Where was Rutgers’ Head? This team can really defend, but on offense, they were—at times—a total disaster. Off line passes, poorly chosen shots, bobbled balls, battles against their own teammates for rebounds, and bricked shot after bricked shots. It really looked like Rutgers’ head wasn’t in the game on offense. They could not figure things out, and the inability to make even an easy shot cost them this game. And this was a winnable game.
The crowd was great. From the Riot Squad, to the band, to the random wonderful people that showed up and bought in, they were wonderful. The “We Want Wings” chant while players were shooting free throws was the most creative chant from the student section in years. This crowd wanted to explode and wanted to bring the old RAC back, but the team didn’t give them a chance. I really hope it continues, but a performance like this always hurts that possibility. As does the odds this team is on a 5 game losing streak coming into the next home game—a Thursday night 9 o’clock tip in 11 days.
Mike Williams. The junior does not want to lose. He didn’t have the best game, but he still was able to pull down a double-double. He was in the middle of nearly every play, and tried—almost single handedly to bring Rutgers back in it. He is more than just a glue guy now, he’s a key player.
Unleash Corey. Listen, we all want Corey to be the Big Ten’s best point guard and I think this section of his play is part of his development. That said, this team need offense in the worst way. And that means letting Corey go off at times. Yes, the kid has to pick his spots, but if Rutgers can’t find offense, they are in Big Big Ten trouble. All the teams that we suspected are the underbelly of the Big Ten played tough today. Nebraska beat Maryland, Minnesota beat Purdue, Penn State beat Rutgers, and—as I write this—Illinois is leading Ohio State with two minutes left. There aren’t easy games in the Big Ten. If you can’t score you won’t win—letting Corey attack the basket will help give them a better shot. This is why I’m shooting for only 4 more wins. Anything beyond that is really, really tough. Almost impossible, unless Rutgers finds a way to score.