Beyond the magnificent seven and the intense practices, not much is known about Mike Rice and Rutgers basketball. That makes it a great time to be a fan.
In previous years, a fan knew what was coming. There would be some hope--a good recruiting class maybe--but mostly trepidation. Would someone transfer this year? Which mid-major team would upset Rutgers at home? Fans would go into a season with fingers crossed there'd be a miraculous turnaround.
And each year, the fears would be proved right.
More after the jump. . .On Monday, the Scarlet Knights take on McGill in a preseason exhibition game. The fans will know some more then, but right now the unknown is a great thing.
Will Mike Coburn, Jonathan Mitchell, and James Beatty step up in their senior year and lead this team to a surprise season? Rice says they've been the most consistent in practice. They want to be successful badly. Words like that can allow the fans to dream.
How much more energy will we see on the court? Often Rutgers would come out from the locker room asleep and allow the opposition to run up to a big lead. RU would be forced to rally. But again, fans can dream that an energetic coach will bring new life to the team. Will the energy be enough?
The coaching staff promises a revamped offense. Plays will not be run through one player. Everyone will get their touches. The opposition won't be able to predict who's going to score in any given game.
Right now, all the reports are good ones. The team is undermanned and an underdog, but they're working hard and they want it badly. A fan can allow himself or herself to dream now.
Dream that a team will come out play hard, and hang in there against even the toughest opponent.
Dream the players will find it in themselves to play over their heads from now until March.
Dream that more than one opponent will take this group lightly, and the upsets will start and the players start to believe.
Are any of these things likely? Hard to say, but at this moment, why not think about it?
At this very moment, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are a blank slate.
Anything can happen.
That's the beauty of the unknown.