Rutgers fell a whopping sixteen spots from 15 to 31 in this week’s AP poll. This wasn’t surprising, as the Scarlet Knights played some of the worst basketball I’ve seen from them in years.
They lost 68-45 to Michigan State in East Lansing last Tuesday before dropping another contest to Ohio State at home Saturday, 79-68. While Rutgers made a push towards the end of the game, it was too little too late, having trailed by more than 20 at one point.
I’m not pushing the panic button, but I’d be lying if I said this week didn’t concern me. Geo Baker doesn’t look himself, Ron Harper jr.’s ankle seems to still be bothering him, Montez Mathis’ hot shooting has cooled off. In a nutshell, not much is going right.
Jacob Young, who led Rutgers with 19 points on Saturday, doesn’t seem too concerned. “To me, it’s not our offense that’s killing us. It’s our defense, our rebounds, our second-chance effort. That’s not the same as it was at the beginning of the year, but we’re good. It’s nothing to stress about. Everybody’s going crazy. It’s just a couple of games. We’re good, we’re gonna bounce back.” That’s refreshing to hear, the team shouldn’t be panicked. Take this week for what it was, and come back better.
Injuries have also hampered Rutgers in the early going.
Baker & Harper jr. have each battled injuries early in the season. Freshman center Cliff Omoruyi is still out. Caleb McConnell just recently started his season due to injury. Steve Pikiell hasn’t had the same lineups all that much in the early going.
Did this week suck? Absolutely. Do I think Rutgers will bounce back? Yes I do.