Friday, December 13, 2013

UNCG (5-5) @ Rutgers (4-7)

When: Saturday, December 14 4:00 pm
Where: Louis Brown Athletic Center* (8,000)

* Formerly known as the Rutgers Athletics Center. Still called the RAC by most.

Rutgers Athletics

Preseason preview

UNCG Stats
Last Game: Claflin (W 75-70) Recap
RPG: 37.7
APG: 14.2
Leader Points: Kyle Cain (15.4)
Leader Rebounds: Kyle Cain (8.1)
Leader Assists: Tevon Saddler (3.4)
FG%: 47.4
3 Pt %: 37.3
FT %: 67.6

Rutgers Stats
Last Game: Princeton (L 73-78) Recap
PPG: 76.9
RPG: 37.5
APG: 13.4
Leader Points: Myles Mack (16.0)
Leader Rebounds: Kadeem Jack (7.3)
Leader Asisst: Jerome Seagears (4.5)
FG %: 44.9
3 PT %: 36.8
FT %: 70.1

UNCG and Rutgers are somewhat similar in that both teams are pretty solid on the offensive end of the court and both have zero desire to play any defense whatsoever. The Scarlet Knights have dropped 4 straight games and 6 of their last seven. Their lone win cam over non-D1 Stillman, and losses include mid-majors schools such as William & Mary, Farleigh Dickinson and Princeton. So it would be easy to conclude that Rutgers is ripe for a Spartan upset.

Except that UNCG hasn't been playing particularly well over the last 3 weeks. The intensity hasn't been great (or consistent), the turnovers have been numerous and the defense just hasn't been there period. On the bright side, it seems less likely that UNCG will have to spend much time facing their kryptonite, the zone defense. In that case, look for Kyle Cain and Kayel Locke to have good games. Spartan guards should be able to drive the ball to the basket. However, this Rutgers team does feature size and is averaging over 4 blocks per game. So the guys need to have an idea what they are going to do with the ball before getting into the lane with it. As bad as UNCG has been on defense this year, it would be a shame to give up a bunch of easy baskets too.

I think this is definitely a team that UNCG can compete with and even defeat. It will require a lot more than we've seen out of the Spartans recently. The team will need to play focused, smart and intense basketball for a full 40 minutes and do a better job of valuing ever single possession. If that happens, UNCG has a strong chance to defeat a power conference team on its home floor. Go Spartans !!!