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22 January 2008

'Cats head to RAC for Rutgers

posted by NovaFan09
1/22/2008 07:00:00 PM


#18 Villanova Wildcats (13-3, 3-2 BE) at
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-11, 0-6 BE)

Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Location: Rutgers University (Piscataway, NJ)
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Television: ESPNU

VBTN preview: Villanova at Rutgers
Rutgers coverage:
The Star Ledger || Official site

Villanova travels to New Jersey on Wednesday night in hopes of continuing its winning streak at the expense of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who own a sorry record of 0-6 in the Big East.

Statistically speaking, the Knights defend quite well, allowing under 67 points per game. The main reason Rutgers has struggled to an 8-11 start however, lies in its offense. Averaging a paltry 62.2 points per game, Rutgers has been held at or under 50 points a staggering four times in conference play. Additionally, the only game in which the Knights scored over 60 points came against DePaul, which has defensive issues of its own. Not one Scarlet Knight averages over 2.2 assists per game. This should be especially troublesome against the Wildcats' inconsistent but ever-improving trap defense, which should cause problems for Rutgers' ball handlers all game.

From a personnel standpoint, Rutgers is led by JR Inman (14.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Anthony Farmer (11.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg). Highly touted freshman Corey Chandler is averaging 11.4 points in 23 minutes of action per game, but has folded offensively, shooting 29% in conference play. The Scarlet Knights also fail to capitalize on their missed shots, as they don't rebound well as a team. I fully expect 'Nova to outrun, out-hustle, out-rebound, and ultimately outscore Rutgers on its home court.

"READ MORE" below for the keys to the game and x-factors. If you'd like to predict the final score in our ongoing contest, or offer any insight on Villanova basketball, please do so in the comments section.

Keys to the game

First half play: The RAC is regarded as one of the loudest basketball venues in all of the Big East, and the students should be fired up to see the Knights take on a regionally prominent program in Villanova. 'Nova has relied on second-half comebacks far too often in conference play, and it would be nice if the 'Cats avoided stumbling out of the gate for two reasons:
  • Crowd Factor -- If the visiting team can silence the home crowd, it goes a long way in helping the visiting team win. After 'Nova went up for good against Syracuse, the Carrier Dome crowd silenced, as did the Orange.
  • Added confidence for Rutgers -- The longer the Scarlet Knights stay in the game, the more belief they will have that they actually can win the game. Rutgers is still looking for its first conference win, so denying the Knights any extra motivational factors is key
Contain Inman: JR has been Rutgers' main offensive threat much of the season, but he has struggled in Big East play. The one game in which he did produce, with 22 points on 9/13 shooting against DePaul, the Knights played their most competitive and balanced game of the season. Simply put: stop Inman and the rest of the anemic Rutgers offense will follow.

Get Shane on track: Offensively, Clark is experiencing shooting woes like never before, and one has to wonder if he is having confidence issues or if this is just another bad streak. His familiarity with tough conference games will do nothing but help the underclassmen when he is on the floor. Additionally, Reynolds has averaged 26 points over his last three games and Cunningham has put up 4 double-doubles this season. Going forward, Villanova would benefit if Clark can shoulder some of the offensive and rebounding burdens.


Bench players:
This may be a game that Coach Wright can afford to give big minutes to Grant, Redding, Stokes, and Anderson, given the strength of the Wildcats' opponent. As we have seen in games such as the 'Cuse-G'town grinder on Tuesday, experience plays a huge role in conference games, so it is important these 'Cats get on the court and log some solid minutes.

Casiem Drummond: No word yet on how soon Casiem will be back in the lineup. Villanova.com lists his injury as day-to-day after Drummond tested it out in limited action versus DePaul. According to the same press release, his DNP in the Syracuse game is not an indication of a re-aggravation, but instead of continued monitoring with a side of caution.

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At 7:24 PM, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wright goes to the bench early and often

At 8:18 PM, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Villanova 68
Rutgers 53

Rutgers' offense is terrible. Hopefully we can get out to a rare early lead and build on it in the second half. Ott could use some extra minutes to gain more experience for the future, because he could be valuable in the coming years.

At 8:34 PM, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets mop the RAC floor with the Scarlet Knights in anticipation for what should be an excellent game at Wachovia.

At 9:28 PM, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova 75
Rutgers 60

At 9:32 PM, January 22, 2008, Blogger pete said...

Villanova 80
Rutgers 66

At 10:04 PM, January 22, 2008, Blogger Foye's Boy said...

Nova - 78
Rutgers - 62

At 11:04 PM, January 22, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Villanova 73
Rutgers 59

Corey Stokes, possibly motivated by playing in NJ, scores double-digits if he gets enough PT

At 9:21 AM, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nova - 76, Rutgers - 56

At 10:13 AM, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

81-68 VU

At 12:40 PM, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

88-72 cats

At 1:55 PM, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NOVA: 100
Rutgers: 74

I'm coming to NOVA!!!

At 3:11 PM, January 23, 2008, Blogger pete said...

Wow! I am so proud you would make your announcement on my Web site instead of in the larger media.

Thank you.

At 8:03 PM, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, nice call on Stokes so far, but what is going on with the rest of the team?
They simply look flat so far. Hopefully they will continue the bad first half - great second half streak.

At 8:27 PM, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is sickening... im honestly sick to my stomach.

At 8:54 PM, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And even more sickening now. This is an absolute embarrassment to the basketball program. I just can't figure them out. Just when they were starting to turn it around in the Syracure game...


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