Myles Mack, Kadeem Jack and Eddie Jordan return to the RAC Sunday to take on Thad Matta's Buckeye squad. The RAC is sold out--except for students, who need to get their butts there to help the team. Rutgers has lost 7 straight games and are looking to get off the mat.
1. Who can contain D'Angelo Russell? The 6'5" freshman point guard is almost a shoe-in for Big Ten Rookie of The Year, and is averaging 19.4 points per game, and shooting almost 45% from three point range. At 6'5", he'll easily be able to shoot over Myles Mack, so Rutgers is going to have to give him a different look. Expect to see Bishop Daniels get most of the assignment, but maybe Malick Kone can give it a go as well.
2. Will Mike Williams be healthy? Rutgers should be decently rested--they haven't played a game since Tuesday. But the guard depth is still an issue, with Mack playing nearly all of the games so far this year. Mack is wearing down and someone needs to be able to spell him and Daniels at times. Williams is also Rutgers' best perimeter defender, and could be used to try and slow Russell. But after coming off a severely sprain ankle, the last we heard was Williams "might" play Sunday. Look for an update in the next 24 hours.
3. Is Ohio State a bad road team? The Buckeyes are just 2-5 on the road this season. In years past, this would be the death knell for a ranked team coming to the RAC. But, despite the Wisconsin win, Rutgers has played better on the road this year. This is one of those last ditch senior effort kind of games for Jack and Mack, and they need to take advantage. They need to have big games to keep Ohio State from getting back on track on the road.
4. Who will be the third scorer? Junior Etou, Bishop Daniels... anyone? Mack and Jack need help big time. Someone needs to take advantage of the Buckeye's defensive focus on Mack and Jack and take it to the hoop--or make an open three. Rutgers can't win if only two players score. Someone needs to step up, but someone has had to step up all season.
5. Will the students be there? As I said in the lede, this game is sold out--except for the student section. College basketball is on TV all the time. Students can turn on ESPN and see what kind of impact they can have on game. But they have to show up and they have to be loud and wacky. At some point, Rutgers' students have to try and bring the noise, the craziness and the wackiness that makes college hoops fun. Get in Ohio State's brain. Give your athletic classmates some confidence. There isn't another football game for 7 months. Come out, cheer and have fun.
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