By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – One of Mike Rice’s offseason priorities was to get his team bigger and stronger. While Rutgers is significantly more robust across the board, they didn’t show that added muscle in their exhibition at the RAC against Holy Family.
“None,” Rice said when asked if he saw any of that added strength. “Soft. All muscle. Looked like Tarzan, played like Jane.”
Winning handily 92-52 against the inferior Division II opponent, Rice saw one major flaw in his team’s effort. Their inability to finish around the rim.
‘The layups and the softness was something that you have to finish. You have to be strong,” Rice said. “And I appreciate the Big East referees for not calling a lot of fouls against them. I do. I think it’s good for us. Finish through contact.”
And the remedy for doing so isn’t anything that’s too difficult.
“Again, that’s just a toughness and a focus. We do a lot of finishing drills through contact through pads, but that’s just – it’s a matter of toughness and not worrying about contact or anything that goes in it,” Rice said. “Just go and finish.”
Especially the gimme buckets.
“The layups — Jerome’s [Seagears] layups, Vincent’s [Garrett] missed dunks — those things are silly to be honest with you. They’re immature,” Rice said. “You have to finish with those and they will be brought up in film session.”
Despite the miscues today, Rice is confident all the hours spent in the weight room in the offseason will be put on display. That they won’t just look like Tarzan.
Their next chance is the season opener against St. Peter’s at the RAC on Friday night.
“It [the strength] will be a factor, but tonight for some odd reason they weren’t focused on finishing through contact,” Rice said. “Again, I like where we’re at right now, but there’s just some things we’re going to need to tighten up.”