It’s been about six weeks since the last RAC n Roll Report and it’s time for the latest edition, in an effort to get everyone caught up on all the coverage the Rutgers basketball program has received lately. There have been several profiles recently regarding both the program’s history and with the current season. Here is a rundown of it all.
BTN Analyst Jon Crispin Talks Rutgers Basketball
I’ve been preaching patience and highlighting the progress Rutgers basketball has made all season, but it’s time to bring in an outside opinion to prove my Scarlet shaded lenses aren’t clouding my vision. BTN Analyst Jon Crispin, a Penn State basketball alum, recently spoke about Rutgers and how much different they are this season, compared to last.
He cited improved talent and depth, especially in the frontcourt. Crispin also lauded head coach Steve Pikiell and the coaching staff. One aspect that he touched on which is important, is that the players are in the middle of a major adjustment period this season and that patience is needed. Although nothing he said is news breaking for Rutgers fans, I do think it’s important to hear it from someone who covers the Big Ten and who is speaking positively about the direction the program is heading this season. Here is a video clip of Crispin talking about the team’s performance:
In his latest power rankings, Crispin had this to say about Rutgers, who he slotted into the bottom spot within the conference:
The Scarlet Knights may be where they were (in the Power Rankings) last year, but this is not the same team and every Big Ten coach will attest to that. There is much better talent, much better balance and a system with which individuals and the team can thrive. They will compete this season and will win a few conference games when all is said and done.
I’ve said before that the first 6 games of the Big Ten schedule were the most difficult section of the season, when you break it down by thirds. Having four road games, three of which were against conference title contenders Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Indiana, made it a very challenging start to Big Ten play. Rutgers has an opportunity to breakthrough this Saturday at home against Nebraska. I will have plenty of coverage leading up to the game in the next couple of days.
BTN’s The Journey
Profile on Steve Pikiell
BTN also has a behind the scenes show called The Journey, and they profiled Rutgers last week and it aired this past Sunday. The first clip is a great profile on Pikiell, who discusses all that has gone into the culture change he has implemented within the program. His mentor Jim Calhoun talks about the task at hand and Pikiell’s experience as well.
Northwestern at Rutgers Gets the NFL Film treatment
Perhaps it’s not the best analogy, but if you love documentary style footage of games, this video clip is great. Although Rutgers lost the game, I still recommend taking the 3 minutes to watch it.
Debut Episode Of Rutgers Basketball Story
This past weekend, the Rutgers Basketball Story aired for the first time this season on several networks. The show is hosted by NBC’s New York City sports anchor Bruce Beck, who also does the football version in the fall. Both the men’s and women’s team are featured. It highlights the behind the scenes for the men’s team on the road, including their game against Fordham at Madison Square Garden. The actual show is 20 minutes long and can be viewed in its entirety here.
Here is a clip of athletic director Pat Hobbs talking with Beck on his vision of Rutgers basketball for the future. It’s definitely worth a watch:
The rest of the January schedule, courtesy of Scarletknights.com, is here:
Episode 2: Friday, Jan. 20 – 6 p.m. (MSG+), 6:30 p.m. (TCN), 10:30 p.m. (MSG+); Saturday, Jan. 21 –12:30 a.m. (MASN), 9 a.m. (MASN), 10 a.m. (MSG+), 11:30 a.m. (MSG+).
Episode 3: Friday, Jan. 27 – 6 p.m. (MSG+), 7:30 p.m. (TCN), 9:30 p.m. (MSG+), 11:30 p.m. (MASN); Saturday, Jan. 28 – 9 a.m. (MASN), 11:30 a.m. (MSG+).
Additional air dates and times for The Rutgers Basketball Story will be announced.
1976 Final Four Team
We end with a tremendous special on the greatest team in Rutgers basketball history. BTN has a series called “Big Ten Elite” and featured the 1976 Final Four team in their latest episode, which aired this past Monday night. You can watch the special in its entirety through BTN2GO here, if you have a subscription.
There are so many great stories told and incredible footage of the team and the era on the Rutgers campus. It gives great background on how Dick Vitale played a role in this historic team, as well as how head coach Tom Young led the most talented roster in Rutgers history to greatness.
It will re-air at some point on BTN. If you did miss it, here are several clips that BTN did post to twitter that can be viewed by just clicking on each video.
To read more about the special, click here for Tom Dienhart’s profile on it.
And to end on a positive note, check out the great progress the program has made off the court this past semester under the new coaching staff.
It’s great to see the team handling their responsibilities in the classroom. Pikiell is holding the players accountable and progress is being made. It shows his emphasis is on more than basketball and is an integral part of him building a first class program at Rutgers.
On The Banks Links Of Note
If you missed any recent stories, aside from game coverage we’ve done on Rutgers basketball, check these articles out:
Until next time...