"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Friday, February 10, 2006

Know Your Opponent: All About Rutgers

Based on the positive feedback we received from earlier installments, we're pleased to roll out our latest Q/A with an expert on an upcoming Big East opponent. Today, we're happy to introduce Glenn Wohl, the RU blogger over on NJ.com -- you can reach his blog directly by clicking here.

Glenn is an expert on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and took the time to update the MU community on the state of the RU program.

1) Rutgers relies heavily on Quincy Douby yet has wasted some of his best individual performances this season. What's more important to the Scarlet Knights -- a great performance from Douby, or a more balanced attack?
While a balanced attack would be better for the team, it doesn't look possible. Even with a fully healthy team, Douby was the only proven scorer on the roster. With the injuries, Webb, Farmer, and Bailey would seem most likely to contribute. But Douby will have to get 25 in any game for RU to have a chance to win.

2) J.R. Inman broke his leg last week and won't play against Marquette. How significant is his loss for Rutgers? Who will take his minutes?
Very significant. He was emerging as a legitimate second scoring option, and was the only real shot-blocking threat on defense. I would expect Ollie Bailey to start in his place, with Danny Waterstradt also getting time at the 4. Depending on the lineup, Jaron Griffin will also play in his place.

3) What sort of team gives Rutgers the most trouble, offensively and defensively?
RU is good at defending the three point shot, and usually are OK with zones and presses, as long as Webb and Farmer are on the floor. Although he has struggled a little recently, Webb can be a shutdown defender on almost anyone. They have the most trouble against good front lines, so Georgetown might be scary. Good thing no UConn this year. Same is true on offense. RU is perimeter-oriented, and has no legit low post threat to go to on offense.

4) Marquette, Providence and Rutgers have the most productive freshman classes in the Big East. What should MU expect from Farmer and Griffin this weekend?
Assuming Farmer is healthy, he has emerged as a good floor general. He can hit the shot if left open, can drive and dish, and plays pretty good defense. Griffin still needs to improve defensively. On offense, he has a relatively flat shot (no arc), and early on he would shoot as soon as he touched it. Lately, he has been ball faking and taking shorter shots and hitting them.

5) What was the reaction within the Rutgers community to a) the defections of the VaTech, BC, and Miami, and b) the addition of the four CUSA institutions?
The defections hurt the football side of the conference more. Only BS (er, Boston College) was a threat in hoops, and once they emerged as two-faced it was good riddance. The addition of the C-USA teams was brought on with great anticipation, given the caliber of the programs and coaches, most notably Pitino. However, I think the unbalanced scheduled and sheer size may be causing some dissatisfaction, and there has been persistent conjecture since last year that there will eventually be a bball-only (Marquette, St. John's, Seton Hall, Nova, Providence, DePaul, GTown. ND would stay with the hopes that their FB might join BE.) split of teams from the conference.

6) Everybody talks about Quincy Douby, but which player have we not heard of that fans should pay attention to heading into the game?
With Inman out, I think Farmer is the one for you to watch, especially since he will be facing Dominic James. If he is out, Marquis Webb, the team's best defender and second best remaining scoring option.

7) Gary Waters is in his fifth season at Rutgers -- are the RU faithful comfortable with the state of the program?
The majority would say no. There has been no NCAA berth, and not one likely this year. Two of his four recruiting classes have been awful. While some are willing to give him next year to get to the NCAAs, he has lost many of those supporters in the past two weeks. The two keys that will decide, IMO, are if RU makes the BET and NIT, and/or if Lance Thomas commits to RU. If the BET is missed and Thomas goes elsewhere, I think Gary might be gone. Any other outcome might lead to him getting a 6th year. No one would doubt he has improved the overall program, but the question now is can he get us to the next (NCAA) level.

Glenn, thanks so much for your time!

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