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Rutgers Basketball Game #1 Preview vs. CCNY

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The season opener is here!!!

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

How To Watch & Listen

CCNY At Rutgers

Where: The RAC

Tip-off: Friday, November 10th at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV: None

Stream: BTN2GO (Subscription required)

Radio: WCTC 1450 AM & WOR 710 AM - Jerry Recco & Joe Boylan; WRSU 88.7 FM

KenPom Rankings: Rutgers #125, CCNY N/A

KenPom Prediction: Rutgers to win 100%

Series History: CCNY leads 2-0, both 2 point victories came in back to back seasons between 1951-1953.

About CCNY

The Division III team from New York City produced its best record last season at 17-10 since the program's glory days back in 1949-1950. That team was the only in NCAA history to ever win the NIT and NCAA Tournaments in the same season. Of course, the two tournaments are setup differently nowadays and that feat is no longer attainable. After a major gambling scandal ruined the program, the school opted to move from Division I to Division III.

CCNY lost their top four scorers from last season and appear to be in full rebuild mode. Senior forward Salvatore Paalazzolo is the teams leading returning scorer and rebounder, as he averaged 5.4 points and 4.3 boards per game last season. Senior guard Brendan Hauser averaged 3.7 points and 1.7 assists. There are only three seniors on the roster and CCNY lists ten freshmen on the roster. They are led by first year head coach Paul Dail.

What To Watch For

Rotation

We had a sneak preview of this team on Sunday in the 80-78 exhibition win over St. John's. Head coach Steve Pikiell played it like a Big Ten game and gave a lot of minutes to his starters. Tonight, I expect Pikiell will likely experiment more and empty the bench in the second half to get everyone some experience. Rutgers opens the season with three games in five days, so don't expect Corey Sanders, Deshawn Freeman, and Mike Williams to play too much after halftime, assuming Rutgers is way out in front, as they should be. It will be an opportunity for the bench to get some valuable minutes and the newcomers to ease their way into the college game.

Health Of Mike Williams

Speaking of Williams, it was reported by Jerry Carino this week that the injury he suffered on Sunday was minor and that he is fine. That is a huge relief, but it would be even better to see Mike running the floor in tonight's game. If he is held out, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing to make sure he's given time to fully recover. If he plays though, it would be clear he is fine and would put concern of any issue lingering to bed. Obviously the staff will do what's best for Williams. It would just be nice to see him roaming the perimeter tonight, even for a brief time, ensuring the senior captain starts his last go around on the banks healthy. In the time he was on the court against St. John’s, he looked locked in and primed for a big year.

Efficiency On Offense

CCNY shouldn't offer much of a challenge in defending against Rutgers. What's important is that Rutgers is efficient with the basketball and dominates offensively the way they should against a Division III team. It's only the season opener, but it would be encouraging to see crisp and organized play on offense. After Sunday's tuneup against St.John's, Rutgers should be able to build off of that performance and dominate offensively in this game. They shouldn’t get complacent and three-point happy, but rather, dominate inside and take high percentage shots. Their performance against Central Connecticut State last season, when they realized they couldn’t be stopped inside, is the blueprint for the approach they should take tonight.

Lockdown Defense

On the flip side, Rutgers should dominate on the defensive end as well in this game. I want to see the players locked in and imposing their will to suffocate CCNY on offense. There is a decent chance Rutgers can hold CCNY to under 40 points in this game, but it’s more important to see the effort of this team to not take any possessions off. This game should get out of hand quickly, but how focused they play in the second half will tell us a lot about the mindset of this team entering this season. Pikiell will surely be all over this team to ensure they play hard throughout, regardless of what the scoreboard says. Those types of steps are important as this team looks to make steady progress this season.

For our entire season preview storystream, click here.