You can’t skip steps.
That’s the first thing that came to mind yesterday evening when I saw the first link. Rutgers was listed by the Busting Brackets as one of the last teams in the tournament, matching up with John Calipari’s Kentucky squad in a play-in game. Then, this morning, ESPN’s famous Bracketologist (yep, real title) Joe Lunardi listed Rutgers as one of the “next out” in his first bracketology tweet of the season.
FIRST OUT: Arkansas, Minnesota, Illinois, No. Carolina; NEXT OUT: St. John's, Rutgers, Va. Tech, LSU; FOUR MORE: Temple, USC, Texas, Richmond; CONSIDERED: Duquesne, Iowa St, Ole Miss, Utah, Miami-FL, UNCG.— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) December 28, 2019
Everyone wants to rush things and get into the Big Dance, but make no mistake, this is the first step. For the first time since... maybe 2006, the Scarlet Knights are on the bubble. Full conference play hasn’t started yet, and no one really knows how the rest of the season will play out, but after beating Wisconsin and Seton Hall, Rutgers has a couple of wins to put them on the radar.
You can’t skip steps, and this is the next step.
So, at this point, what does it mean—at least to me?
Well, before I started calling my four thoughts “Embracing Expectations,” I called it “Enjoying the Build” and as the next block has now been put into the foundation, that’s exactly what I”m planning to do.
I’m going to enjoy this season. The ups and downs. There will be super highs and there will be some major lows as well. It’s how sports work.
I love this team. It’s a squad full of nice kids who play hard, play smart and have a chip on their shoulder, just like their coach. The coach who shakes everyone’s hand when he walks into the room, but will box you out in a second if it means he needs to get the rebound.
The team shouldn’t be satisfied at this point, they should want more. It’s a squad that should keep striving, grinding and trying to win. But as a fan, I’m going to enjoy each step of this because it’s been too long. The best part of a build is when the daylight starts to peek through.
It’s up to the team to keep reaching as high as they can.
Rutgers is on the bubble for the first time in 13 years. I’m enjoying the moment and hope things keep progressing. Maybe another building block or two will be added as we go along.
It’s another step.