In the first "return game" of the 2013 Big East season, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights enter Fifth Third Arena Wednesday night looking to avenge their January 12 68-58 loss to the Bearcats in New Jersey. The Bearcats, coming off a nice long much-needed nine day break, hope to quickly knock the rust off and take care of business against a team they should handle.
The thing to watch for is a little letdown. Hopefully the team is itching to return to the court after the long break. Sometimes, however, a team will come back a little lethargic and flat. It especially can happen against a team they've already beaten previously and think - much like the St. John's game - that they can just show up and win. You'd like to think having a veteran team with a few Big East seasons under its belt that this wouldn't be an issue. But, Rutgers has talent and it's not like the Bearcats dominated the game a few weeks ago. If you recall, the first half of play was pretty forgettable on both sides.
One thing I'm hopeful of that will boost the team is a bigger crowd. Apparently the athletic department sent out complimentary tickets to those people who donated Belk Bowl tickets. I honestly have no idea how many that is, but hopefully it is enough to make a difference.
Something else to watch for initially is the mobility of Cashmere Wright. It's been widely discussed how his injury affected his play in the Syracuse game. Depending on his conditioning, his legs might still not be "game ready" and it may throw his jumper off again. It would be awfully nice to see him fully healed and ready to go.
With the team having so much time off, perhaps some of the reserves got some extra work. Obviously Mick is shortening the bench more and more as the season goes, but it would be nice not to run Cashmere and some of the veteran guys into the ground. Ge'Lawn Guyn is one of those key guys who needs to step it up. It also would be nice to see Jermaine Sanders gain some level of consistency. His jumper has looked really good lately. Having him chip in 6-8 points per night would be great.
Let's be honest, the Bearcats should win this game. A loss wouldn't kill any postseason chances, but would be incredibly disappointing. Don't care how much they win by, just win and move on. We'll deal with Seton Hall later.