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Enjoying the Build: 4 Thoughts on Stony Brook

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Rutgers falls in OT. Can’t get things going.

NCAA Basketball: Big 10 Media Day Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers lost to Stony Brook tonight. It was in overtime. It stunk.

This is not surprising: Okay, Rutgers fans, I know you’re going to hate this, but it’s not. Stony Brook has been knocking on the door. They are Steve Pikiell’s former team. They almost beat RU last year on their home floor. They were gunning for this one.

It’s college hoops: Okay, here’s the deal about hoops and the three point line. Anyone can beat anyone. Look, just this week Wofford beat UNC at UNC. Rider beat Penn State. Good teams, mediocre teams and bad teams lose games they shouldn’t lose all the time. That’s what happened to Rutgers tonight. They got too high after the win over Seton Hall. They had finals. Christmas Break is coming. And beyond Shaquille Doorson and Mike Williams, no one on this team has ever had to handle the press that comes with beating a ranked team. It stinks. It really does. But it’s not the end of the world in year 2.

Rutgers Will learn From This: These are the times that try men’s souls, as they say. Rutgers will see what happens when you take a team you should beat lightly. They will understand, how to get back up after a big win. I think Steve Pikiell is the right guy here. He will teach the team that they have to be up and ready for every game. These kinds of losses happen to everyone, but to really build momentum you have to survive them.

The Next Step: Okay, for Rutgers, the next step is to beat Hartford. Preferably handily, like they’re really mad. For Rutgers fans? The next step is to take a deep breath. It’s unlikely this is a NCAA or even NIT team. Most people didn’t expect that. You want to finish over .500. That means winning 5-6 Big Ten games. That’s the goal here. Incremental progress.

Happy Holidays!