Because the next time Rutgers plays at the FedEx Forum – the conference tournament – the stakes are significantly higher.
"That's the destination," said head coach Eddie Jordan. "We have something to play for. Thirty points, 40-point, 50-point loss, it's just one game. We have to understand that too."
The 101-69 loss Tuesday dropped Rutgers to 9-14 on the season. A 3-7 conference record has Rutgers in a three-way tie for sixth place.
A six seed, Jordan said, is a significant goal for the program projected to finish 10th in the conference.
"We still think that we can be, maybe, in a six-spot where we can avoid the first round games and we can be lumped in there," Jordan said. "It would be a nice little thing to say we're lumped in there with SMU and Cincinnati and UConn and Memphis. … That's the goal. You have to deal with the journey to reach the goal, so that's what we're looking at. We're looking at doing everything right to win."
Rutgers is 0-7 on the road this season, making the last victory outside of Piscataway a first-round win over DePaul in the 2013 Big East Tournament.
When hosting Rutgers, opponents average a 13.8-point margin of victory.
"We just have to play better on the road, meaning you have to be sharper with your execution," Jordan said. "You have to be able to get stops and rebound. It's all about focusing and executing and not allowing yourself to be distracted by a different environment. Sometimes you're distracted by that, and we just got to get better at executing down the stretch."
Rutgers looks for road win No. 1 tomorrow night in Tampa when the Scarlet Knights take on USF (12-11, 3-7).
"When you have games like [Memphis], you don't want to rehash those games with your team," Jordan said. "We did talk about it yesterday a little bit, but you've got to look forward. Every day is a new day. It's fresh. You want to do everything you can to win."