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Unfinished Business: 4 Thoughts on Rutgers 84-72 Loss to Purdue

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers fell to Purdue 84-72.

Four Thoughts:

Rutgers Came to Play: That was a tough environment. The crowd was loud, and I saw a report on Twitter that the decibels got to 120 in the first half. That didn’t mean RU backed down. They fought back in the game several times, and played very, very hard. They just couldn’t get over the hump. It was the number 5 team in the Big Ten and Jaden Ivey was a problem. Rutgers threw everything they had at them defensively—a zone, a press and their typical man to man. The Scarlet Knights couldn’t force turnovers for easy baskets and that’s what got them.

The Whistle: Playing on the road in the Big Ten is tough. The crowd is against you, the players are flying high from the noise. But it doesn’t help when the refs are blowing an easy whistle. Let’s put it plainly, the fouls the referees called were fouls, but they did not allow Rutgers to play physically today. Too many players were in foul trouble and Caleb McConnell fouled out. Rutgers, at the end of the first half, did not stay composed. As they tried to come back, they drew a foul on Trevion Williams. Cliff Omoruyi—a very good player—got a technical for taunting on that foul and allowed Purdue to end the half on a 9-1 run. That was the game right there.

You Know It Is Not Your Night When: Trevion Williams was a problem. He wasn’t just getting points down on the block like he did against Rutgers at the RAC. No, he hit crossover stepbacks. He hit a three. You knew you were in trouble right then, when those started to go down. Rutgers wasn’t able to match that offensively, and the Scarlet Knights defense wasn’t what you wanted tonight. Jaden Ivey was fantastic. Zach Edey was a beast. Rutgers doesn’t match up well with the Boilermakers and it’s still a RAC miracle they won back in December.

The NET conundrum: Ah yes. They mysterious NET rankings. This game wasn’t close, and Rutgers is probably going to take a hit here. Michigan lost too, so I can’t see Rutgers number going up. I would have liked Rutgers to have lost by single digits, but it didn’t happen tonight. The match-up with Michigan is key, as it is likely Juwan Howard and maybe some players will be out. But Rutgers will probably not make a notable movement in the NET tonight. They need to find a few wins still. Season’s not over.