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Wisconsin basketball: Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2019-20 preview

Rutgers lost its top contributor to transfer, but it also gained an intriguing freshman.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports


Nickname: Scarlet Knights

Massachusetts v Rutgers
Rutgers may be struggling, but this photo of Henry the Scarlet Knight is awesome
Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Conference: Big Ten (author’s note: still has not cleared probation)

Location: Piscataway, New Jersey


Head coach: Steve Pikiell, fourth season at Rutgers (44-53 record at Rutgers)

2018-19 record: 14-17 (7-14 Big Ten)

Last time in NCAA Tournament: 1991, lost in first round

Top three returning scorers:

  • Geo Baker, junior, guard, 12.2 ppg
  • Montez Mathis, sophomore, guard, 8.5 ppg
  • Ron Harper Jr., sophomore, guard / forward, 7.8 ppg
NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Key loss: Eugene Omoruyi, transferring to Oregon, forward, 13.8 ppg

Exciting newcomer: Paul Mulcahy is a three-star point guard from Bayonne, N.J. and the No. 156 prospect according to 247Sports. Standing at 6-foot-6, Mulcahy brings excellent length to the position. Offensively, he can post-up smaller guards and use his quickness off the dribble to get the rack against larger defenders. His play is reminiscent of Michael Carter-Williams.

Date of game 1: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m.
Location: Louis Brown Athletic Center, Piscataway, New Jersey

Date of game 2: Sunday, Feb. 23, 12 p.m.
Location: Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin

Preview: Mulcahy is a big get for Rutgers and Pikiell; however, his arrival is dampened a bit thanks to Omoruyi’s transfer to Oregon in the offseason. Mulcahy could be a royally annoying player the next four years in the Big Ten, but Rutgers’ front court will be quite thin.

Rutgers style is middle-of-the road with respect to pace of play, averaging about 70 possessions per game. Its offense was not very efficient in 2018-19, averaging .967 points per possession (No. 278 in the country). However, that was an improvement over the previous season, and Rutgers is trending upwards under Pikiell.

Prediction: Wisconsin will definitely win one of the two games and should win both, but I would not be surprised if it splits the season series with Rutgers.