With four non-conference opponents reported about two weeks ago, our latest scheduling review for next season’s men’s basketball slate indicated just three non-league games unfilled. Today, we discovered another opponent, as it was announced that Rutgers is confirmed to host Florida State in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Florida State becomes the most difficult opponent on the non-conference schedule based on last year’s results. The Seminoles advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Xavier by the score of 91-66. They defeated Florida Gulf Coast 86-80 in the first round. Florida State finished tied for second place in the ACC last season with Louisville and Notre Dame. This will be only the second meeting all-time between Rutgers and Florida State, with the Seminoles winning 87-77 during the 1967-1968 season.
Leonard Hamilton is the head coach at Florida State and will enter his sixteenth year on the job. Previously, he was the head coach at Miami for a decand and was 6-2 against Rutgers when the two schools played each other annually in the Big East.
The Seminoles have lost their leading scorer from last season, Dwayne Bacon. who left early for the NBA Draft. Bacon and Corey Sanders are good friends who grew up together in Lakeland, Florida.
Rutgers is 1-2 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since joining the conference. They beat Clemson on the road in 2014, before losing to Wake Forest at home and on the road at Miami the past two seasons.
As for next season’s schedule, eleven of the thirteen non-conference games have either been reported or confirmed. Here is a full list of each opponent, an indication of the game being reported or confirmed, as well as each team’s KenPom ranking and record from last season.
Central Connecticut State
The Big Ten has yet to announce the conference matchups for next season, including which five teams Rutgers will play a home and home series with. We know for sure that due to the conference tournament being held at Madison Square Garden next March, it will take place a week earlier than usual. This results in the Big Ten holding two conference games for each school between December 1st and December 4th. I reviewed the potential scheduling implications here.
As for now, it appears that Rutgers has two open slots remaining for the non-conference schedule next season. I really hope they do schedule a road game, as all of the reported or confirmed games so far will take place at the RAC. More details to follow as they emerge. As of today, their non-conference schedule just got a lot more difficult. However, this game will certainly help prepare the team for the rigors of the Big Ten schedule, which is a positive.