Game Preview: Rutgers at Georgetown

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — For the second consecutive weekend, the Rutgers basketball team as a chance to claim a winning record in Big East play and continue its climb to "the left side." Facing No. 10 Georgetown on the road, Rutgers has a tall task ahead, but is playing at a high level after the Notre Dame victory and has an inside scoop on the Hoyas.

WASHINGTON D.C. — A homecoming for multiple members of the Rutgers basketball team, tomorrow's Georgetown game at the Verizon Center give the Scarlet Knights (11-8, 3-3) a chance to exceed .500 in the Big East and move as high as seventh place in the conference.

Earlier in the week, junior forward Dane Miller called it "our Super Bowl," with a chance to keep forward moment.

"This could be the most important game we play for a while," Miller said. "It's a quality opponent on the road and we need this win. This is a chance for a statement."

Rutgers has already performed, albeit unsuccessfully, against the Princeton offense this season, but has not seen anyone that does it as well as the Hoyas. The key in preparing for Georgetown, said head coach Mike Rice, is following assistant Dave Cox's lead.

"It's the only week where, usually it's six to eight films where I'll watch two or three to figure out how to score and he just literally handles our defensive game plan," Rice said. "He knows it better. I trust him completely on it, and again, his preparation is very detailed."

Before joining the Rutgers staff, Cox spent three years under John Thompson III at Georgetown as an assistant coach.

"Having David work for them and understanding what effects their offense, the flow of their offense, what they want to do, again it helps," Rice said. "Did it get us a victory against Princeton? No, but this is something that we're familiar with and we're trying to take away. Whether we do or not is up to our players."

Tomorrow's game also represents a homecoming for freshman guard Jerome Seagears, who grew up a Georgetown fan in nearby Silver Spring, Md.

If not for Cox's move to Rice's staff from Georgetown, Seagears may very well have gone there, he said.

"That's where I wanted to go since I was a little kid," Seagears said. "Cox was my main focus. Somehow he ended up in New Jersey, and I ended up here with him. I don't know how that works."

After the victory over Notre Dame, Rice referred to Seagears as a calming presence in his offense. Of the three freshman guards, Seagears leads in rebounding and is top on the team with 44 assists this season.

Offensively, he's my best communicator," Rice said of the 6-foot-1 guard. "He understands what I want. He'll communicate to them. That's a credit to him because he came from the bottom floor."

The only question for Seargears this weekend, in line for his 13th start in 20 games, is if he can keep his emotions in check playing in front of family at the arena he grew up watching.

"I worry about Jerome being overanxious every game. And now with the hometown fans, yes, that's an extra concern," Rice said. "Hopefully he has enough energy and keeps it bottled up."

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