On Monday, the Big Ten formally announced the men’s basketball matchups for league play during the 2017-2018 season.
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports had tweeted the mirror matchups a couple of weeks ago and those pairings were confirmed today. While Rutgers was dealt a difficult blow in having to play the likely top two picks to compete for the Big Ten title in Michigan State and Purdue, it wasn’t all bad news. Rutgers will also play Illinois, Nebraska, and Ohio State, three teams they beat last season and are likely to be picked at the bottom of the Big Ten, along with Rutgers. The point being is that playing those three teams twice realistically gives Rutgers six potentially winnable games next season, just based on these matchups alone. Of course, those three programs likely feel the same way, but it's encouraging for Rutgers just the same.
Home/Away: Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue
As for the rest of the Big Ten schedule, Rutgers will have some additional marquee home games against traditional blue blood Indiana and against NCAA teams from a year ago in Wisconsin and Northwestern. Iowa is also trending up with four starters returning.
Home: Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin
Any road game is a challenge in the conference and Rutgers certainly has some difficult ones ahead.
Away: Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State
Overall, this schedule gives fans some exciting home games and the mirror opponents give Rutgers a chance to top their three regular season Big Ten wins from a year ago, which was their best result in three years in the conference.
Update: Rutgers formally announces non-conference schedule
Home games against Florida State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and the annual matchup against Seton Hall highlight the non-conference slate. Every non-conference game will be played at the RAC.
I’ve written about the majority of the non-conference matchups here.
Rutgers has a great opportunity to equal their eleven non-conference wins from a season ago. I’ll have a full schedule analysis later this summer, but below are the KenPom rankings and records from last season for all thirteen non-conference opponents.
Central Connecticut State
CCNY, who Rutgers will play in the season opener, is Division III.
Expect the Big Ten and Rutgers to announce the full schedule, with dates and times, at some point in August. This will be the first season ever that two Big Ten games will be scheduled in early December to accommodate the conference tournament being played at Madison Square Garden this season.
To view all of the Big Ten teams and their conference matchups, click here.