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What We Learned: No. 14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 76, No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers 69

Rutgers continued their improbable run in New York City, so what can be taken away from their second upset win in as many nights?

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Indiana vs Rutgers Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty for a huge part of the game, but at the end of the night, that was probably Rutgers best chance to pull the upset over the Indiana Hoosiers on Thursday night.

Steve Pikiell coached his team to another upset win in the Big Ten Tournament, defeating the Indiana Hoosiers 76-69 in front of a Rutgers friendly crowd at Madison Square Garden to set up a meeting with the No. 3 seed Purdue on Friday night.

What were the biggest takeaways from the upset win for the Scarlet Knights?

What We Learned

1. The Scarlet Knights are incredibly resilient.

As was mentioned, this was not a pretty basketball game for a large portion of the evening. Neither team has huge amounts of offensive firepower, but the Scarlet Knights had enough to get the job done. This game started off about as poorly as it could have for Rutgers, as they trailed 17-3 and 24-8 early on. However, they fought back and used a handful of Indiana turnovers to fight back and claim a 29-28 lead at halftime.

Throughout the second half, it seemed on a few occasions like Indiana was about to come roaring back, but Corey Sanders simply wouldn’t let the Hoosiers reclaim control over the game. Sanders finished with 28 points, making shots to stifle Indiana runs time after time.

2. Indiana still has a long way to go.

Indiana was not projected to have the 9-7 conference record that they finished with by many people, so it’s fair to call this first season under Archie Miller a surprise. However, there are still a handful of inexcusable losses that this team will have to figure out how to avoid going forward. Losses at home to Indiana State and IPFW, along with this loss after they had been playing so well will certainly haunt them going into the offseason.

Without Juwan Morgan on the floor for much of the first half, the Indiana offense went stagnant, allowing Rutgers to claw their way back into the game. It’s no secret that many teams will struggle without their best player, but to see the Hoosiers look the way they did without him for stretches was difficult to watch. For the most part, the Hoosiers go as Robert Johnson goes, and Johnson struggled from the field and finished 4-16 shooting for 12 points.

Overall

Survive and advance is the motto.

Rutgers moves on with an improbable victory over the Indiana Hoosiers, and they’ve earned the right to play in their first Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal. Corey Sanders is playing at a level that should have any opposing team seriously concerned, and they’re playing a defined brand of basketball that could cause problems.

For Indiana, the season was a good building block for the program moving into the future. The expectations for the season were tempered, rightfully so, and big picture they may have exceeded a lot of the expectations they had.