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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts on Indiana

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

Rutgers beat Indiana at home 59-50 to get off to their best start every at the RAC. They are 12-0 at home.

Four Thoughts:

Oh, Oh, Oh Man. That Defense: Rutgers didn’t do anything well offensively tonight. They were 9-18 at the free throw line, but started out 3-10. They shot just under 50% overall, but never really got untracked. But man, did they shut down Indiana. They didn’t foul only allowing 12 trips to the line (and as you may have heard in the broadcast, Indiana gets to the line 27 times). They kept the Hoosiers from getting inside and Indiana only made two three pointers. The offense wasn’t humming for Rutgers, so they just decided to shut the Hoosiers down. What a performance.

The Geo Baker Lift(Off): Baker being available tonight truly gave the team a lift. When he checked in for the first time, the building got a little more juice in it. It was clear Geo was a little rusty, not scoring until making the 2nd shot of a technical foul free throw. But he moved the ball well, defended and came up with his usual steals (2). But the highlight of the night was when he ended the game by splitting the defense and dunking over big man Joey Brunk. That’s what a captain does.

The RAC is a weapon: From “We want Cliff” chants to stifling walls of sound while the Scarlet Knights are on defense, the RAC has become a homecourt again. It may be as good as it was when Gary Waters was here and still hasn’t reached its apex. Rutgers has seven more home games this season and each game should sellout from here on out. The crowd is really becoming a sixth man. If you haven’t been to a game yet this season scoop up a ticket now, because they are going to be hard to come by.

Offense by committee: Yeah, it wasn’t good tonight, but it was timely. From starting the game on a 12-0 run and then extending the lead to 17 in the second half, Rutgers found ways to get points when they needed them. In the starting line-up, Caleb McConnell and Akwasi Yeboah were key scoring 10 and 14 respectively. Rutgers is getting off to good starts at home in both halves and that’s a testament to coaching and experience. Jacob Young continued to use his speed to his advantage and Indiana needed to pay attention to Myles Johnson. Rutgers needs to be defended now, even when the offense isn’t clicking because they are so opportunistic. Bodes well for the rest of the season.