On BIG EAST Media Day back in October, Mike Rice said that he hated the Ed Cooley hire, and he was going to start a petition to get him fired. Rice was joking of course, because he felt his job would be that much harder with another strong coach in the conference. Cooley would probably say otherwise in regards to Rice, because he is getting a look ahead at a similar rebuilding project and culture change for a team that has struggled over the years despite having so much local talent. The Scarlet Knights are a Dr. Jekyl / Mr. Hyde type team, but Rice gets the young team to play hard and with tough defense. It’s sounds absolutely crazy to say, but wha
There are a lot of distractions right now, with new players coming in, and several players speculated to transfer out of the program after the season. While it’s fun to look ahead to the bright future, these remaining games can help the guys who will be here next year, and help Cooley grow as a coach. More importantly, the team needs to show it hasn’t take back in it’s progression like PC’s teams over the last few years. Once the calendar strikes February, things have generally fallen apart. Over the last two seasons, Providence has won TWO games after February 1st. Interestingly enough, those were home games against South Florida and Rutgers, the two best chances PC will have for wins in their remaining 9 games.
If the Friars stumble tonight, they may be looking at another visit by this guy below.
WHAT TO: KNOW
Game Time: 7:00PM EST
Opponent: Rutgers (12-10, 4-5)
Location: The Dunk
Spread: Providence -2.0
ESPN Accuscore: Providence 66.0, Rutgers 65.1 (Rutgers wins 53.2% of over 10,000 sims)
CBSSports Daily Picks: Providence 75, Rutgers 71
Fun Fact: Mike Rice got his first victory as head coach of Rutgers against Ed Cooley and Fairfield in November 2010.
WHAT TO: VOTE FOR
Hit up the rest of the preview after the jump.
WHAT TO: LOOK FOR
Rutgers Road Woes: While Rutgers has had some impressive wins at the RAC this year (Florida, UConn, Notre Dame, Cincinnati), they have only one road win under their belt this year — and it was against Pittsburgh at their absolute worst. There was the worst college basketball teams, 50 feet of shit, and then Pitt. Oh, but when the Friars played them point guard Tray Woodall was back and they looked like a ranked team again. Damn you, oh schedule maker of BIG EAST games.
No seniority: Both teams are incredibly young. Counting only scholarship players, there are no seniors and only 4 juniors between the two squads. Rutgers has 7 freshman, most which see significant playing time and have big roles on the team. Mistakes are often plenty as a result, as the Scarlet Knights turn it over on 21.4% of their possessions (#266 in the nation).
Freshman Leader Freshman guard Eli Carter is leading the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game. Like any freshman in the BIG EAST, he’s been a little inconsistent at times (6 points versus WVU, 7 versus DePaul). The key to stopping Rutgers is clearly limiting the good looks of Carter. Everyone knows he’ll take the shots (he has a 26.9% possession percentage, which is 8th in the BIG EAST conference), so let’s hope it’s not raining threes on the wrong side of the court once again. It’s winter hat night, not umbrella night.
The fight of Coleman: Since missing the Louisville game due to injury, Coleman has scored a total of 26 points while shooting 10-28 over the course of the last 4 games. His minutes have also steadily declined (35, 29, 23, 19) as Cooley has tried to go a little bigger with his lineup. Did the back injury limit Coleman the last few weeks? Did playing almost 40 minutes a game the last several months finally get to him? Being from Boston, is he a big Patriots fan and worried that Tom Brady just can’t seem to beat Eli? Coleman doesn’t seem like the type of person to just plain old quit on a season, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to getting less PT and production.
Lots of yelling: We’ve seen what Ed Cooley is capable of, but Rutgers head coach Mike Rice is just a intense. It should be an interesting game on both sidelines, and I bet BIG EAST refs were scrambling to trade this assignment when the reffing schedule was announced.
WHAT TO: PLAY
ESPN: Streak for the Cash
Rutgers vs. Providence: Who will WIN this matchup.
As of the morning, Providence was picked 54.8% of the time.
WHAT TO: READ
Friars.com: Gamenotes [PDF]
Scouting The Scarlet Knights: Rutgers has posted a 12-10 mark, including a 4-5 mark in BIG EAST play. In its most recent game, Rutgers defeated Cincinnati, 61-54, on January 28. The Scarlet Knights are led in scoring by freshman guard Eli Carter, who is averaging 13.5 points per game. Junior forward Dane Miller (6.9 ppg) leads the squad in rebounding (6.4 rpg).
ScarletKnights.com: Rutgers Travels to Providence for 7 p.m. Tip-Off Wednesday Night
Wednesday evening’s game marks the 23rd all-time meeting between RU and PC, with the Friars holding a 14-8 advantage in victories. Rutgers is 2-9 all-time at Providence and 8-13 versus the Friars in BIG EAST regular season play. The teams met twice last season with each squad wining their home end of the home-and-home match-up. The most recent meeting marked the 2010-11 regular season finale for both squads. Despite a career high 21 points from then freshman Gilvydas Biruta (Jonava, Lithuania), Rutgers dropped a 75-74 decision at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. RU shot a season-best 31-of-52 (.596) from the floor, but it was not enough as PC out-scored the Scarlet Knights 9-1 to close out the contest.
10. Rutgers: If any team sums up the inconsistency that is the Big East it is the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers lost to DePaul 69-64 and then beat Cincinnati 61-54. Mike Rice’s team is clearly talented enough to beat anyone and young enough to lose to anyone.
5. POISE, POISE, POISE
One thing freshman never understand is the value of a possession. Seasons and careers are often defined by one possession and Rutgers has already learned this season how valuable each 30 second period will be. It’s going to be up to this group to seize every opportunity and most importantly, value the basketball when things get most chaotic if they want to finish the season with a record that’s indicative of their capabilities.
NewJerseyNewsRoom.com: Rutgers’ basketball season has been marred with inconsistency
The players seem as dumbfounded by the query as Rice. Though they do know their practices leading up to each game are key.
“It’s all about our preparation before each game,” Mike Poole said. “I don’t think it’s really more or less the teams we play, I think it’s just the way we come out. Against DePaul we were up 11 in the second half and then we folded.”
NewJerseyNewsRoom.com: Rutgers relies on Eli Carter and Myles Mack in the clutch
So what’s making head coach Mike Rice rely on his two freshmen Eli Carter and Myles Mack?
“They have that creativity. They have the ability to create for others or create for themselves,” Rice said. “We don’t have a lot of that. We generate a lot of our shots off of our offense and off of our movement.”
Daily Targum: Rice faces new challenge at Providence
Each time it reached the mark produced the Scarlet Knights’ best start in the conference since the 2003-04 season. But they failed each time to capitalize afterward.
So head coach Mike Rice must adjust his approach — again.
“Thinking about that with this team, we’ve tried that, and it didn’t exactly work,” Rice said. “We’re trying to focus on improving every day, not making the same mistakes and listening — small things. The big picture — doing things that have never been done before — I don’t know if that stuff works with this team.”
Daily Targum: Randall gains Rice’s trust on defensive end
Miller said Saturday the Scarlet Knights would have lost against the Bearcats if not for the Knights’ work in the frontcourt. Randall played one of his best games on the interior, finishing with eight points, four rebounds and no fouls.
Rice even said Randall deserved an A-minus grade for his work as a help-side defender.
“He’s playing with more purpose,” Rice said. “It’s only because he’s focused more. He’s concentrating and listening more. That’s allowed him to be successful.”
On the Banks: Rutgers at Providence: Big East Basketball Preview
1. Play Rutgers Basketball: Get hands in the passing lanes. Confuse the Providence offense by switching from the zone to Rice’s trademark switching man to man. Play a smart half court game, and get out and run when the opportunity presents itself. Do not get pulled out of your game, something a young time often will do on the road. Rutgers needs to control the tempo, not Providence
Sports Chat Place: http://sportschatplace.com/college-basketball/mitch/2012/february/1/providence/rutgers/>Providence Friars Vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2/1/12: Mitch’s Free College Basketball Pick Against the Spread
Providence is 3-10 against the spread in their last 13 Big East games, 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games overall, and 4-11 against the spread against a team with a winning record. Rutgers is 4-1 against the spread following a win, 9-3-1 against the spread in their last 13 Big East games, and 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games overall. The home team has covered the spread in 10 of the last 14 meetings of these two.
I don’t believe that Providence deserves to be favored over anyone in the Big East right now so it only makes sense to take the points.
WHAT TO: WATCH
Rutgers head coach Mike Rice discusses his team’s 61-54 win over Cincinnati
Highlights from West Virginia’s 84-64 victory over Rutgers at the WVU Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012.
Pitt’s losing streak continued with a 62-39 loss to Rutgers, their 5th straight defeat and 4th in a row in Big East play.
An exciting basketball coach both on and off the court, Mike Rice gives you his favorite practice drills to keep your players going throughout practice and into the games. His drills focus on:
WHERE TO: FOLLOW
Twitter.com: I’ll probably be live tweeting the game @friarblog. Also be sure to follow the #pcbb hashtag as always.
WHERE TO: WATCH
FriarTV: PC vs. Pittsburgh
WHERE TO: LISTEN
WOR 710 AM in New York
WRSU (88.7 FM)