The Scarlet Knights finally get their long awaited appearance on the AP poll for the first time in 41 years, as they appear in the #24 spot of the new rankings that released today. Rutgers is 14-4 on the season and 5-2 in the Big 10, currently ranked #3 in the conference.
The Scarlet Knights have been performing extraordinarily better than many people may have predicted so far this season. Rutgers has taken out some notable teams, most of them as an underdog. Wisconsin (11-7) and Penn State (13-5) were the first Big 10 victims to be “upset” by Rutgers, taking down Penn State 72-61 and defeating Wisconsin 72-65. The Scarlet Knights also routed currently ranked #10 Seton Hall 68-48 in between those two games. Rutgers then put down 14-4 Indiana on January 15th, with a score of 59-50, which was a huge game in the conference standings for both teams. The worth of all these notable victories were put on the line last night when Rutgers faced Minnesota at The RAC. The Scarlet Knights took down the Golden Gophers in a convincing 64-56 win, even after getting almost no production from their star guard, Geo Baker.
This group of young men that Head Coach Steve Pikiell is leading is arguably one of the best teams Rutgers has had in quite some time. They are lead by junior guard Geo Baker, who is averaging 10.7 points and 3.9 assists and sophomore guard, son of former NBA star, Ron Harper– Ron Harper Jr. who averages 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Big man Myles Johnson is also an important contributor, averaging 9.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. The rest of the team contributes equally, making big shots as well as big time defensive plays game in and game out. The chemistry of this team is at an all time high, and it is shown each game.
Rutgers has not made an appearance in the NCAA tournament since 1991, in which they received a first round exit. Now there is no telling how the rest of the season will go, but if they play against the rest of the Big 10 the way they have been recently, they will almost definitely be seeded to compete in the 2020 NCAA tournament.
The Scarlet Knights are 13-0 at The RAC this season, but a meager 1-3 on the road. They have seven more away games this season, so they need to improve their road record if they want to make a serious run in the Big 10 tournament.
Rutgers will look to continue their two game win streak and improve to 6-2 in Big 10 play, as they hit the road to take on #18 Iowa at Carver Hawkeye Arena. This is another huge game for Rutgers to prove that they can hang with other ranked opponents and hold another victory over Big 10 opponents.
For more information on the Rutgers University Men’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: