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Enjoying the Build: 4 Thoughts On Indiana

Rutgers came out snoozing and never woke up

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

Rutgers lost an ugly game 65-43. It wasn’t even that close.

This Is Predictable: Rutgers is what it is. A team capable to pushing ranked teams to the limit and then putting up putrid performances the next game. I’m sure the boo-bird fans will be out to question Pikiell and wonder when things are going to change for the better. It’s clear that it won’t be this year. Not with Rutgers’ depth worn down by injuries. Not with a schedule that tightens the schedule. This team gets exhausted easily and I’m not sure they’ve put back to back performances together all season. There are a lot of reasons for that, but they are likely worth exploring in a longer post down the line. Remember, Indiana had it even worse, playing Saturday night in a game similar to what RU had against Purdue.

Rutgers Offense Was Putrid: Yes, Indiana plays a defense that Rutgers matches up terribly with, but adjustments can be made—they weren’t today. For instance, every time a player set a screen for Corey Sanders, Indiana would hedge and keep Corey from driving the lane. Corey is fast enough to beat his guy off the dribble without the screen tonight. As Corey Sanders goes, so go the Scarlet Knights.

The Rutgers Curse: This is silly and superstitious, but it feels familiar, doesn’t it Rutgers? Indiana is the only team in the Big Ten to shoot the 3 about as badly as the Scarlet Knights. So, what happens? Indiana opens the game with 4 of 5 made threes and shot 9 of 19 for the game. They lit it up. A worn down Scarlet Knights team did not defend the three well enough, and Indiana smartly ran Rutgers guards through a ton of screens. They really tired them out even more.

Rutgers Has to Move the Ball Better: The Scarlet Knights don’t usually turn the ball over that much. I’m starting to think that’s in part because they don’t pass a lot, but at the same time—not passing can lead to turnovers as well. Yeah, weird logic. Deshawn Freeman had three turnovers by himself and that was because the defense correctly read that he was unlikely to give the ball up when it went into the post. At the same time, when Freeman did pass the ball (on an easy toss to Corey Sanders on a fast break), he threw it out of bounds. Rutgers couldn’t make the simple play tonight and it destroyed any chance that had basically from the tip.