Some good news on the out-of-conference front for men’s basketball as reports indicate Princeton and Mississippi State will both be added to the 2023 schedule. Both games will be on neutral sites in New Jersey. The additions of two NCAA tournament teams from last season helps head coach Pikiell address the NCAA’s criticism of a weak 2022-23 non-conference slate that contributed to the Knights being left out of the big dance.
As reported by the Asbury Park Press’s local hoops writer Jerry Carino:
“Rutgers and Princeton are in talks about opening the season against each other Nov. 6 at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, USA TODAY Network New Jersey has confirmed – an event likely to sell out the 8,600-seat venue with Princeton coming off an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 run and Rutgers enjoying a modern-era peak in popularity.” (Asbury Park Press).
Many fans, including myself, have been clamoring for the annual Route 27 / US-1 rematch to resume after a ten-year hiatus. Princeton is coming off a Sweet 16 appearance and Rutgers has reloaded their roster and is trending towards landing two of the top three recruits in the 2024 class. Throw in a likely sellout at a venue close to both campuses and this makes for an intriguing matchup to tip off the upcoming season a little over four months from now.
Princeton has dominated the overall series, 75-45 but Rutgers has won 7 of the last 11. The teams last played in 2013, with the Tigers edging the Knights, 78-73.
It has also been reported, but not yet officially confirmed, that Rutgers and Mississippi State will play in late December at the Prudential Center. The two teams last squared off in their only meeting back in 1999, with the Knights prevailing, 74-69. This leads one to wonder if another game will be added at the Prudential Center to make this a legit holiday tournament. The lack of the Knights’s participation in local holiday tourneys at MSG and the Barclays Center is another scheduling issue Rutgers fans have been lamenting.
Look for an update once official announcements are made.