The Rutgers Scarlet Knights travel far, far away to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers tomorrow night at 9 pm on ESPNU. Nebraska is a 7.5 point favorite tomorrow. Can Rutgers hang?
1. How will traveling affect the Scarlet Knights? Rutgers needs to get used to these long trips, as the Big Ten is not as close geographically as the Big East teams were. Traveling is rough on the body, and long terms often adversely affect college teams. This is Rutgers longest trip so far this season. Will they be ready to play? Traveling to Big Ten opponents ruffled the football team in some big games, one can wonder if a big on campus arena after a long trip will rattle the hoops team.
2. How good a road team is Rutgers? On neutral and visiting courts, the Scarlet Knights are 4-2. At home, they're 5-4. On the road, they've beaten some tougher teams in Manhattan, Clemson and Vanderbilt and only lost to two ranked teams in Seton Hall and Virginia. The Scarlet Knights seem to simplify things on the road and follow the game plan. If Rutgers gives that kind of effort, they can give the Huskers a game.
3. Will they muck it up and grind? When Rutgers gambles on defense and tries to speed things up, they get blown out. It happened at Seton Hall and St. Peter's was also able to take advantage. If Rutgers slows the tempo, they play much closer games. They need to do that tomorrow.
4. Will Nebraska get healthy against the Scarlet Knights? The Cornhuskers were a pre-season Top 25 team, but haven't been able to live up to that all season. Just like Rutgers, Nebraska has struggled on the offensive end. KenPom wise, they have the 256th ranked adjusted offense. However, good teams have historically righted the ship against Rutgers, and Nebraska has to be looking at this as a win on the schedule. Rutgers will have to withstand that, and keep playing defense as well as they have most of this year.
5. Will the seniors be seniors? In road games like this, Rutgers will go as far as Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack go. If Mack is frustrated by the Cornhusker defense and Kadeem Jack gets jump shot happy, the Scarlet Knights are doomed. However, if they play their game plan, can an upset be far behind?