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Rutgers Basketball: 5 Questions for New Hampshire

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Rutgers returns to the RAC for the first time in four games. Can they handle the Wildcats?

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

After 2 weeks away, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights return to the RAC for a 7 pm Big Ten Network game against the New Hampshire Wildcats.  Rutgers is coming off a brutal 28 point loss to instate rival Seton hall and is looking to rebound.  The Wildcats are 5-2, losing by only 8 to Boston College.


1. Will the defense show up? When Rutgers has been at its worst--against St. Peter's and Seton Hall--they've allowed the opposition to drive into the paint and then kick out for the open 3.  UNH can score the ball.  They average 72 points, and shoot the 3 at a 36% clip.  Rutgers is going to have to really bear down and defend in this game.  As they learned against St. Peter's, this Rutgers team can't just show up and expect to win.

2. Set Myles Mack Free? The key to beating Rutgers is harassing Mack, either via the press or the double team.  Once Mack is frustrated, the offense grinds to a halt.  Rutgers needs to find a way to get Mack enough space to operate the offense.  Whether that's by having Mike Williams bring the ball up, or just setting a ton of screens, that sort of strategy is up to Eddie Jordan.  But Mack's freedom is the key.

3. Will the real Kadeem Jack and Junior Etou please stand up? Etou and Jack both had poor games against Seton Hall.  They took too many long shots, and did not use their size to their advantage.  UNH has 1 player taller than 6'8", and he's a freshman.  Jack and Etou need to pound the ball down deep near the net, get easy baskets and draw fouls.  Plus, on the defensive end, these players really need to consistently rebound.  Etou has shown he can be a beast on the boards, and he, Jack and Greg Lewis need to be for the rest of the season.  Everything is much smoother when your forwards rebound.

4. Is it time for Mike Williams to go off? Williams has been one of the bright spots on the court for Rutgers.  Ever since Bishop Daniels has gone down (and I don't know if he'll be back tomorrow), Williams has played smart, efficient ball.  He's prone to foul trouble, but he also hustles on defense.  It feels like only a matter of time before we see Williams really have a game where he's unconscious from beyond the arc.  Maybe tomorrow's the game.

5. That said, will Rutgers have trouble scoring? While UNH's schedule hasn't been a bunch of world beaters, the stats show they defend hard.  They only give up about 56 points per game, and teams shoot 28% from the three point line.  Rutgers needs to impose their will on this game, run their offense and not get frustrated.  If Rutgers is patient, they shouldn't have trouble with UNH.  However, when faced with adversity this season, the Scarlet Knights haven't responded well.  They'll need to tomorrow night.