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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts on Rutgers 67-37 Win Over Michigan State

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers ran ‘em out of the gym. An absolute dominating performance, particularly on the defensive end, and Rutgers gets its first win ever against the Michigan State Spartans. Celebrate this one, Rutgers fans. And start looking toward the next.

Four Thoughts.

Myles Johnson is Ridiculous: Myles Johnson may be the best big man in the Big Ten. That is not hyperbole. When he is not in foul trouble—and a lot of those foul calls are questionable—he alters the game on both ends of the court. Tonight, he was amazing. He had 13 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks and a steal. That is a stat line, my friends. His two put back dunks in this game were amazing. He begged for the ball. And guess what, he’s still a redshirt junior. Lots of growth to go still.

Rutgers Defense Wore Down Michigan State: Did you notice how the Scarlet Knights got into the Spartans’ grill from the inbound? That was by design. Rutgers made them earn every inch. And for a team that hadn’t played in 20 days, they weren’t ready for it. They were clearly rusty and Rutgers relentless defense held them to 37 points. MSU had a spurt late in the first half, but were never able to be consistent. Rutgers just shut them down. They only shot 28.6% and were outrebounded 40-29. Rutgers rotations were spot on on every defensive possession. This was a masterpiece and flustered a clearly out of sync Spartan team. History made, as Rutgers got its first win every against a Big Ten blue blood.

Giving the Ball to Geo Baker: Geo Baker at point guard has changed everything. As fun as Jacob Young is to watch when he is on, the Scarlet Knights look so much calmer when Geo runs the point. They are patient with their shots and the ball never stops moving. Geo can see the floor and knows when to pass, when to drive and when to shoot. Baker had 11 points and 5 assists tonight. And to add to that, a career high 5 steals. Balance, balance balance.

Get the Games in: This is not to say that Rutgers is going to go undefeated the rest of the way—they won’t. But Rutgers needs to stay healthy. They need to play, because they put themselves in a hole with their losing streak. This two game winning streak has gotten them back on track, but they still need wins. Rutgers can’t afford to be affected by COVID 19 for an extended period of time. Look how it affected the Spartans tonight. It is going to take a little bit for them to get going again. Rutgers is back on track. Now they need to get on a run—which means they need to play games. Don’t believe me? Check out what Jerry Carino had to say.