Get your popcorn ready for this Saturday, as the Big Ten Network will be airing 24 hours of consecutive Rutgers coverage “featuring iconic moments in Rutgers Athletics history”. With most Scarlet Knights fans based on the east coast where much of the lockdown still going on and an unusual cold front arriving on May 9, its a perfect day to be home and relive so many classic moments.
Obviously, football and men’s basketball are the focus. BTN hit the mark by scheduling the replay of classics like football victories over Louisville in 2006, Schiano’s last bowl win in 2011, the best wins of the inaugural Big Ten campaign against Michigan, Maryland, and North Carolina and the incredible comeback over Indiana in 2015. Same for men’s hoops with the legendary 1989 NCAA Tournament clinching victory over Penn State, the 2004 NIT semifinal win that was Quincy Douby’s coming out party, as well as recent wins over ranked foes including Ohio State from 2019 and Seton Hall, as well as Illinois, this past season. The last win of this season at Purdue is rightly being shown again as well, as it clinched the program’s first 20 win regular season in 37 years and secured the program’s first ever Big Ten winning campaign.
Another great story being told on a broad scale for the first time is the first ever airing on television of the 1982 AIAW Championship victory for Rutgers women’s basketball against Texas. Per the BTN press release, “As part of an ongoing independent documentary project, Forgotten Champions, by Whoo-Rah Productions, a coaches film of the game was recently unearthed and paired with the Rutgers Student Radio audio – bringing to life this historic moment in women’s basketball. During the debut, several prominent figures from the women’s basketball and Rutgers Athletics world will be among those live tweeting during the game using the hashtag #82RutgersAIAWChamps. The list is highlighted by 1982 Rutgers Head Coach Theresa Grentz (@TheresaGrentz12), 1982 AIAW Championship Game MVP Patty Coyle (@coachcoyle), current Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer (@cvivianstringer), Rutgers Hall of Famer and US Women’s National Team star Carli Lloyd (@carlilloyd), 1982 Captain and current UConn Women’s Basketball assistant Chris Dailey (@cduconn) and BTN Women’s Basketball Play-by-Play announcer Lisa Byington (@lisabyington).”
BTN is also doing something fun with the replay of the win over Louisville in 2006, as per the release “At 7 p.m. ET, immediately prior to the Rutgers-Texas women’s basketball classic, BTN will also re-air one of Rutgers Football’s most storied victories – the 2006 win over No. 3 Louisville. In another edition of B1G Video Recall, Greg Schiano joined BTN’s Gerry DiNardo and former Scarlet Knights Ramel Meekins, Tiquan Underwood and Jamaal Westerman to discuss behind-the-scenes moments in the historic win. Click here for a preview of the discussion on the final drive.”
Maybe I’m getting old, but I do have some gripes with the schedule. If the idea is airing “iconic moments”, I don’t quite understand how this past season’s home wins for men’s basketball over non-NCAA Tourney bound teams in Minnesota and Purdue qualify? Good wins of course, but certainly not classics.
What should be shown instead? Glad you asked.
It was an egregious mistake to not include the highest ranked win and biggest upset in program history, the 2015 stunning victory over then no. 4 Wisconsin. Yes, eventual national player of the year Frank Kaminsky didn’t play and that team went on to lose the last 15 games of the season after that victory. However, some wins mean more than just the outcome of that particular game.
I don’t want to relive the Eddie Jordan era more than anyone else does, but that game was special. It was an emotional moment for true senior warriors in Myles Mack, one of the best guards in program history, and Kadeem Jack, an under appreciated big man. And for Jordan, it was his best moment in his otherwise awful three seasons, but you can’t take away the fact he restored integrity after the Mike Rice era and his love for Rutgers was beautifully expressed after that win. Also, Wisconsin did go to the national championship game that season as well.
Maybe it was a television rights issue, I don’t remember if that game aired on BTN or not, but I think ignoring that game is a big mistake. And if that was the issue, there are many other bigger wins they could have shown, including the 2018 Big Ten Tournament second round win over Indiana.
Other moments I wish BTN found a way to rebroadcast is the national championship bouts for Nick Suriano and Anthony Ashnault. I’m sure it was a challenge since it was aired on ESPN and it wouldn’t account for a full hour. However, what about an hour of their best wins that season or the team’s upset victory over no. 10 Wisconsin at the RAC?
There are no men’s lacrosse games being shown and while I can’t remember which of their more important victories have been broadcast on BTN over the past few years, its a bit disappointing there is nothing being included. Women’s soccer has been on BTN quite a bit the past years and it would have been nice to see a flashback there as well.
Overall, it should be a great day and credit BTN for assembling a strong lineup for Rutgers, as well as doing this for all 14 Big Ten schools during this month. Rutgers day is this Saturday and make sure you soak in as many great moments as possible. Also, clear your DVR now. Here is the complete schedule: