We all remember what Mike Rice did when he faced Villanova last March. The scary thing is that this Rutgers team has considerably more talent on it's roster than Robert Morris did. If Rice can squeeze the lemon as well this time as he did last March, the result might be better than an overtime loss (and a moral victory).
The Scarlet Knights already lost to the Wildcats once this season in a 16-point rout on the Main Line. This time, however, Rutgers will be the hosts at their intimidating RAC.
The lone double-digit scorer for the Scarlet Knights is senior forward Jonathan Mitchell, who leads the team with 14 points per game as well as contributing 5.9 rebounds per contest. Swingman Dane Miller is just shy of double digits with 9.6 points per game, but leads the team with 6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Freshman forward Gilvydas Biruta has also been a significant contributor with 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Mike Coburn averages 8.5 points and leads the team with 3.8 assists per game.
Rutgers relies heavily on it's front-line for scoring, but won't have a tremendous size advantage, with two of three starting forwards at 6'7" and the tallest at 6'8", Villanova's big men will have to worry more about execution than size.
This Rutgers team is vulnerable from the outside, making it imperative to play an inside-out offensive game. Establishing an inside game early and driving from the perimeter when given the room should open up deep shots.
To match up with their bigs, I expect that Isaiah Armwood will get another start in place of Maalik Wayns. His defensive intensity, and size will help Villanova neutralize the RU bigs and take control of the boards. Setting the tone early in those areas will help keep Villanova from falling behind.
The game will tip off from the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, NJ at 8:00pm EST. The game will be available on WPHL in the Philadelphia market and on ESPN3.com elsewhere.
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