Nickname: Scarlet Knights
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
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.
Really liked Rutger's head coach Steve Pikiell. He has a positive energy, also dropped a "Rutgers nation is awesome." -- Way to keep it super positive coach...— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) October 2, 2019
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.