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Rutgers Men’s Basketball needs to bounce back from gut-wrenching week

The Scarlet Knights get a much-needed rest after two tough losses.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Rutgers Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Scarlet Knights’ home victory over Indiana feels like a lifetime ago.

Rutgers has lost three of four overall, including two extremely tough losses to Ohio State and Seton Hall. Is it time to press the panic button? No, not just yet.

The team is enjoying a much-needed week off after a loss to its in-state rival. Rutgers found itself in a rock fight at Jersey Mike’s Arena against a struggling Seton Hall team. Both sides wanted this win for bragging rights but could also use it in their record. In the end, Rutgers could not score enough to win the game. The Scarlet Knights mustered just 43 points and could not convert down the stretch.

In end of game situations, Rutgers will need to figure out who is going to take the final shot. Yes, Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. are gone. So what now? Caleb McConnell is known for his defensive ability. Will he be able to perform offensively in clutch time? Can Cam Spencer find consistency late? Will Paul Mulcahy be able to finish? There are some questions to be answered.

The loss to Seton Hall is bad enough. At the end of the day, fans would be able to get over an out-of-conference loss early in the year. It did not help that it came after a brutal loss, and missed call, against Ohio State.

Of course, we have all seen the tape. The ball handler for the Buckeyes stepped out of bounds before making the pass. Tanner Holden was also standing out of bounds before coming back in and knocking down the game-winner from deep. The Big Ten made a statement admitting that the shot should not have counted but ultimately, that doesn't mean anything. The previous week has been rough in Piscataway.

Now, it is time to bounce back. Rutgers will have a full week off before returning home to host Wake Forest. Bucknell and Coppin State will be the final two games in the calendar year before 2023. At 6-4, the Scarlet Knights face an extremely important three-game stretch before Big Ten play intensifies. It will begin with a trip to West Lafayette to face an elite Purdue team on Jan. 2.

Yes, it was a difficult week for Rutgers. At the same time, it is too early to panic but there are some questions to be answered about the Scarlet Knights. What we do know is that the next three games are extremely important heading into Big Ten play.