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Previewing Rutgers: First post-realignment meeting between Jersey rivals

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Rutgers forward Kadeem Jack (15.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg) has nearly tripled his scoring output from last season.
Rutgers forward Kadeem Jack (15.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg) has nearly tripled his scoring output from last season.
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

2013-14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-5; KenPom: 183; RPI: 223)

2012-13 Rutgers (15-16, 5-13; KenPom: 104; RPI: 110)

After a tumultuous summer for the Rutgers basketball program that was saved from complete ruin by new head coach Eddie Jordan, the Scarlet Knights have yet to find their stride against a sneaky-strong non-conference slate. Rutgers won 3 of their first 4 games, with their lone loss coming in a very tough game at UAB, a team that beat North Carolina on the same court. Rutgers have since dropped 4 of their last 5 games, one of which came against Fairleigh Dickinson prior to their meeting with Seton Hall. The Scarlet Knights' single victory in that span came in a 116-89 shootout against Division 2 Stillman College in a NIT Pre-Season Tip-Off consolation game. The lose-lose match up was set after Rutgers fell to a game Drexel squad by 11 in the quarterfinals.

Eddie Jordan has been playing an 8-man rotation since freshman forward Junior Etou (4.3 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 bpg) became eligible to play after missing Rutgers' first 6 games when the NCAA ruled that he had accepted "impermissible benefits" prior to enrolling at Rutgers. Etou recorded 5 blocks in Fairleigh Dickinson's upset of the AAC school. Etou plays behind upperclassman forwards Wally Judge (8.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 87th best OReb%) and Kadeem Jack (15.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg). Now a junior, Jack has had a breakout season thus far by averaging just under 10 more points per game when compared to last year. The 6-foot-9 Queens (N.Y.) native erupted with a career-high 30 points and 12 boards against Florida A&M in Rutgers' season-opening win.

In the backcourt, Myles Mack (15 ppg, 3.6 apg), Jerome Seagears (10.3 ppg, 4.7 apg), and junior college transfer D'Von Campbell (9.6 ppg) see most of the minutes, although Seagears was brought off the bench (with great success: 23 pts, 5-7 3pt, 21 mins) in Rutgers' most recent game after starting the first 8 contests of the season.

Unlike LIU Brooklyn (306th), Rutgers ranks ranks 154th in "effective height", an index used to evaluate the impact of power forwards and centers. With that in mind, its not surprising that the Scarlet Knights have the 60th best block percentage in the country at 7%. Rutgers also boasts the 48th best steal percentage in the country -- Myles Mack leads the team with 17 thefts, or 1.9 per game.

Mack (17-48, 35%), Seagears (18-44, 41%), and Campbell (17-33, 51%) are joined by Pittsburgh transfer wing J.J. Moore (15-43, 35%) as Rutgers' threats from 3-point land. Rutgers shot 13-of-27 (48%) in a 93-87 loss at George Washington on Wednesday. Seton Hall (249th) and Rutgers (245th) both have 3-point defenses that rank in the bottom-third of the country.

Iowa State transfer Kerwin Okoro has yet to play a minute for Rutgers following knee surgery just before their season opener.

Jerry Carino published his annual Seton Hall-Rutgers 'Greatest Hits' which reads like a biography of the rivalry. A must read for anyone interested in the history between these two programs.

KenPom says: No. 183 Rutgers - 72, No. 143 Seton Hall - 70 (44%)

Projected Rutgers starters:

5-9 Jr., G - Myles Mack

6-1 Jr., G - Jerome Seagears

6-6 Sr., F - J.J. Moore

6-9 Jr., F - Kadeem Jack

6-9 Sr., C - Wally Judge

Time: 8 p.m.


Radio: AM 970

All stats are as of 12/7/13