The seeds for this 18 point, embarrassing loss were planted almost 18 years ago, and finally bloomed.
Like Reaganomics, this has been a trickle down effect of carelessness, neglect and failed leadership. This is the result of Jay Williams going to Duke, Troy Murphy going to Notre Dame, naked free throws, a missed rebound, a blizzard, handing the keys to freshmen twice, tons of transfers, waiting too long to fire coaches and focusing on football. This is because years ago, an AD went into the opponent's locker room and allegedly gave a pep talk. This is a series of terrible hires and an inability to guarantee to candidates a facilities upgrade. This is the result of Outside the Lines.
This is about a lack of a plan to build, create and inspire. This is about not announcing a plan to build a Rutgers practice facility or new arena.
Is it the Curse of Jay Wright? The Curse of John Beilein? The Curse of 1000 other coaches who have turned the Scarlet Knights down?
Failure of the team to be competitive tonight is a long term result of a desire of administration to be competitive in basketball.
The Rutgers basketball team did not come to play tonight, and the St. Peter's Peacocks blitzed them. But-other than the final score-how is that different from any of the other "shocking" losses in the past 18 years? The losses to Jackson State and Bradley and St. Peter's. The ragged offense, and missed defensive assignments? A team that jumps into the fray too late?
Rutgers hit rock bottom again tonight. And it's hard to blame the players. It's hard to blame the coach.
Too little talent means the talented players on the team try to do too much. Myles Mack too often trying to raise his team's morale by taking a long three that would never fall. Kadeem Jack trying to put the team on his shoulders, only to be triple teamed. Junior Etou played like a man possessed at times tonight, and still couldn't drag the Scarlet Knights back into it.
Meanwhile, St. Peter's did everything right. They played like a poor man's Big Ten team: tough, stifling defense and great ball movement leading to open threes. If the Peacocks can do this to the Scarlet Knights, what will Michigan do?
It's game 4. Rutgers is 2 and 2, and there is a lot of time left. Jack might knock the rust off and go on to do great things. Bishop Daniels might find his way out of Eddie Jordan's doghouse and become the second guard Rutgers needs.
But this does not come down on Eddie Jordan. The man has forgotten more about coaching basketball than most have learned. This is about commitment.
This is about committing to build and care about the the roundball. Because how can you expect talent to commit to you, when you can't commit to them.
Firing Eddie Jordan won't fix this. Who else would come here without promise of a plan?
What plan is there? A rumored Athletic Village, maybe. One on a remote campus no where near where the players live. Perhaps. If it's feasible.
Eddie Jordan can win here, given the correct tools. And the players who stuck it out through Mike Rice deserved more. But this is a long rebuilding process, and it will require everyone--not just the coaches and the players to be all in. Rutgers needs to play harder game to game.
Eighteen years of neglect, and here Rutgers is losing by 18 points to an MAAC team that was 0-4 coming in--and missing their best player. The game plan and the execution was flawed tongiht.
The plan for Rutgers basketball has been flawed for eighteen years--except for a minor blip in 2011-2012. And that never got off the ground because of those other mistakes.
To get out of this hole, Rutgers needs to be competitive. From the coaches, from the players, from administration.
It wasn't there tonight. One wonders how long until those in charge care to make it that way.
Jay Williams, Jay Wright, Lance Thomas. Missed opportunities. It's time to end these series of losses.
Maybe it can start with the team. Vanderbilt meets the Scarlet Knights in Brooklyn Friday.
Like mystery novels? Read Dave White's crime novels on your e-Reader. When One Man Dies is available on Kindle, Nook and anywhere else e-books are sold. You can also find the Shamus Award nominated The Evil That Men Do and the best selling Witness to Death in the same places. Cheaper than Starbucks coffee!
Comments, opinions, you can reach Dave here.