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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts on Michigan State

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NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers lost on the road to Michigan State 77-65 tonight. They are now 0-1 in the Big Ten. Four Thoughts:

This is the kind of effort you want: Yes, that is moral victory talk. Yes, this should be a year that moral victories aren’t important. But after the two losses to St. Bonaventure and Pittsburgh, you wanted to see better against a quality opponent. Rutgers faced a team that was ranked #1 coming into the season and just lost to Duke at home. They were injured (so #11 now) and angry. Rutgers took a lot of punches and kept getting back up. Eventually, the Spartans were able to right their ship, but Rutgers didn’t let them walk all over them. There was potential for a walk here. To me, that makes Pitt and the Bonnies a little disappointing, but gives optimism for the future.

Jacob Young Takes Away, But Jacob Young Gives: In the first half, Young was hesitant. He couldn’t decide whether to pass or to take the shot. It really hampered the Scarlet Knights early attempts at comebacks. But in the second half, Young really took it to the rim and did wha the had to do. He scored 12 points, got to the free throw line and finally got his mid range floater to fall. He kept Rutgers within spitting distance in the second half.

Akwasi Yeboah was a beast: Yeboah led the team with 17 points and is really becoming a factor off the bench for Steve Pikiell. He made threes and even more importantly, he made free throws. He was extremely efficient. He made some threes. He will never be the key figure on this team, but if he can do this and know his role, Rutgers will win some games.

Carry this effort forward: Okay, Rutgers. You’re 0-1 in the Big Ten and 6-3 overall. But you gave your best effort of the season tonight. That should be the baseline. Play this way night in and night out and this season will earn more successes than failures. Rutgers faces a huge test on Wednesday during a home game against Wisconsin. Keep hustling. Keep pushing Win games.