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Unfinished Business: 4 Thoughts on DePaul

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NCAA Basketball: Merrimack at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers travels on the road for the first time and loses 73-70. That is not a Steve Pikiell score.

Rutgers is now the hunted: That’s right. Everyone is gunning for this team, maybe even more so than last year in a weird COVID season. DePaul is in it’s first year with a new coach? That coach sees an opportunity for a big win and the team does too. Rutgers is going to get everyone’s best shot every single night. The Scarlet Knights need to be prepared for that.

Rutgers Needs to Bring Its A Game From the Tip: Yes, I know you’ve all been saying it and you’re right. The Scarlet Knights have started too many games with each player trying to figure out if they’re hot or not. That needs to stop. They need to run their offense and get good shots. Caleb McConnell’s shot is not falling right now and he needs to make sure he’s trying to set up his teammates.

Cliff Omoruyi and Ron Harper Jr.: How important are these guys? Cliff was the turning point of the game. I’m not blaming the officials tonight at all, but Rutgers was so much better with him on the court than when he sat with fouls. So Cliff needs to make sure he stays on the court nearly the entire game and not be in foul trouble. But when he took his fourth foul early in the second half, you knew Rutgers was in trouble. Ron Harper Jr was just as impressive down the stretch and his game has been really good this year. He had 19 and 11. It wasn’t his fault. The rest of the team needs to figure it out. All the parts need to flow together for Rutgers to succeed. It’s not happening right now.

If You Want to Panic, I Can’t Stop You: The Scarlet Knights need to find a way to make up a win. DePaul is playing hard and they are well coached, but it’s year one for Tony Stubblefield and they have no depth. Rutgers should have won this game. Now they need to find a game they’re not expected to win and win it. This is a veteran team and this isn’t a good start. Very, very bad loss today. 27 regular season games left.