Rutgers has made massive improvements under the guidance of the wizard from Stonybrook, Steve Pikiell. It appeared the NCAA was a possibility with almost all of a very young team returning, that is, until they were hit by the rampant transfer bug. Stud senior, leading scorer and rebounder Eugene Omoruyi decided (we’ll call it that) to transfer to Oregon. He claimed he wished to play in the NCAA tournament. Of course, had he stayed and been loyal, that likely would have happened in New Bruswick. Transfers burn my soul.
No matter, Rutgers began with a struggle against improved Bryant, hanging on 73-71. They then dominated the same Niagara team Drexel struggled to put away, 86-39. Pikiell loves his freshman point guard, Paul Mulcahy. There is plenty of talent there and a coach that knows what to do with it.
On the blue and gold bench, Drexel impressed me with their opener at Temple. They hung til the end in spite of a poor night shooting, doing it with improved defense and superior rebounding. Struggles with Niagara and Abilene Christian have dulled my optimism, but Spiker is using his freshman liberally and with others returning from injury, Drexel is still trying to find its way. What is most disturbing is the inordinate number of turnovers.
Spiker might consider playing 2 point guards at once. Against a Pikiell team who revels in defense, that could be a major problem. Still, I remain high on this team, yes I am stubborn. The improved rebounding is huge for a team that has been out-athleted all too often. I would hope with more time together, the turnovers go way down. If so, and with the Colonial way down, Drexel may surprise Philly with some March excitement. They figure to be in a bit of trouble tonight, but Rutgers is not a team loaded with top recruits and if Drexel can play with a bit more smarts, they could take this to the wire.
Rutgers 74 Drexel 67