Scarlet Knights Dominate Michigan Wolverines
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights picked up what may have been their biggest win of the season on Sunday afternoon. The Scarlet Knights easily took down the Michigan Wolverines, 62-41, at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights took the lead with 1:38 remaining in the first quarter and never looked back. The Scarlet Knights improved drastically since their last outing when they were defeated by Michigan State in East Lansing. Rutgers played to its strengths all game long and took home a commanding victory.
Rutgers Defensive Prowess
The Scarlet Knights entered the matchup with the 19th best scoring defense, along with the 8th best field goal percentage defense, in the nation. On the other end, the Wolverines entered with a dynamic offense, averaging 72.2 points per game (48th in the nation) while averaging the 16th best shooting percentage. It was destined to be a showdown between a stellar offense and a stifling defense.
Despite the Wolverines’ explosive potential on the offensive end, the Scarlet Knights proved to be more than up to the task. Rutgers held Michigan to just 41 total points, nearly 32 points less than its average. Michigan’s 41 points were its lowest this season. Additionally, the Scarlet Knights held the Wolverines to just 30% shooting from the field, a team that usually averages 46%. Overall, it was clear that the Scarlet Knights defense absolutely dominated the Wolverines offense.
Getting the Offense Back on Track
Entering this one, the Scarlet Knights had been struggling a bit offensively. However, Rutgers was able to return to form on Sunday afternoon, thanks in large part to Arella Guirantes. She entered the contest as the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten and 23rd in the country. Guirantes had been held in check a bit in the last two games but returned to form in a big way on Sunday.
Guirantes led all scorers with 24 points in the game. She also picked up four rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal. Guirantes dominated in the second half, scoring 15 of her 24 points after the break. While Guirantes sparked the offense in the second half, Mael Gilles provided the fire in the first. Gilles put up 12 points in the first half to get the Scarlet Knights off to a hot start. Gilles finished with 14 points, six rebounds, four blocks, and three steals. All in all, the Scarlet Knights appear to have gotten the offense back to normal.
What It All Means
Rutgers entered the game on Sunday with a Rating Percentage Index (RPI) of 53. Michigan came into the matchup with an RPI of 33. In other words, the Scarlet Knights victory over the Wolverines should have a significant impact on their RPI. The lower the Scarlet Knights RPI ends up, the more likely they are to make it into the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, a better RPI will increase Rutgers’ chance of having a higher seed in the tournament. Essentially, the Scarlet Knights greatly increased their chance at a tournament berth with their victory over the Wolverines on Sunday.
The Scarlet Knights head back out on the road, this time traveling to Evanston for a matchup with Northwestern on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Following their matchup with Northwestern, the Scarlet Knights will return home for three straight games.
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