I’m a big-time Rutgers fan. Both my parents went there, so I’ve followed their football and basketball teams since like 4th grade. Once I made the decision to go there, obviously my fandom reached another level, considering I can go to a bunch more games than I ever did before. Let’s be brutally honest here, Rutgers has been absolutely bullied in Big Ten competition since joining the conference in 2014. I won’t get into football because I’m still trying to recover from last season, and that’s not what I’m here to blog about. No, I’m here to talk about the basketball team.
Rutgers football has at least had some successful seasons that I can remember. Rutgers basketball has been a trainwreck for awhile. But there’s been some exciting moments in the past few years for the Scarlet Knights. I was there in 2015 when they beat eventual NCAA runner-up Wisconsin at the RAC (if Wisconsin beat 38-0 Kentucky and Rutgers beat Wisconsin, Rutgers technically went 39-0 that year. It’s science.) Corey Sanders and co. have actually been relatively competitive in the Big Ten games I’ve seen at the RAC, too, staying within striking distance of national powerhouses like Michigan St. and Indiana. But will Rutgers ever compete for a Big Ten crown, or make the NCAA tournament? Well, get a load of this.
It almost looks like a meme. Rutgers in between UNC and Nova? Those teams were playing in the freaking national championship just two years ago (UNC won it all last year as well). I don’t know how much this will change, but if Steve Pikiell actually brings in the nation’s 9th best recruiting class and 4th in the Big Ten, the man will become a Rutgers legend. Him and Pat Hobbs should get a goddamn parade down College Ave if that happens. Because as much as I want our football team to be good, our tailgates are amazing as it is. But if our basketball team is good? Game changer. I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like being at a big basketball school like Duke or Cuse.
They might not be done yet, as four-star recruit Jalen Carey just announced Rutgers as one of his final six choices along with Villanova, Miami, Syracuse, Kansas and UConn. More blogs to come on who these recruits are and what they could mean to the future of the program. In Pikiell we trust, Hobbs 2020, Fence the Garden, Go Knights, and, as always, Free the Alley.