Preview: Rutgers vs. Niagara

The Scarlet Knights (3-0) return home on Sunday for an early afternoon matchup against Niagara (0-3).

The Knights are off to their best start since 2008, and have been overwhelming opponents with their size. That does not bode well for Niagara, who don’t have a rotation player taller than 6’8″ on their roster.

Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Control the glass – This may end up being a common theme throughout most of the out-of-conference schedule. But in this one especially, with RU’s huge size advantage, we should dominate on the boards. Keep in mind, in the last two games, Rutgers is a combined +48 in that department. We are also currently the #1 team in the nation in Offensive Rebounding Efficiency, according to KenPom.
  • Come out fast – In all three games this season, Rutgers has taken some time to get going. Division II Molloy was within 10 at the break. Drexel was down 2 before a 13-0 Rutgers run to close the first half. And DePaul kept things tight throughout the first half. I’d love to see a suffocating performance from start to finish in this one.
  • Avoid the letdown – It seems like every season, Rutgers picks up an inexcusable loss to a bad out-of-conference opponent. This year, we’ve started 3-0 and some people are already looking ahead in the schedule and talking about 6-0. On paper, everything points to a win against Niagara. They’ve already lost to Buffalo, Brown, and Hartford. We can’t get complacent and let this one slip away.

I called DePaul a true barometer game before last Thursday’s clash, and overall I think we performed well, although it looked a little shaky in the last 5 minutes. We have to build on that momentum in this game.

Defend, rebound, play with energy, and we should be able to take care of business on our home floor. We’ll find out more on Sunday.

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