Andy Katz on Rutgers basketball’s tight win over Lehigh: ”They look very Bubblicious’

·2 min read

It isn’t necessarily doom and gloom for Rutgers basketball after their season opener, but some major question marks are emerging about the Scarlet Knights and their ambitions for this season.

Rutgers (1-0) had a scare on Thursday night, needing overtime to beat Lehigh 73-70. A popular pick to return to the NCAA Tournament, Rutgers was expected to roll over Lehigh and empty out the bench early. Instead, Rutgers needed to play some extra basketball to beat a team that was 13-15 a season ago.

College basketball insider Andy Katz has some concerns in part of his level-headed approach to the tight Rutgers win.

“So the positive Lehigh is a solid Patriot League team. They end up scoring 70 in overtime so defensively I think you could argue that Rutgers played well, which is what they do for the most part,” Katz said on the Big Ten Network on Thursday.

“It does sort of put a spotlight on how thin the line would have been. If Geo Baker [and] Ron Harper Jr. didn’t come back, because they almost did. Because they already last Montez Mathis, Jacob Young and Myles Johnson. Imagine if we lost all five? I mean, it would be a complete rebuild. So those two veterans come back.

The Scarlet Knights were outrebounded by Lehigh 46:44 and the Big Ten program was just 1-of-13 from three-point range.

Kat, one of the most respected college basketball analysts in the game, liked what he saw from freshman Cliff Omoruyi, who had 16 points and nine rebounds in the win.

“Cliff Omoruyi – he looked like he could be the guy that they expect. He played obviously behind Myles Johnson this year now he’s asserting himself, but it just feels like [Caleb] McConnell, [Paul] Mulcahy – someone else needs to emerge on a consistent basis for them,” Katz said. “I think they’re going to be a tournament team. But they look very Bubblicious last night in one game.”

Rutgers plays Merrimack (2-0) on Saturday at Jersey Mike’s Arena.