Michigan State’s Tom Izzo on the state of Rutgers basketball: I feel for Steve Pikiell

Rutgers basketball is in a transition year, one clearly made worse by some offseason decisions that came as a major surprise to the program. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is a believer that Rutgers’ down year is due in part to these offseason choices where two starters shockingly entered the transfer portal.

Michigan State beat Rutgers 73-55 on Sunday. With the loss, Rutgers is now 9-7 (1-4 Big Ten).

This offseason, Rutgers shockingly lost its starting backcourt when Paul Mulcahy and Cam Spencer went in the transfer portal.

The loss of Spencer (to UConn) was a huge surprise and stung the program. Rutgers took a chance on Spencer, who played three seasons for Loyola (Maryland). Spencer took a big step up and excelled at Rutgers.

He was being counted on as a big contributor this season. Instead, he parlayed his success at Rutgers that into an opportunity with UConn.

“Don’t rule them [Rutgers] out either. Those two wings, (Mawot) Mag and (Aundre) Hyatt, they’re good players and (Cliff) Omoruyi is a monster,” Izzo told reporters after the game.

“I think they’re getting a little more out of their guards. But, I feel sorry for him [Pikiell], it’s one thing these crazy rules that we have to all deal with, but I think he lost two of his guys in the summer. One went to UConn and one went to Washington. When you lose them in the summer you don’t get to get another player and so I feel for Steve on that. It’s hard enough when you lose them in the spring, but when you lose them in the summer… I think those young guards are coming but they’re young. So, I think all those had a factor in it.”

Spencer is currently averaging 15,6 points per game, a career high. His 51.4 field goal percentage and 46.8 percentage from three point is a major reason why UConn is 15-2 on the season.

Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire