What do college basketball coaches do while the rest of the world sleeps? For Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan, quiet time means film study time as the Scarlet Knights prepare for their first Big Ten road game.
“I didn’t want to be up, I was just up,” Jordan said.
“They have good size,” Jordan said. “They have some good players in Shields and Petteway. I’ve watched a lot of tape on them. … We’ll have a game plan, but it’s more about us. We’ve practiced more on us before we look at any Nebraska stuff.”
The Scarlet Knights (9-6, 1-1) studied the Huskers in film Tuesday and Wednesday, but the real focus came back to themselves.
The Rutgers defense held its first two Big Ten opponents to 51 and 46 points, but Jordan wants more.
“We did a lot of things, got a lot done,” Jordan said on practice following a 50-46 win over Penn State. “We worked on a lot. We didn’t react well to Penn State’s changing defense. We worked on that. We got better. We’re getting better at reading the defenses, zone and man, reacting appropriately. We’re getting our pick-and-roll defensive packages down.”
Rutgers surrendered 72 points per game in American Athletic Conference play last season, and the mix of experience and roster turnover signals improvement in Jordan’s second year.
“They understand the system,” Jordan said. “We emphasized it, and we have better defenders on the team. We’ve bought in. If you buy into it, you’re going to do better.”
Rutgers is 4-2 away from the RAC this season, including a win at Clemson in the ACC Big Ten Challenge. The Thursday trip to Lincoln, Neb., mark the first road game in conference play, and confidence is on the rise after a solid showing in non-conference play.
“We’ve played in the Garden and at the Barclays and at Clemson,” Jordan said. “We didn’t play well against Seton Hall. At Monmouth, we struggled but we pulled it out. I think we’re comfortable on the road, so we’ll see how we react.”
On Shaquille Doorson’s development -- “He’s got a lot more confidence offensively. He understands the system a lot more. Everybody loves him, and everybody helps him. He’s very coachable. His ceiling is so high. We’re so happy that he’s here.”
On recruiting a bigger roster -- “I remember scrimmaging early in the season, and we had two Big Ten refs. After the scrimmage, they said ‘your bigs are better than average for the Big Ten already.’ They were young freshmen. That was a wonderful thing to hear. I think we’re going to be very good in that area.”
On Justin Goode's enrollment -- "It's good that he's here. He loves it here. Academically, he's going to get initiated. He's going to find things around campus. He's going to be ahead of the game."