We have some great sites on here at SBNation. The one we've had the most fun with is our Rutgers site On the Banks. Dave White is handling the basketball portion, and he was nice enough to answer some questions about our Thursday night primetime battle on ESPN2. We talk about Mike Rice, Grease Trucks, and of course Big East Expansion.
1. How is Mike Rice doing in his first year at Rutgers? Can you give us a brief scouting report on what he likes to do on offense and defense?
Rice is fairing pretty well. The team isn't winning in the Big East (currently 1-4), but they play so much smarter and tougher. Plus he has an excellent recruiting class coming in next year.
Rutgers employs--mostly--a man to man switching defense. It's a bit complicated, but what appears to happen is every player except the center switch off on any screen. It cause mis-matches and often confuses the offense. We also seem to be mixing in a bit of a 2-3 zone.
On offense, we run a motion offense. Set lots of screens and try to free players for easy shots. The players share the ball, and when successful don't shoot too many 3s. We're not a good 3 point shooting team this year.
2. Jonathan Mitchell must have been a big surprise this season after transferring from Florida. What has he brought to the team?
He's brought leadership, and is our leading scorer. He's often had the ability to shoot the 3, but this year, he's been going inside more and that's lead to some easy baskets and free throws.
3. How is this game on ESPN2? Are you just as perplexed that there was nothing better on other than our Battle for 14th?
I haven't looked at the schedule, but... does ESPN require every team gets on one of the 2 major ESPNs a certain amount of times? That's my best guess.
4. The Big East blogosphere has joked about Seton Hall-Rutgers being the premier rivalry in the Big East after Pat Forde's remarks a couple years ago. What does the rivalry mean to you?
I can't stand Seton Hall--the team. There's a lot of fire, because the schools are so close. Recently, they've beaten us a lot and they don't keep their mouth shut about it. If both teams ever get good, it will be one of the best rivalries in the game. But--for right now--it's just between the two teams. Lots of trash talk, but no real ramifications.
5. How is Coach Rice doing with recruiting this year? Do you think he will be able to bring Rutgers back to your Final Four heyday?
He's brought in some quality players for next year. We have a 7 man class and nearly all of those seven are top 150 recruits. If these 7 can stay and play together, we'll have a great shot at getting back to the NCAAs in a couple of years. Look out for Myles Mack, Jerome Seagears, and Kadeem Jack (who's already practicing with the team). There's a lot of hope looking forward.
6. I've been asking the rest of the Big East the same question, so what do you think of Big East expansion? Do you want football to stop at 9 teams, or add someone like Villanova or UCF?
Call me greedy, but I want a bigger expansion. In fact, I want to drop the non-football schools, have Villanova move up to Division I and add UCF and Memphis. Then you have a football conference championship, and you keep a quality basketball league. I think it would be a fantastic league in both sports, really fun to watch. In fact, if the non-football schools want to keep MSG for their conference tourney, there are plenty of places this league could play, that are just as central. The Philly arena or the Rock--Prudential Center in Newark (that may anger Seton Hall... but oh well.).
7. I have a fondness of eating many things in one sitting, and we've always heard about the greatness that is the Grease Trucks. Do you have a favorite one, and if so, what is your go to sandwich?
I've always been a fan of the Fat Cat--two cheeseburgers, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, ketch-up and mayo--plus bacon. But The Fat Darrell is a good follow-up.
8. Finally, who do you have coming out of the RAC with their 2nd Big East win Thursday?
I think Rutgers pulls out an ugly, close game. Let's say 65-62.