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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts On Rutgers 71-64 loss to Michigan

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Well, we learned that Michigan is the number 3 ranked team in the nation for a reason. They were dominant tonight.

Four Thoughts

Michigan Is Very, Very, Very, Very, Very, Very, Very, Very, Very, Very, Very, Very Good: Rutgers played well in the first half and still Michigan was able to create separation, finishing the half up 9. They moved the ball crisply and almost instinctually and Rutgers couldn’t catch up. Franz Wagner’s length and ability to hit some crazy shots just drove Rutgers mad. I would say it was a bad match-up, but it was worse than that. Michigan just has Rutgers number. No matter what Rutgers threw at the Wolverines defensively, they adjusted and scored. Later in the game, Rutgers defense caught up, by then it was too late.

Montez Mathis Needs to Figure it Out: His inability to see the court, or his inability to want to give the ball up in transition cost Rutgers six points tonight. And four of them came when it would have kept this a game. He needs to give the ball up—if he does that, most often he’ll get it back. Or get another opportunity. But right now it isn’t mistakes, it’s sticking out to the casual fan eye. The offense was out of sync tonight and a lot of that had to do with Michigan’s defense, but when you aren’t scoring overall, you can’t make standout bad plays.

Cliff Omoruyi Is Beginning to Develop: His defensive positioning was much better tonight. He was using his length to his advantage too. He had a couple of blocks and was a problem inside for the Wolverines in the second half. He had three blocks and a couple of alley-oops too. If he can keep this up, it’s another weapon for Steve Pikiell for the stretch run.

Make a Three: Rutgers is not a good shooting team, and they are built to attack the basket. But at some point, you have to knock down a couple of threes. Yes, Michigan is a top defensive team and they had Rutgers out of rhythm all night, but the Scarlet Knights missed open shots. And they took good shots. They just missed them. This isn’t Rutgers not running and offense—they very much run one. But tonight they could not get the ball go through the hoop.

Four games left. Need two wins. On to Sunday.