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Previewing Rutgers


Conference: Big East
Record: 12-7 (3-4)
Last Five: 3-2
TV: FSN Ohio/Big East Network/ESPN3

After the dramatics of Saturday's win against Saint John's UC returns home to face off against the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers under first year head coach Mike Rice. Rutgers is on something of an uptick of late with three wins in their last five games. The competition during this stretch hasn't been the most daunting, the wins have come at the expense of Seton Hall, South Florida and Providence while the losses have been to Georgetown and UConn. Basically Rutgers is in the midst of establishing themselves as the best team at the bottom of the Big East standings.

Rutgers plays a pretty average pace on offense, almost dead average nationally. They take their time in their sets and are just generally methodical. They aren't a overly aggressive team on the offensive end. Their Free Throw Attempts/Field Goal Attempts ratio is dead last in the Big East and among the worst in the country. On the positive side they do take good care of the Basketball and have one of the best turnover ratios in the country.

On defense they are solid, in some areas like effective field goal percentage they are actually quite good. In terms of types of defense they play a little bit of everything. They will play both man and zone, but slightly more zone. I haven't seen them play much at all this year but the stats seem to indicate that they condense everything inside and make teams beat them from the perimeter. This season 40 per cent of all shots taken against Rutgers in the run of play have come from behind the arc. Part of that is the defensive strategy, and part of that is Rutgers just not being very good at defending the three point line. Rice wants to build his defense from the inside out, he is doing pretty well on the inside part, but they have work to do, a lot of work to do, on the outside part.

Rutgers has a seven man rotation so UC's depth should once again be an advantage. The primary offensive weapon is Jonathan Mitchell, the once hyped Florida Gators signee who transferred to Rutgers in search of more playing time. Mitchell is the only person on the team who averages double digits thought three average 9 per. James Beatty runs the show as the lead guard, though I guess you could say he and Mike Coburn do. Beatty is a competent, if not entirely willing shooter. He put up 20 points, 18 of them in the second half, against South Florida. The other two guys carrying the load offensively are Dane Miller and the Lithuanian Freshman Gilvydas Biruta. No game is a gimmie in the Big East but if UC plays at the level that they are capable this is a win.