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Enjoying the Build: 4 Thoughts on Ohio State

Rutgers takes one to the chin.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron has you covered with the recap of this ugly game.

Here are my 4 thoughts:

No Mike Williams Hurts: Losing Mike Williams to an ankle injury for several weeks hurts the team. But losing him in practice yesterday hurt this game. The rotations and line-ups were off and players weren’t able to have the defined roles they usually do. It’s no excuse for the nearly historic bad offense in that first half, but it had to throw off the chemistry for the team and compound some of the offensive issues this team has struggled with all year.

Ohio State Dominated This Game on Defense: Rutgers wanted to get the ball inside early and the Buckeyes wouldn’t let them. They kept Corey Sanders from getting to the rim, and forced Deshawn Freeman into tough shots away from the basket. They forced the ball to Geo Baker, Issa Thiam and Souf Mensah. And in the first half, no one’s shot was falling. Ohio State is no fluke and while Rutgers was flat, the Buckeye’s defense was the reason this game was a blowout.

At times, Rutgers fought: When Ohio State pushed the deficit to 30, Rutgers could have easily folded and lost by 40. You know Rutgers fans have seen that before. But the Scarlet Knights kept playing and actually made a short run in the 2nd half. It wasn’t much, but it was nice to see some three point shots fall and Rutgers keep the score from being a total blowout. It’s hard to remember that the only two players on this team to have any sort of success in the Big Ten before this season is the injured Williams and Shaq Doorson, who helped Rutgers battled Maryland hard after beating Wisconsin in their freshmen year. This team still has to learn how to handle success. It’s clear that curve isn’t coming easily.

Iowa is an important game: Iowa is not going to come into the RAC and roll over just because they have 1 conference win. Both Rutgers and Iowa are going to see this as a winnable game, and the Hawks have had Rutgers’ number. Rutgers needs to bring their a game and hope the shots are falling. The students who came tonight (thank you!) wanted to make the RAC rock, but never had a chance. Hopefully they’ll come back on Wednesday for another moment. There’s still a lot of basketball left.