Rutgers currently engaged in a "battle" with DePaul at the moment to see which team will be the worst in the Big East conference. Despite a few flashes of competitiveness in the Fred Hill era, Jay Wright's protegé has been largely unable to get things going for the now football-crazy school. It's no wonder that there has been speculation about Rutgers moving to the Big Ten, where there football team can flourish and basketball might survive.
The Scarlet Knights are winless in Big East play so far. They have a very noteable loss to Vermont (a likely tournament team) as well as a 10 point overtime victory over MAAC school Rider (10-10, 3-5). They have lost 14 straight games against ranked opponents, their last such win being in January of 2008.
Rutgers recently lost their talented big man Greg Echenique, who announced his intention to transfer to Creighton this winter after playing only 7 games this season. The OTHER "Corey" from the class of 2007, Corey Chandler, also transferred to Binghamton over the summer (where he has since been dismissed from the program).
The star of this Rutgers team is Mike Rosario, a 6'3" sophomore guard who leads the team who averages 16 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 34.2 minutes per game. With Echenique gone, only one other player averages double-digit points -- Jonathan Mitchell, a 6'7" Junior forward, who comes in at 10.6 points per game, along with 5.3 rebounds in 31.4 minutes.
The Rutgers offense runs through Rosario, who has attempted almost 100 more shots so far this season than the next guy. The most efficient shooter on the team is Hamady Ndiaye, who is hitting 58% of his shots this year, but only averaging 9 points per game. Mitchell is their best free throw shooter at 90.9% (though, on only 22 attempts), only three players average 70% or higher from the charity stripe and the team is only connecting on 67% as a whole.
In their Big East games so far, Rosario has been shooting 24.1% and averaging only 11 points. Despite his struggles in-conference this year, Rosario lead his team with 19 points in it's 82-72 loss to Villanova last February. With few other players really shining, it will be important to shut him down and extend his Big East slump.
The RAC has not been drawing the same crowds as it used to, so even though Rutgers will be on it's home court, don't expect much of an advantage. Rutgers has lost six straight and their first five of the Big East season, and things probably won't be looking up for the Knights until their February 9th meeting with Caldwell College (D-II).
Don't forget to participate in Ed's Closest to the Pin Contest.
If you want to help me out by posting local coverage that I missed in the comments, I'll move it up here:
|Villanova at Rutgers, 8 p.m.||Sirius Ch. 152|
|MASN (joined in progress, 9 p.m.)||Washington, D.C.|
|MASN (joined in progress, 9 p.m.)||Baltimore, Md.|
|Charter||St. Louis, Mo.|
|Metro Sports||Kansas City, Mo.|
|MSG||New York, N.Y.|
|WPHL (MNT)||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|Time Warner||Milwaukee, Wis.|
|ESPN Full Court||Subscription|
If you don't get any of these channels, you might want to look for a game watch in your area (or just a bar with Full Court).