Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Breaking Down the Scaret Knights

Head Coach - Fred Hill Jr (3rd season, 30-48 overall)
Record - 9-9 overall (0-5 Big East)

Last Game - Lost 71-59 at Cincinnati
Last meeting w/ Cards - U of L 87, Rutgers 50 (Feb. 2, 2008 in Freedom Hall)

Location - Rutgers Athletic Center (aka the "RAC")
Time - 7:02 PM tip
Announcers - Dan McLaughlin & Mike Kelley (ESPNU)

Starting Lineup:

Mike Rosario - Guard - Freshman - 6'3 180 #3
The first McDonald's All-American to ever come to Rutgers, the explosive scoring guard has been an impact from day one. Leading the Scarlet Knights in scoring (17.1) but is only averaging 1.3 assists a game and is shooting less the 30% from behind the arc. He put up 26 points in a loss at North Carolina and 22 in another loss against Marquette. While Rosario can hurt you in many ways, he has struggled heavily against pressure this season, turning the ball over 44 times this year (2.4 a game) and when he gets frustrated he begins firing forcing long range shots. He is 25-94 over his last five games. A great first step though ables him to get into the lane but does have trouble going strong to his left.

Anthony Farmer - Guard - Senior - 6'1 180 #2
Famer is the closest thing to a point guard Rutgers really has. Leads the team in assists per game (2.5) and is second in scoring (10.1 points a game). Not a threat from farther then 15 feet out but can score if ignored, putting up 17 (Syracuse) and 12 (Cincinnati) in his last two games, while also dropping 20 in a loss to Pittsburgh.

Corey Chandler - Guard - Sophomore - 6'2 180 #1
While his numbers are down from last seasons solid Freshman season (1st team All-Big East Freshman), Chandler is still improving and having a good year. Came alive with 19 points and 7 rebounds against Marquette earlier this month and despite his size does a good job of rebounding (3.8 a game). Is the Scarlet Knights better on ball defender, swiping 1.3 steals a game this season.

Greg Echenique - Forward - Freshman - 6'9 260 #0
A teammates of Louisville Freshman Samardo Samuels last year. Averaging 9.2 points and 8.8 rebounds a game, has the ability to face you up from 15 feet and either knock down the jumper or put the ball on the floor. Is very raw with his back to the basket and is still lacking a good low block move. Echenique has recorded four double doubles this season and will be a pivotal piece against the Cards 2-3 zone.

Hamady Ndiaye - Forward - Junior - 6'11 235 #5
A native of Sengal has only been playing basketball for five years now. Is fourth in the country in blocked shots a game (3.2) and is averaging 6.8 rebounds a game but is as raw a talent as they come. Despite his numbers blocking shots, Ndiaye is still soft in the post defensively and has a bad tendency to fall a sleep. He had 3 blocks in the Marquette game but overall has not been very impressive against Big East teams, collecting only 7 blocks in 5 games.

Breakdown - Rutgers has lost 5 in a row (all conference games) and have fallen to the powerful programs of Lehigh, St. Bonaventure, and my favorite Binghamton (all at home). So this might sound crazy but this is a very dangerous team and road game for the Cards. For starters Louisville is 1-1 all-time at the "RAC" , while Rutgers nearly beat both Pitt (78-72 loss) and Marquette (81-76 loss). They like many teams the Cards will face are not very deep and go basically seven men. Their lack of depth and experience has hurt them most of this season, just running out of gas despite hanging in all their games until at least around the eleven minute mark of the second half comes around. Only two upperclassmen contribute minutes (Farmer and reserve J.R. Inman), while their two best players are true Freshman (Rosario and Echenique). That kind of team is bound to make head coach Fed Hill lose what little hair he has left. Rutgers is turning the ball over an average of 15.3 times a game, while only shooting 28% from three point land. Not good stats for a team that doesn't have a real threat as a low post scorer.
Prediction- Rutgers is very soft in the post defensively, even though they do average 7.2 blocks a game as a team. This would be a good game to feed Samuels on the post as much as possible early. Louisville must control the tempo as always and speed up Rosario and Farmer with every chance they get, if they do so, Rutgers will turn the ball over. This could be a Williams game that shows a stat line of 4 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists, while Clark is set to have another monster game. Echenique and Ndiaye are not quick enough to go out and guard Clark one on one. Also with what should be a good game for the Cards on the inside, this would be a great time for Jerry Smith to wake up. Rutgers will have to double team anyone we feed in the post, allowing great shot opportunities for all of Louisville's guards from the perimeter. This game might stay close until the second half but don't get scared Cards fans.....

Cards - 82

Knights - 68

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