The Rutgers Preview
Date: Wednesday, January 17th
Location: Piscataway, NJ
Record: 9-7 (1-4 Big Ten Conference)
Head Coach: Steve Pikiell (8th Season)
The past few years have been fairly decent for Rutgers. Head Coach Steve Pikiell has built the Scarlet Knights into a formattable opponent in the Big Ten.
The uptick in play started roughly around 2020. The Scarlet Knights had a 20-11 record and was most likely in line to get an NCAA Tournament bid. This was of course before COVID hit and the NCAA Tournament was cancelled.
In 2021 they went 16-12 and made the Round of 32. There they beat Clemson before losing to Houston in the second round.
2022 came along and they ticked their win total up to 18 and made an at large bid into the tournament. However, they were knocked out on overtime to Notre Dame.
Then we have last year. While they did not make the NCAA Tournament they did get an invite to the NIT. Like the year before, they lost in overtime. This time to Hofstra.
None of these years seem to be anything big to a team like Purdue or Illinois but if you’re a team like Rutgers or more importantly Nebraska, it is a very positive step forward. Steve Pikiell has done a fine job in Piscataway.
Rutgers has turned itself into a decent Big Ten basketball team.
Now, their record this year isn’t great. The boys from New Jersey are 1-4 in the Big Ten. They’re not good on offense. Steve’s teams have never been good on offense. They average 67.5 points per game. Ranking them tied for 361st in the nation.
Their field goal percentage is 39%. Dead last in the Big Ten. To compare, Nebraska shoots 47% which places them 5th in the Big Ten.
What they are good at is defense. Or, at least decent at. They pull down 38.9 rebounds per game. Placing them 98th in the nation. As for points allowed, that number is 64.3. Not too bad at all. This is were Nebraska could run into problems.
The Scarlet Knights are lead by Aundre Hyatt. The 6’6” forward is averaging 12.2 points, 1.3 assists, and a very nice 5.5 rebounds per game. He is followed by Mawot Mag who is averaging 10.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.
Also of note is center Clifford Omoruyi who is probably going to be the biggest problem for the Huskers. The 6’11” senior is averaging 9.9 points and 9 rebounds per game for Rutgers.
Finally, anyone else craving a pork roll breakfast sandwich? I need to make my way out to New Jersey sometime soon...