Rutgers and the Big Ten announced their hoops schedule yesterday, and, at first glance, Rutgers got a break. They open their Big Ten conference schedule with Northwestern and then Penn State at home. Those are two lower rung opponents, giving Rutgers a huge shot at going 2-0 to start conference play.
That said, it doesn't get any easier after that.
Saturday Nov. 8 Baruch College (exhibition) RAC 2 p.m.
Sunday Nov. 16 George Washington RAC TBA
Wednesday Nov. 19 Fairleigh Dickinson RAC 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Nov. 23 St. Francis-Brooklyn (Barclays Classic) RAC TBA
Tuesday Nov. 25 St. Peter’s (Barclays Classic) RAC TBA
Friday Nov. 28 vs. Vanderbilt (Barclays Classic) Brooklyn, N.Y. 7 p.m. NBCSN
Saturday Nov. 29 vs. Virginia/La Salle (Barclays Classic) Brooklyn, N.Y. 7/9:30 p.m. NBCSN
Monday Dec. 1 at Clemson (ACC/Big Ten Challenge) Clemson, S.C. 7 p.m. ESPNU
Saturday Dec. 6 at Seton Hall Newark, N.J. TBA
Tuesday Dec. 9 New Hampshire RAC 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 14 vs. Manhattan (MSG) New York, N.Y. 11 a.m.
Saturday Dec. 20 St. Francis, Pa. RAC TBA TBA
Tuesday Dec. 23 Sacred Heart RAC 7:30 p.m. TBA
Sunday Dec. 28 at Monmouth West Long Branch, N.J. 3 p.m. TBA
Tuesday Dec. 30 Northwestern* RAC TBA TBA
Saturday Jan. 3 Penn State* RAC TBA TBA
Thursday Jan. 8 at Nebraska* Lincoln, Neb. TBA
Sunday Jan. 11 Wisconsin* RAC TBA
Wednesday Jan. 14 at Maryland* College Park, Md. TBA
Saturday Jan. 17 at Minnesota* Minneapolis, Minn. TBA
Tuesday Jan. 20 Michigan* RAC TBA
Saturday Jan. 24 at Penn State* University Park, Pa. TBA
Tuesday Jan. 27 Michigan State* RAC TBA
Saturday Jan. 31 at Indiana* Bloomington, Ind. TBA
Tuesday Feb. 3 at Illinois* Champaign, Ill. TBA
Sunday Feb. 8 Ohio State* RAC TBA
Thursday Feb. 12 Purdue* RAC TBA
Thursday Feb. 19 at Iowa* Iowa City, Iowa TBA.
Sunday Feb. 22 Indiana* RAC TBA
Thursday Feb. 26 at Purdue* West Lafayette, Ind. TBA
Tuesday Mar. 3 Maryland* RAC TBA
Saturday Mar. 7 at Michigan* Ann Arbor, TBA
The out of conference schedule isn't much easier either. The worst case scenario, that I can see would be 9-22 (3-13). That's if things goes as poorly as last year, and there is no marked improvement.
However, when one looks at Rutgers' basketball team, the key to remember is their 2 best players are seniors. And Kadeem Jack is an NBA prospect. That makes a major difference. If everyone falls in line behind those players, and plays to their role, the team can be better than expected. Not to mention, I'm a big believer in confidence. If the team can come through the out-of-conference portion at 9-4 or 8-5, and then jump out to a 2-0 start in the Big Ten, maybe some interesting things can happen.
Best case: 15-16 (6-12). That would be a huge jump for this team and show recruits the team is on the right track.
Of course, it never hurts to believe:
Speaking of recruiting:
Also, 2015 Power Forward Charlie Thomas cut his list to a final 8. Rutgers is included.