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Rutgers Men's Basketball Game Preview: Wake Forest

Believe it or not, there is an actual basketball game to be played tonight!

Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

After yesterday's big news within the Rutgers athletic department, there is actually an important basketball game to be played tonight.  Eddie Jordan must be smiling with the hiring of Patrick Hobbs, the new athletic director and basketball guy. Let's hope he can bring some extra mojo to a squad desperate for their first quality win of the season.

How To Watch

TV: 7pm on ESPNU

Radio: Rutgers IMG Radio Network WOR (710 AM) & WCTC (1450 AM); WRSU (88.7 FM)

About Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons enter tonight's game with a 4-2 record.  They own wins over UMBC, Bucknell, Indiana and UCLA.  They lost to Richmond and Vanderbilt. They are a relatively young team, with their nine man rotation comprised of one senior, one junior, five sophomores, and two freshman.  Forward Devin Thomas is the lone senior and leads Wake in scoring and rebounding, averaging 18 points and 10 boards a game. They have six players averaging in double figures in scoring and four players averaging 6 or more rebounds a game.  They are shooting just 31% from three-point range and average 17 attempts from long range a game.  The frontcourt of Thomas, Cornelius Hudson (16 pts, 8 reb), Konstantinos Mitoglou (13 pts, 8 reb), and John Collins (10 pts, 6 reb) will be a major challenge for Rutgers tonight.

Three Keys to the Game

Scholarship Players Available

With Sanders and Laurent questionable for tonight's game, Eddie Jordan may only have eight scholarship players available.  That would be a unfortunate situation and extremely difficult for Rutgers to overcome against a solid Wake Forest team.  Sanders would be a major loss, as the team is not the same on the offense end and would require Bishop Daniels to play out of position at the point.  The frontcourt of Greg Lewis, Ibrahima Diallo, Deshawn Freeman and D.J. Foreman must play better than they did against Clemson last week.  Mike Williams will need to regain his shooting touch and Justin Goode will need to contribute as well.  With four days rest and another four after this game, every player on the floor needs to go full throttle tonight for Rutgers to have a chance.

Protect the Basketball

Rutgers is averaging 16 turnovers a game and with Sanders questionable to play, Daniels, Williams and Goode must handle the ball well.  No one is expecting the penetration and entry passes of Sanders, but they need to play smart and efficient.  They need to feed Freeman and Foreman in the paint, staying away from forcing outside shots.  The guards can't get caught up in one on one ball and must move the ball around the perimeter, working to get quality shots. If Daniels and Williams start chucking it up early and often, it could be a very long night.

Defense, Defense, Defense

Rutgers must put forth a better effort on the defensive end.  Their team defense has been far worse than last season and the paint has been wide open for opponents to come as they please. Rutgers must tighten up the lanes for Wake to drive and stay on their feet in the paint, avoiding foul trouble.  Williams, Freeman and Daniels have the ability to get steals in bunches and will need to do so tonight.  Jumping in passing lanes and creating pressure is a must.  They should be rested and Rutgers needs maximum effort on the defensive end to knock off Wake Forest.