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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts on a 79-66 loss to Iowa

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NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers didn’t have it tonight. They played hard, but Iowa just had their number.

Four Thoughts and Hot Takes

The Refs Took Myles Johnson Out of the Equation: Yes, we know. Myles had 3 fouls in the first half, and two of them were...should we say... questionable calls. But it made it really hard for the Scarlet Knights to get going early. It was almost as if the Scarlet Knights were stunned because of it. In fact, you could tell within the first 70 seconds of this game how it was going to go. Rutgers likes to muck it up and if the best defensive big man in the Big Ten is limited, then—you’re in trouble.

Rutgers Offense Was Kind of a Mess: Rutgers had a ton of open 3 point shots. Rutgers missed a ton of open three point shots. To me, this is a bigger story than the Johnson and Cliff Omoruyi early fouls, because the Scarlet Knights played pretty well defensively, but Iowa was able to make threes and Rutgers wasn’t. Caleb McConnell was 1-7. Ron Harper Jr. is in a complete funk from three that he can’t seem to get out of. And Montez Mathis is forcing the issue when he gets the ball. Rutgers offense works best when it flows, and it wasn’t tonight. The Scarlet Knights were an insane 6 for 28 from three. In garbage time, Jaden Jones made his Rutgers debut.

Joe Wieskamp and Iowa Have Rutgers Number: Forget Luka Garza, who is a great player and is going to get calls and points—it’s Wieskamp who is maddening. Rutgers never seems to have an answer for him and because of that, Rutgers has only beaten Iowa once in the Steve Pikiell era. When Rutgers scores, Iowa outscores them. When Rutgers can’t score, the Scarlet Knights can’t muck it up enough and Iowa still gets theirs. Meanwhile, eternal villain Wieskamp was insane in the first half with 16 points. He finished with 26 points. He will go down as one of the biggest Rutgers villains in basketball history.

Geo Baker Continues to Play Like a Senior: No one lit it up today, but Baker had a big time stat sheet. He is clearly over his injury and did everything he could to keep the Scarlet Knights in it. While his (and everyone’s, see thought 2) three point shot was off, he still managed to score 11. He dove for loose balls. He had his head up and found the open man. He finished with 5 assists, 5 rebounds and a block. Excited to see what Geo does down the stretch.