‘Cats face Rutgers on Senior Night

Andrew Gordon

Opponent Overall

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights men’s basketball squad heads into tonight’s matchup against the Villanova Wildcats with a 10-15 overall record (1-11 Big East), having lost 12 of their last 13 games and coming off a 10-point road loss to conference opponent Providence. They have yet to beat a ranked opponent this season. The Scarlet Knights’ disappointing season thus far can be attributed to their youth and inexperience, as well as a high turnover rate. Similar to this year’s ‘Nova team, Rutgers has a small core of seniors who are consistent performers and provide ample leadership for the team. Unlike the Wildcats, though, the Knights rely heavily on numerous freshmen as their top performers.

Opponent Strengths

Rutgers, despite lacking the size and natural abilities of nationally ranked teams, has established itself as a group of staunch defenders. Regardless of their record, the Scarlet Knights average 65.1 points per game and allow only 66.4 points.

They also maintain the third best defensive 3-point field goal percentage at just .297. This statistic could be a game breaker as the Wildcats depend heavily on an outside shooting presence. If the Rutgers strong defensive backcourt, which boasts five returning letter-winners, can prevent junior guard Scottie Reynolds and company from getting hot beyond the arc, the Knights have an opportunity to gain their second conference victory.

Opponents Weaknesses

The Scarlet Knights rank last in two categories within the Big East conference: assists and turnovers. They average only 11.3 assists per game, as Anthony Farmer, the team leader averages only 2.8 to go along with his 9.1 points per game. The turnover department is no better, as Rutgers averages 15.5 per game, with only three members of the 13-man squad maintaining a positive assist to turnover margin.

‘Nova must exploit the inexperience of the Scarlet Knights and apply pressure to the freshmen Mike Rosario and Gregory Echenique, whom Rutgers relies upon for the majority of its offensive firepower.

Who to Watch

Their leading scorer, guard Rosario, a high school All-American last year, also leads the team in free-throw percentage, minutes, steals and 3-point field goals. Despite being the spark in the Rutgers offense for the majority of this season, Rosario has had turnover difficulties and has struggled to run the floor.

What to Watch For

Rutgers has struggled all season long in the conference. Their only win within in the Big East came against DePaul, who is winless in conference.

For Villanova to win, they will need to jump on the Scarlet Knights early, since teams that are used to losing tend to fold when they get behind.

To do this Villanova must capitalize on the enthusiasm that will come from the crowd on Senior Night. The Pavilion should be loud following the pregame ceremonies.

Villanova 78, Rutgers 64