Know Your Opponent: Rutgers

Wednesday night the Cincinnati Bearcats (10-6, 0-3 in the Big East) will cap off their three-game conference home stand by welcoming the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-8, 0-4 in the Big East) to Fifth Third Arena. The ‘Cats will be desperately seeking their first Big East win before beginning a three-game road swing. Here's everything you need to know about the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers.

The Rutgers basketball team and head coach Fred Hill have been experiencing a tough couple of weeks. Losers of their previous five games, including an 80-49 blowout loss at then-number two ranked UConn, the Scarlet Knights haven't felt victory since a home match up December 23rd against a winless N.J.I.T., now 0-16 on the year.

The losing skid began December 28th in Chapel Hill, North Carolina against the then-top ranked Tar Heels, 97-75. Three days later then-number three ranked Pittsburgh rolled into Piscataway and escaped with a close 78-72 victory. In their first game of 2009 Rutgers made the trip to Storrs, Connecticut only to be easily handled by head coach Jim Calhoun's Huskies, even with the famous coach sitting out the second half of the contest due to illness. A week into the new year, the Scarlet Knights put up their toughest fight of their current losing streak, losing by just five points to then-number 15 ranked Marquette at home, 81-76. Their most recent loss came January 10th when Syracuse came to town. Ranked number 9 in the country at the time, the Orangemen left New Jersey with an 82-66 win.

Rutgers will attempt to throw all of that to the wayside Wednesday night in Cincinnati, where the Bearcats lead eight games to three in the all time series.

Freshman guard Mike Rosario leads the Scarlet Knights with 17.4 points per game and has made more than half of the team's three-point shots. Senior guard Anthony Farmer is the only other Scarlet Knight averaging double digit points with 10 per game while dishing out a team-high 2.6 assists, and freshman forward Gregory Echenique leads the team in rebounding with 8.5 a game.

Rutgers ranks third in the entire country in blocks per game with 7.4, led by 6'-11" junior center Hamady N'Diaye and his 3.4 rejections a night. N'Diaye and Echenique have combined for 100 of the Scarlet Knights 125 blocks this season.

The pair should meet an interesting challenge inside against UC big men Mike Williams and Yancy Gates, but these two teams could be in for a sloppy contest with both squads averaging over 15 turnovers per game and under 44 percent field goal shooting. Tip off in The Shoe will commence at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night.


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