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40 Gets You 40: 4 Thoughts On Rutgers 90-68 Loss to Illinois

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NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Rutgers vs Illinois Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Okay. Rutgers got creamed. Let’s get to it.

Four Thoughts.

Illinois is Very Good: Make no mistake, Illinois is a good team. They are a number 1 seed and they played like it from the tip. They are better than Rutgers is right now, and they showed it. Rutgers didn’t have anyone to match up with Ayo Dosunmu or Kofi Cockburn. They came out, punched Rutgers in the face and Rutgers weren’t able to get their defense and offense in a flow. It’s tough. The Fighting Illini won this game.

The Refs Didn’t Help: Listen, Rutgers fouled tonight. A lot. They play an aggressive defense and if the refs have a tight whistle there are nights where it is going to truly hurt Rutgers. And Illinois played better than Rutgers, but what’s frustrating is a lot of the time, the Illini were allowed to be more physical than Rutgers was. Pushing under the basket? Fouls is on Rutgers, not Illinois. A Flagrant 2 on Rutgers. A very questionable technical on Paul Mulcahy. Meanwhile, Cockburn is destroying Rutgers all over the place and no call. If you are going to call it tight in a neutral site game, it should go both ways. Sigh. Anyway, Rutgers had 36 free throws in the first game at the RAC, so it evens out...

Rutgers Got Taken Out of Their Offense: This happens all season, a physical defense comes to town and Rutgers can’t quite move the ball. Where Indiana is soft, Illinois is tough and physical. It meant Rutgers went isolation way more than they should have. The assists aren’t there. The ball didn’t go through the hoop because Rutgers defense wasn’t energized. It’s like a thread... pull one and everything collapses. It’s going to be interesting to see what the next match up is.

Ultimately, Doesn’t Matter: Guess what? Another 40 minutes are coming. Tune in to CBS on Sunday night because the Scarlet Knights are going to hear their name called. And this season, this is all that matters. Rutgers is dancing people. This loss is rough, but it doesn’t matter. We have another game. And it involves a gosh darn bracket. LET’S GO!