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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts on Rutgers 74-63 Win Over Indiana

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

Rutgers woke up about halfway through the first half, and never looked back. What a game.

Four Thoughts.

The Flipped the Switch: Down 23-8 and shooting terribly, the Scarlet Knights flat out turned it on. This was reminiscent of the Big Ten Tournament game back at Madison Square Garden. The Scarlet Knights looked like they were going to sleep walk through another game, but the alarm clock went off. After a terrible starting 0-7 from three, they went 11-20 the rest of the way. The second half was a dunk show, with alley-oops to Myles Johnson, flushes by Montez Mathis and some incredible finishes by Ron Harper Jr. Rutgers outscored the Indiana Hoosiers 66-40 the rest of the way.

Geo’s Night: If this is it at the RAC for Geo Baker, man did he go out in style. When Rutgers was down, he flat out took over. He scored 20 points, 10 assists and had 5 rebounds and 2 steals. I’m not going to lie, when the Big Ten Network aired the Senior Night moments, I had tears in my eyes. Geo has been the face of this program—heck, this University for the past four years. And tonight, he did everything he needed to to win it. Geo deserved an ovation for what he did tonight and for what he did for his years here. And, in a nice moment, he was replaced on the floor by the heir apparent, Jalen Jones.

Ron Fire: He’s back, baby! Ron Harper Jr was on fire tonight. He matched Geo’s 20 with 20 of his own. He was 4 of 7 from three, going on a stretch the reminded everyone of earlier this season. Everything looks better, the sun is brighter, my breakfast tastes better and the birds sing more when Ron Harper Jr is scoring. If Ron is back—things look good going forward. This was a team win—Myles Johnson had blocks, Jacob Young ran the offense, Paul Mulcahy had huge hustle plays, Caleb McConnell forced turnovers—but Ron being back? That’s the biggest sign of all.

Magic Number Is One: And Rutgers has two more shots at it. I’m not going to lie, Nebraksa scares the heck out of me. The Cornhuskers are bad, but they can score. Rutgers can’t afford to think that they can walk in here and just win without trying. Rutgers can’t start out from being and hope to come back. The road is never easy, even against bad teams. Rutgers has to show they are back for good. There’s time to start playing your best basketball now. Let’s do it.

Okay, commenters, we had a ton of comments 22 minutes after the Maryland loss. Let’s do it in celebration now.