It appears the wheels have come off for the Scarlet Knights. After starting the Big East season with promise, Rutgers' offense went into the tank and they haven't been able to get back on track. Now on a bye week, they return to action on Wednesday with 3 in a row at the RAC. But the schedule doesn't get much easier, as they next to games are against the Louisville Cardinels and Georgetwon Hoyas.
Follow that up with Seton Hall, who never takes a game in this rivalry lightly.
Needless to say, the schedule is not getting easier yet.
It's time for Rutgers to get better, no ifs, ands, or buts. This team needs to start clicking and soon, or any kind of postseason birth will be out the window, and the Knights will be looking up from the bottom of the Big East. The other teams in conference are starting to hit their stride and improving; the teams that most had pegged for the bottom of the conference.
Villanova pulled off two top 5 upsets in a week. Then Providence beat the Wildcats today on a last minute 3 pointer. DePaul sent Notre Dame and St. John's into overtime. Steve Lavin has St. John's clicking. But Rutgers hasn't hit its stride yet.
This is the perfect week to do so. Two ranked teams are coming to town, and the Knight have had a week to clear their head. While the Cardinals annihilated Marquette today, they had a 3 game losing streak knock them out of the top ten. Georgetown is firing on all cylanders, but appears to have an offense that can go south quickly. The RAC has always brought at least one upset per season. Is the Pittsburgh game going to be considered that upset? There are only a few more games with that opportunity stamped on it.
What's needs to change for Rutgers?
It's very clear that Eli Carter makes Rutgers go. When he's on (and he hasn't been, lately), the team rallies around him and their confidence grows. Carter needs to score. Perhaps, Rutgers can break Louisville's press and get him some easy baskets.
The Knights also have to take care of the ball. The past two games against Cincinnati and UConn have been turnover parties. If Rutgers had shaved 3 turnovers off their total, fans might be looking at totally different outcomes.
Getting one of the big men going can help too. Kadeem Jack has shown flashes, but Wally Judge is battling a knee injury. The week off should have helped him.
This season was supposed to be a season of opportunity for the Scarlet Knights. Long suffering fans were supposed to begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Rutgers was supposed to make their mark.
They haven't yet.
If they're going to, it has to start Wednesday night. Rutgers has to turn this thing around.