Rutgers played their worst game in years last night, losing at Michigan State 68-45. The Spartans’ defense stifled Rutgers, and they couldn’t hit the open looks they did get. It’s a bad game, it happens. First game where they really didn’t show up all year, so I’m not too worried. The Scarlet Knights are still 7-3 (3-3 Big Ten), so it’s not time to hit the panic button. There is, however, one major concern for Rutgers. They are absolutely horrific from the free throw line.
On Saturday, Rutgers lost to Iowa at home 77-75. They went just 4-12 from the free throw line.
Despite how poorly they played in East Lansing last night, Michigan State was far from perfect. It was a six point game at halftime. Unfortunately, Rutgers went 6-17 from the charity stripe, including 0 for their first 7.
Free throw shooting has been a concern for the Scarlet Knights for years. However, it’s never been this bad. Going into last night, Rutgers ranked 323rd out of 338 Division 1 teams in free throw shooting. 58.4% is not going to get it done.
Rutgers has all the tools to compete for a Big Ten title. Depth, athleticism, defense, shooting, guard play, senior leadership, size. Anything you could possibly want. Free throw shooting, however, is the one thing that can hold this team back. Considering it already cost them the Iowa game and allowed Michigan State to pull away early last night, it’s an issue that needs to be solved sooner rather than later.