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Rice to Stay Next Year; Takes on DePaul Tomorrow Night

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The Big East Tournament Begins Tomorrow

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

The big news today was Tim Pernetti informing Tom Luicci of the STAR LEDGER that Coach Rice would be back next year. This is good news for the continuity of the program, and will help Rice in the recruiting wars.

The biggest concern for Mike Rice was how he'd be able to handle recruiting after the suspension. Pernetti said:

"That was a difficult situation for everybody to deal with. You never want to have to deal with something like that, but sometimes things come up and you have to deal with them. I think everyone here dealt with it effectively. The most difficult it was for anyone was for Mike.

"But I would also tell you from my close interaction with him and all of the things he has been doing throughout the suspension and following it, he has embraced the situation and has worked as hard at making himself better as he has making our players better."

Mike Rice spoke to Jerry Carino and issued a statement of his own.

Most notably:

When a coach takes over a rebuilding program, and he has almost nothing on the roster, seven scholarship players, you know at some point there’s going to be someone questioning you and at times things may be uncomfortable.

"I’m confident that this core of young, talented players along with adding some pieces is going to be successful for Rutgers.

"I’m glad Tim came out and said it, more in terms of recruiting and people speculating and trying to gain an advantage. We’re very close to closing on a couple of recruits within three weeks of the (spring) signing period. It’s important to let people know that you’re still confident in the direction of the program."

Rice has been chasing Christ the King guard Jon Severe, JUCO wing Chris Griffin and Lenard Freeman of Oak Hill High school.

So, now the strange odyssey of Mike Rice's third season comes to a close.

Now, Rice has to focus on DePaul, which he did when speaking to Matt Hladik.


Keys to the game tomorrow night:

1. Control Tempo: The Scarlet Knights can't afford to get into a footrace with the Blue Demons. Instead, Rutgers has to pick and choose their spots. There will be plenty of opportunities to score, but Rutgers is going to have to slow it down at times as well.

2. Hold on to the Ball: DePaul thrives on its press and turnovers. If Rutgers can value each possession, they can make it that much harder on DePaul.

3. Unleash the Guards: Let Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears take over. If these guys can get hot (remember Mack scored 28 at DePaul a few weeks ago), Rutgers can do damage.

4. Senioritis: Hey! Austin Johnson! Dane Miller! This is your last rodeo. Leave it all on the floor.