College basketball is all about the 3 point shot.
And, if there's anything that has beguiled Rutgers the past 2 seasons, it's defending the 3 point shot. In the first half alone, Rutgers allowed the Michigan Wolverines to make 9 threes (most of them wide open). They shot 14 for 31 for the game. Aubrey Dawkins couldn't miss, going 8 for 11 by himself.
And the offensive strategy by John Beilein was all too predictable. Spike Albrecht would drive the ball, the defense would collapse, and the point guard would find the open man--who in turn was Michigan's best shooter. If Rutgers closes out a hair better and the Wolverines make just 7 threes, Rutgers is in this game.
But, instead, Rutgers defends the paint against a team that rarely makes any points in the paint. John Beilein teams are three point shooting teams, and Rutgers needed to be prepared for that. They weren't, and it killed them.
Kadeem Jack played aggressively and dropped in 21 points, and Rutgers probably played its best offense in quite some time. They shot over 50 percent from the floor for the game. And, when Eddie Jordan was tired of the defensive effort from the starters, he sat them--and Rutgers went on a 19-0 run to close out that game.
That said, they were down 29 points before that run started. Now the losing streak is at 14, and they will finish last in the Big Ten. They will play at 7 pm, Wednesday night in the Big Ten Tournament. Their opponent is yet to be decided.
Maybe it's talent, length and speed. Maybe Jordan doesn't want to compromise his philosophies because of that talent he has, and if he can actually get some high quality guys in here, the three point defense will change.
But, at the moment, Jordan and company should adjust. Right now the defense is all to predictably bad. Three points count more than two points. Defend those. Maybe if they had a practice facility to practice in, the defense would be better... but it's not just that. The facility is about the future. This is now.
College basketball is different than the pros.
It's a three point shooting game--and today Rutgers just couldn't defend it.
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