Three Point Shooting is Improving: We’ve heard about how Rutgers is a bad 3 point shooting team and that showed early in the season, but in the last 4 games, Rutgers has upped it’s percentage to 37% from beyond the arc. Against Fordham today, they went 4-9 with Issa Thiam sitting most of the game with an illness. If Rutgers can be that consistent for the rest of the year—if this is not just a “hot” streak—37% is good enough to keep defenses honest. I am starting to think this is a legit stat, because Rutgers is taking good shots and for the most part, not forcing it.
Eugene Omoruyi: This game turned when Rutgers put Omoruyi in the game in the first half. Omoruyi forced turnovers, rebounded and passed the ball wisely. He showed some excellent basketball IQ. He and Issa Thiam have potential to turn into really good players over the course of 4 years.
Defensively, Rutgers Got a Little Lucky: After falling behind early, Rutgers switched to a zone that completely flummoxed Fordham. However, the Rams got a lot of open three point shots and bricked them. In the second half, Fordham got a little hotter. I’m not a scout, so I don’t know if this was by design or not. If Rutgers was forcing bad three point shooters to shoot, that’s good, smart defense. Otherwise, Fordham had a cold first half and Rutgers got lucky.
11-1 is 11-1: As a fan tweeted at me, if you had told me last year that Rutgers would be 11-1 right now I would have blocked you. Yes, the SOS is really bad, but that doesn’t mean anything after what Rutgers fans have sat through. And you can tell this team is getting better. Early on, Rutgers didn’t dominate bad teams and had to really grind them out before winning big (except Hartford). Now, they have started to learn a little killer instinct. They’ve won the games they should and won most of them handily.
BONUS—Now It Gets Real: Merry Christmas, Rutgers, here comes Seton Hall. Last night, Angel Delgado said that even if Rutgers was number 1 in the country, the Pirates would win Friday’s game. I don’t expect the Scarlet Knights to win, but I do expect them to show up. If this game was at the RAC, there’s be a real shot that a fired up Rutgers could knock off the Pirates. At the Rock, I’m not sure. But maybe Seton Hall will have visions of sugar plums in their heads and Rutgers can surprise. But there aren’t anymore easy games this year. Rutgers has to find 4 more wins. Can they do it?