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The move to the B1G is all but official. So, how will it impact Rutgers basketball? Plus, there's a game tomorrow...
Jerry Carino covers the pros and cons pretty well in this post, but there are a few other things to look at as well. The move to the Big Ten plays the long game, but how will it affect Rutgers in the near future?
1. Stability, of course: The Big Ten is not the Big East. Hell, after this year, the Big East won't be the Big East anymore. Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame will be gone. West Virginia's already gone. That's four basketball powers right there, out of the picture. It's likely UConn will replace Maryland in the ACC. The Big East will be closer to a strong Atlantic 10 tye conference, as opposed to the behemoth it has been for the past 8 years. And who's to say Louisville and Cincinnatti won't bold to the Big 12? Rutgers will be in a conference with strong basketball in Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Illinois is up and down as is Purdue. It's still a good conference, and you don't have to worry about it suddenly imploding.
2. Money, Money, Money: RU will be able to pay Mike Rice or another quality coach. They'll be able to update the RAC. They'll be able to compete... for real. Once that happens, once the practice facility is built, this becomes a *real* program, able to compete with the best. Think of what Schiano and Mulcahy did with the Stadium and Hale Center, and imagine RU doing that to the RAC.
3. A Senior Laden Team: Assuming Rutgers makes the move in 2 years, the Myles Mack class will be seniors. Senior guards do damage. They'll be ready to roll, and should be primed to make an NCAA run. And the strength of schedule of the Big Ten will give them plenty of opportunity to get quality wins. By the time this team gets to the B1G, it should be no worse than middle of the pack (barring a Rutgers-like rash of transfers, fail outs and players bailing for the pros early). And the Big Ten is a defensive league, which is right in Mike Rice's wheelhouse.
1. Recruiting: What is this going to do to the recruiting efforts of Mike Rice? Kids want to play in MSG, kids want to play against the Dukes and UNC's of the world. Will they want to play against the Izzos? Plus, even if the Practice Facility does all people say its going to do, it's still years away. Mike Rice needs to win with this team, preferably in the next year or so. If Coach Rice and co can make a run this year or next, that will help tons.
2. It's Not the ACC: The Big Ten is nice, and there'll be some fun match-ups, but could you imagine Duke or UNC coming to the RAC on a regular basis? That would be fun, and it would catch the fans' eyes. I'm looking forward to seeing Michigan State and Ohio State showing up, but the Big Ten doesn't carry much in the way of basketball buzz. At least not in this area of the country.
3. Does Anyone Care about Basketball Anymore? We get it. Football drives the bus. But, come on, this is nothing more fun than a college hoops game that goes wire to wire. All these conference moves are football based (except maybe the ACC's), and basketball can be figured out later. But everyone loves March Madness and that shouldn't be forgotten. Sorry, but it shouldn't. Not for all the tailgates in the world.
So, in all honesty, I've warmed up to the idea of the Big Ten. I think there's a lot of potential, and there's money. That will help. I'll miss the Big East, but the Big East isn't the Big East. Plus, that didn't work for RU. Time to try something new.
Meanwhile, there's a game tomorrow. What would I like to see?
-The Guards Continue to Share the Ball: These guards work best when they're not trying to do it all. Play like they played against Sacred Heart and Princeton and Rutgers should be fine.
-Dane Miller: Would love for Dane to just take over the game on the offensive end.
-Wally Judge Leading: We've been seeing flashes of it. If Judge, who's been through the wars, can take on the leadership role, Rutgers will be in good shape this year.
-A Win: Tomorrow is going to be a good day for Rutgers. But Boston University is 0-3 and will not just lay down. At least not at first. Don't ruin all the good buzz by losing a game Rutgers has no business losing.