NEW JERSEY, (BASN)—We sat at the RAC watching and talking as Rutgers took on no. 10 Florida. The same Florida team with the best guards in the country.
Rutgers was down most of the game and would occasionally tease the crowd and especially the students with a mini comeback.
But we knew the truth. It would end the same way that the Duke game ended years ago with a Kelvin Troy lay up spinning out. It would be no different than a Yinka Dare score with one second to go. Rutgers would find a way to lose at the end. Because Rutgers is after all Rutgers.
Coaches have come and coaches have gone but it has been since 1991 that the Knights have been to the NCAA’s. A trip that was made under former Scarlet Knight great and now commentator Bob Wenzel.
Florida was up comfortably by 7 with a few minutes to go and we knew the result. We kind of felt sorry for the screaming students as the result was pre-determined.
But wait a second. Mike Rice is the coach now. A young version of Jim Calhoun, Rice had his team believing that they could win.
And as freshmen, they were too naive not to believe him.
Rice coaches for 40 minutes and more. against Florida, he had to coach for 50 as his Knights won a double overtime game 85-83 behind 31 points from freshman Eli carter from St. Anthony’s. What a win. The crowd stormed the court and it looked great on tv.
But was this the new Rutgers or the old Rutgers.
There were some questions as to why Rutgers did not have a play to run at the end of regulation, but after all the were only freshmen. What a win. What a great new coach.
Was the bubble burst 3 days latter in Tampa against lowly South Florida? Too early to tell.
Rutgers fell 67-65. They were certainly victimized by some poor officiating at the end and once again were seemingly disorganized on their last possession, but they did come back hard against a team which only fell by 3 to no. 9 UConn. Carter had 23 this time. Wenzel was the commentator.
A lot more will be known about this team on Wednesday. They have a home game against a West Virginia team who can be beaten.
A West Virginia team which was just pounded by Seton Hall.
It should come down to the wire before a large crowd and maybe Rutgers will run a well executed play to win it. One thing we know for sure. They will play hard for the entire game. Rice demands that.