4 storylines for IU’s game at Rutgers

1. Rutgers on the rise?
The Scarlet Knights found themselves outclassed on the basketball court — among other ventures — during their first four seasons in the Big Ten. This year, coach Steve Pikiell’s third season in New Jersey, Rutgers is showing signs of life. A win over the Hoosiers, whose season Rutgers ended in last year’s Big Ten Tournament, would give the Scarlet Knights their first three-game winning streak since joining the league. Rutgers has won two of its last three at home, including victories over Ohio State and Nebraska.

2. Geo means go
Sophomore guard Geo Baker has given Rutgers a steady presence in its backcourt. Baker ranks third in the Big Ten in minutes (34.2 per game), fifth in assists (4.1), fifth in steals (1.6) and eighth in 3-pointers (2.2). In last season’s Big Ten Tournament matchup, Baker came off the bench and scored 15 points, hitting three 3-pointers in Rutgers’ 76-69 win over IU. “They’re young, but their guards have been very aggressive,” Archie Miller said of Rutgers. “Geo Baker has a green light to let the ball go.”

3. Omoruyi returning to form
A left leg injury suffered in the first half of Rutgers’ Jan. 9 game vs. Ohio State shelved Eugene Omoruyi for three games. But the 6-foot-7 junior has been back for each of Rutgers’ past two contests, coming off the bench as he works his way back into focus. Omoruyi leads Rutgers with 13.9 points per game this season, and has scored in double figures in 12 of the 16 contests he’s played. He’s not much of a perimeter threat, and he’s not especially efficient inside the arc, but he’s given the Scarlet Knights a bit of a punch while helping alongside Baker.

4. Getting on track at the RAC
Indiana hasn’t lost at the Rutgers Athletic Center since the Scarlet Knights joined the league for the 2014-15 campaign. In fact, IU’s only loss in series history came during last season’s conference tournament matchup at Madison Square Garden. Indiana found a jolt from a trip to Piscataway, N.J. during the 2015-16 season, when a couple second-half 3-pointers from walk-on Ryan Burton helped IU escape with a 79-72 win. Is there another win to be had for IU at the RAC? Might there also be another unsung hero waiting to break out?