The sold-out Prudential Center will play host to perhaps the most unheralded rivalry in all of college basketball tomorrow as Rutgers visits Seton Hall on senior night. The drama these two teams generate is arguably more sensational than what you'll find at an 80's-themed burlesque show at the exact moment RuPaul pops out of a large "adult" cake. (Too visceral?)
What's at stake: Seton Hall's athletic department can begin calling their travel agent in anticipation of a trip to the NCAA Tournament, while Rutgers can play spoiler (for the moment) to said tournament.
The last time these two teams collided, Seton Hall left Piscataway (for the fifth consecutive time) with a win. To say this game will be highly physical and emotional is more of an understatement than saying that Aquille Carr can dribble. Make no mistake, Seton Hall fans, Mike Rice will have his players jacked up in an effort to steal back some of the pride the Pirates took from them at the RAC just 15 days ago.
The kind folks at "On The Banks" agreed to partake in a Q&A for our respective readers in anticipation of tomorrow night's tilt, so without further ado, here are their responses to my questions (my responses to their questions can be found on their link www.onthebanks.com ):
1) Mike Rice did a tremendous job recruiting this years freshman class; how do you feel he's coached and guided this young and talented group thus far?
I feel he has done a great job. When he needed to get in the young players faces, he did, and when he needed to back off and let the players play their games, he did. I am a huge Rice fan, so I may be a little biased here.
2) Dane Miller has a boat load of ability, but by all accounts, he has colossally underperformed. As a senior next year, do you believe he will finally become the player / leader we figured he'd be? If not, who will step up and provide the leadership it appears Rutgers may be lacking?
Miller seems tentative at times, and at other times he is a complete beast on the floor. It's extremely frustrating to see as a fan/follower of Rutgers basketball, but it's what we've learned to know Dane Miller as. I'm hoping he can put together a complete season next year, and he seems to be inching towards that this season.
3) Baring a miraculous run in the BET this year, what are you looking to see out of Rutgers basketball as they close this season?
I'd like to see Rutgers win out and make a tournament (not THE tournament, of course) but I'm expecting a losing record. I'm looking to see better decision making from the freshmen and more successful inside shots from Biruta.
4) Fat Coco or Fat Darrell?
5) Pirates fans aren't going to like losing Herb Pope to graduation, especially with Wally Judge suiting up against them, twice, next season. Any word on how he's been in practice? What should Pirates fans expect to see next year out of him / Rutgers?
I'm not so sure about Judge, sorry, but I do know he's expected to contribute heavily. Rutgers should be an above .500 team overall next season, and I'd say a NIT team in the long run. Much better big east record, too.
6) George H. W. Bush was President of these United States of America the last time Rutgers was in the NCAA Tournament (1991). Is next year the year the Scarlet Knight rides in on his Scarlet Horse to do some Scarlet dancin'?
Ouch, don't remind me. I'd be shocked if Rutgers doesn't make the tourney within Mack/Carter/Seagears/etc's four years at the school. I'll go bold and predict they make the tournament in 2 years, when the group are juniors.
7) Prediction on Saturday's game? What's the final score?
I think an angry Rutgers team with revenge and frustration on the minds comes back after getting down early and beats Seton Hall in an OT thriller 64-60.
Our thanks to Brandon and Dave at "On the Banks" for participating in the Q&A with us.