Rutgers comes into tomorrow's conference match-up with an 8-11 record (2-4 in the AAC), only a game behind the Huskies. This will be the Scarlet Knights' only year in the AAC, as they are somehow going to try to compete in the Big Ten next season. Rutgers is coming off back-to-back losses in Texas, against SMU and Houston, something Husky fans can most definitely relate to. Identifying Rutgers' most quality win was a tough task, but it is probably a 66-51 win back in November over a 13-7 Canisius team that is currently leading the MAAC.
AAC play has been a tough go for the Scarlet Knights. Their 2 wins in conference play have been against some of the worst teams in the conference: Temple and UCF. They were able to squeak by the 5-12 (0-6) Temple Owls on New Year's Day with a 71-66 victory at home and then beat UCF two weeks later 85-75 also at home. Rutgers' most competitive conference loss actually came against Louisville. Playing in the RAQ, Rutgers only lost 83-76 to the 17-3 Cardinals. Rutgers went 4-18 from 3 and committed 19 turnovers but still managed to keep the game close. Playing at home on a Saturday night against "rival" UConn, expect Rutgers to be more than competitive.
Statistically speaking, Rutgers is pretty much middle of the pack in points per game and assists per game, but they rank 79th in rebounds per game with 37.5. They have two players who average close to 7 rebounds a game, and one player who averages almost 5 a game (In case you were wondering, UConn has one guy over 6 a game-Shabazz-and one just under 6-Deandre). While their rebounding isn't terrible, their shooting is. The Scarlet Knights shoot a lousy 43.1%, good for 242nd in the nation.
Let's take a look at the key players:
Junior Guard Myles Mack: While Mack is only 5-foot-9, he leads the team in most categories. He averages an impressive 16.5 a game with 4.4 assists and 2.1 steals. Mack also leads team in Free Throw shooting at 87.1% and leads team in threes and long range attempts, going 37-102 for 36.3%. Should be a fun player to watch due to his not so tallness.
Redshirt Junior Forward Kadeem Jack: 2nd on the team in PPG and RPG averaging 13.0 points and 6.7 rebounds. Also leads team in blocks per game with 1.2 and in offensive rebounds per game with close to 3.
Senior Forward JJ Moore: 3rd and final player for Rutgers who averages over 10 points a game with 11.5. Also pulls down 3.4 RPG. One of Rutgers 3-point threats as he is 2nd on the team in attempts and shots made going 26-78 so far in the season for a 33.3 FG%.
Junior Guard Jerome Seagears: The sixth man for Rutgers and their best 3 point shooter. He's 26-66 on the year for a 39.4%. Averages 8.9 PPG and is also 2nd on the team in assists with 3.8 per game.
Redshirt Senior Forward Wally Judge: In his 2nd year with Rutgers after transferring from Kansas State. The once 15thranked player in the class of 2009 is averaging 8.3 PPG and is leading the team in rebounding with 6.9 a game. Judge also leads the team in FG% with 53.4%.
Rutgers is coached by former Scarlet Knight Eddie Jordan who is in his first year with team. Jordan took over for Mike Rice who, as most of us know, went out with a bang. Jordan played for Rutgers from 1973-1977 and led the team to the 1976 Final Four. He went on to play in the NBA for 7 seasons. Before Rutgers, he was an assistant coach in the NBA for the Kings and Nets before getting the head coaching job with the Washington Wizards. Jordan coached the Wizards for 6 seasons, including 4 straight playoff appearances. He also coached the 76ers for 1 year before being fired. Jordan's total NBA head coaching record is 257-343, but he clearly brings a ton of knowledge from the NBA over to Rutgers, similar to Kevin Ollie with the Huskies.