Preview: UNC vs. Rutgers

Hope all you Heels out there had a great holiday season and continue to through the new year, but it’s time to get back to some basketball. UNC travels to the Mecca of basketball to play the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers in a road/neutral game. The Heels have only suffered its losses in road/neutral games and while Madison Square Garden is usually pretty friendly to the Heels, The Rafters can never forget the greater New York area’s affinity for the Dookies. But in a way this is a homecoming game for Dexter Strickland as Rockaway, NJ is only 29 miles away from the doors of MSG. We’re suspecting a big games from Dex.

  • Jonathan Mitchell, right, leads the way for Rutgers with a respectable 12 point per. Two other Scarlet Knights average over 10 points a game but the team as a whole is only putting up 69 a game. That’s ten less than the Heels.
  • UNC leads in a lot of other important statistical categories as well. The Heels pull down more rebounds, dish out more assists and shoot better from the field than Rutgers. Can we say overmatched?
  • Rutgers hasn’t notched a lot of quality wins this season. They have beaten an ACC opponent in Miami and an SEC team, Auburn, but have lost to Princeton and St. Joe’s. Plus that Auburn win isn’t that impressive. A team that UNC beat down this year, UNC-A, beat Auburn at Auburn earlier this season. Rutgers beat them on a neutral floor.
  • These teams did meet last year in Chapel Hill and UNC did come out with a win. But the Heels did relinquish a 17 point lead, letting it dwindle to two with two minutes left before winning 81-67.

This should be a good warm-up game for the Heels and a nice wind-down for 2010. Getting a win over a Big East opponent will always look good on a resume and doing it on national TV will remind the country that UNC is no pushover.

Prediction: UNC 83, Rutgers 72