Rutgers is back in action after a less than inspiring win against New Hampshire. The Manhattan Jaspers, led by new degreed Steve Masiello, come into the match up at 2-5 after last year's exciting NCAA appearance. The game is not on TV, so get to the Garden or check it out on the radio.
1. Will Manhattan press? Masiello is a Rick Pitino disciple and that means trouble for Rutgers. Much like Kevin Willard's Seton Hall team, look for the Jaspers to attack, press and try to frustrate Myles Mack. This will disrupt the offense and, if the past holds true, force Rutgers into becoming an impatient jump shooting team. If that occurs, Rutgers will be in trouble. The Jaspers also force a ton of turnovers, and Rutgers is prone to giving them up. That said, Manhattan is 2-5 for a reason.
2. What impact will Bishop Daniels have? Rejoice! A modicum of guard depth returns, as Bishop Daniels appears to be healthy again, according to Jerry Carino and Josh Newman. This is great news, even though Daniels has yet to make a huge impact on the game. A healthy Daniels means both Mike Williams and Mack can get breathers and Rutgers won't have to bring in walk-ons. Daniels will also help to break the press without wearing down. He should be fresh.
3. Will Kadeem Jack assert himself? Jack has reverted into a jump shooting player again. Jack is at his best when he's attacking the basket with dunks, and electrifying his team and the crowd. Too often against Seton Hall, Jack settled for long jumpers, and against New Hampshire, he settled for the finger rolls that rarely went into the hoop. It's time for Jack to show some toughness around the rim and rattle the hoop with some dunks.
4. Does anyone care? I really hate to ask this question, because clearly the team and the coaches care. And I care. But how many fans will Rutgers get at MSG? And with no TV either, will this be a game that is lost in the ether? There is little to no excitement about this game, even though it's one of the marquee match-ups on the Out-Of-Conference schedule. The lack of TV and promotion for the Holiday Festival is disappointing. This will likely be a fun toss-up game, there should be a way to see it.
5. Who will rebound? Both Manhattan and Rutgers have had their problems gaining control of missed shots this season. The team that hustles more and gets to those loose balls will likely come out the victor. Rutgers needs Junior Etou, Greg Lewis, Kadeem Jack, DJ Foreman, and Shaquille Doorson to box out and grab the ball. That happens, it will clearly put Rutgers in a better position to win.
ALSO, I talked to Jaden Daly over at Daly Dose of Hoops to talk more about the Scarlet Knights, and what's up with this game. Check it out.