, Kadeem, get your butt into the post and call for the ball.
This game should be right in Rutgers' wheelhouse. UNC runs, runs, runs--or they did last year. This is a good chance to put on in the win column.
But you still need to play the game.
Game is at 4 at the RAC or on ESPN-3. Talk about here.