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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts on Minnesota

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

Rutgers beat up on another Big Ten team at home, this time winning over the Minnesota Golden Gophers 64-56.

Four Thoughts:

The Defense Is Elite: It is so much fun watching this team play defense. Today, their defensive rotations were so crisp that Minnesota had trouble getting open looks. Daniel Oturu scored 19 points, but Myles Johnson and multiple other Rutgers defenders made him work for every one of them. The Scarlet Knights hustle on every play and shut down possessions at every step of the way. Yes, Minnesota tried to make a late run, but that’s basketball. They average 73 points a game and Rutgers held them to 56.

The Dunk is a Weapon: In the past, teams would waltz into the RAC and put on alley-oops shows. Under Pikiell, his defense has been able to limit that, but now on offense, Rutgers is becoming a dunk machine. Alley-oops, monster tomahawk jams and regular old dunks as well. Why is this important? Well, when the dunks are thunderous, not only does it turn the crowd up to the next level, but it also takes the air out of the opposition. The dunks Rutgers is throwing down don’t just score points, they send messages.

Geo Baker is clutch: Last week against Indiana, Geo essentiaslly ended the game with the dunk heard ‘round Piscataway. Today, with one second left on the shot clock, Geo hit a fade away three off an inbound. It essentially ended the Gophers’ day as a backbreaking moment. Geo only had 5 points, but those three were key.

Rutgers Should Be in the Top 25: This is a very good basketball team. They aren’t winning squeakers at home. They are winning going away, They should be voted in tomorrow for the first time in 41 years. Wow.