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8. The bottom, the very bottom

If Rutgers loses this game, not only are the streaks extended above for the ENTIRE offseason, this would be among the worst seasons of any power conference team EVER. Do the players know this? Who knows? But even if you don't know it directly, you can certainly feel it after all that has transpired.

9. Motivation to win the game

If the streaks aren't enough, then there are other motivating factors.

This will almost certainly be the final game for Eddie Jordan. He is a beloved alumni who has flamed out terribly with this team. Send him out right with dignity. The players love him and SHOULD fight for him (kinda in a way players fight for Rex iand the Rex effect is real if just for one game against a severly depleted team).

Also, tt is senior day at Rutgers and they will be honoring 4 seniors including Greg Lewis, a kid none of you know but a kid that has a ton of heart and had injuries rob him of a promising career. He even plays hobbled now and again, the players love him and if they have any heart left, will fight for him in his final game...ever.

10. The Eyeball test vs. Michigan State

I LOVE that MSU just played Rutgers. Rutgers had to go up agianst the #2 team in the nation and this is how they fared in the first half:

67% FG 
24 pts in the paint
7/8 FT's

That was their best first half of the season in two years against the best of the best to prep them for this game.

They attacked the basket, shot the lights out of MSU, and were as aggressive as I've seen them all year. They lead virtually the entire first half and trailed by a mere 2 as 25 pt dogs on a late MSU three.

Now here's the great part. They lost by 31 because well, they are Rutgers and MSU is MSU, but Tom Izzo must have tore hist team a new one at halftime. If not for an incredible 3 pt barrage (again, something Minny is very poor at), Rutgers would have gotten inside the number. I love that they didn't cover.

Why? Because the line is better for this game.

11. The line

The line is +2 Rutgers. Folks, that adjustment for all these injuries is NOT ENOUGH. I said the same thing with Corey Sanders out vs. Illinois -15. It was too few points to lay. Vegas took this line from +12.5 Rutgers @ Minny and adjusted it 10.5 pts. That's a TON. BUT it's not a ton when Rutgers gets it's best player by far back in Sanders who didn't play @ Minny and when Minny loses FIVE of 6 top scorers.

When that happens Rutgers should be a favorite! But the books can't make Rutgers a favorite because of a 17 game losing streak, a 32 game conference losing streak and the fact they hate to adjust game FAR beyond their typical 6 pt swing from home to home and certainly won't swing a 12.5 pt away dog to a 2/3 pt favorite for any college player!

Think about that. This line should be -12.5 - 6 for the switch from home to road = -6.5 and Minny loses 5 scorers including their best guard and top scorer, their best three point shooter, and we get our top scorer back and they only discounted the line 4 points more! I could make an argument Sander's presence ALONE could get this line to +2.5! AND we get all the Minny players out too if we take Rutgers??? 

When big time streaks end they end with authority. These games typically end with one team running the other team off the court just like St. John's did recently to Depaul to snap a record losing streak. If they bring the same fire and intensity they brough against MSU in the first half, we will be sitting pretty.

Note: Minny scored 49 at HOME against Wisconsin, a season low and it's not even close. The effect of the missing roster is real.

 Ok, Rutgers is the play folks. I need not go on.

The pick:

Rutgers +2 over Golden Gophers 
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Posted: #3

5. But I'm not even done with the Gophers Injuries/Suspension list.

Senior foward Joey King will not play in this game as he suffered a broken foot vs. Wisconsin last game.

This is a VERY BIG DEAL. Why? He is their best three point shooter. And...

6. Rutgers is one of the worst 3-pt defending teams in the nation.

They can't guard the three folks. They are in the low 300's in opponent's 3pt FG percentage. 

Now here's the good news. 

King hit 4-7 3's vs. Rutgers and averages 40% for 3. He is....gone.

The 3 pointer is Rutgers achilles heel. They just gave up ELEVEN three's to MSU's Forbes. They can't shoot it and can't defend it.

Well guess what? Although Minny will hit some three's in this game because Rutgers is SO bad at defending them, the Gophers rank 235th in made threes a game. That is GOOD news for a team that can't defend the three.

Minny only has two players of note:

#1 Jordan Murphy

He killed Rutgers the first time out with 19/14/4. One of the reasons was that two of Rutgers big men Ibrahima Diallo and Greg Lewis were out. Their presence will make a difference this time around.

Walk-on Stephon Sharp is a wild card. He's averaging 17 over his past two games and will play a major role here. But I don't have a problem fading a walk-on as a primary scorer in this spot.

So in total, Minny will not have FIVE of their top SIX scorers for this game. Folks as bad as Rutgers has had it, they haven't had it as bad as Minny has it here (and Rutgers has been very, very bad).

7. Backing a team on a losing streak

Ingredient for capping success: look for losing streaks.

Well we get the whopper of all whoppers in Rutgers history. Rutgers just lost its 17th in a row against MSU. That is the LONGEST STREAK IN 100 YEARS. Yes, 100! 

They also have a THIRTY TWO game conference losing streak.

Do you want to carry that burden and record breaking losing streak into the offseason? Do you want to lose to a team that is playing with 5 of it's top six scorers out at home? What more do you want in terms of opportunity? Minnesota is shuttering its own season against any and all, even Rutgers, and before they suspended their leading scorer and heart and soul and an upcoming guard, they were a mere 8-19 and 2-13 in conference. Now they are 8-31 nad 2-15.

Folks, this team is not that far off from Rutgers with or without suspended injured players. Rutgers is 6-24 and 0-17 in conference. Again, these two teams are not that far off.
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