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From the Cheap Seats: 4 Thoughts On Miami

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Rutgers suffers their first loss.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers was not good on offense: When plays broke down due to Miami’s defense, the Scarlet Knights didn’t make good decisions. Passes were all right, and often led to open shots, but lay-ups were rushed or bobbled. Miami forced Rutgers to not be comfortable at times and made it seem like there was a lid on the basket. Part of that could have been a team too amped up and it sped them up. Not great. Deshawn Freeman had an especially tough night. He was undersized and Miami’s length bothered him big time.

They did not give up: There were times where it looked like this game was really going to get away from them. However, unlike the previous coach, Pikiell used his timeouts wisely. Every time Miami went on a run, Pikiell was able to stop it on defense. A few more made shots... an early 3?... and Rutgers is in this game down to the wire. The hustle, the press, the diving on the floor... that was all stuff we didn’t see last year. It’s there now. That’s a culture change.

Need Consistent Shooters: You know this. I know this. Issa Thiam can make them. Mike Williams can make them. But they’re not consistent enough yet. Geo Baker should help next year. But Rutgers is not a threat from deep on most nights. And that is going to keep them from winning games against better teams.

Still Ahead of Schedule: I pegged Rutgers for 9-4 in the out of conference year. With the win over DePaul, they are still ahead of my schedule. If they can finish 11-2 or even 10-3 in the Out of Conference, that means 14 or 15 wins is definitely in sight. And that means they double last year’s win total. This is a sigh night and day different Rutgers team. They’re fun to watch. Don’t give up on them. Pack the RAC Saturday night.