Thursday, September 25, 2014

Big 10 Basketball Preview: #14 Rutgers

What do you get if you take a 12-21 team, take away 5 of it's top 8 players, and move it to a much tougher conference?  Sadness.  Lots and lots of sadness.  That is my prediction for the Rutgers hoopers this season.

Actually, it's not all bad.  They do have their top 2 guys back in senior point guard Myles Mack (14.9 points, 4.3 assists per game last year) and junior power forward Kadeem Jack (14.3ppg, 6.8rpg) and the RAC (Rutgers Athletic Center now known as the Louis Brown Athletic Center named after the former Indians manager) gives them one of the better home court advantages in the country.  No it's true.  It's a really weird place that's shaped weird and has the fans right on top of the court and the acoustics make it super loud, and not that long ago (2011-2012) they beat both #10 Florida and #8 UCONN at the RAC, and that was a sub .500 team (overall, not just conference play).  Here look:

See?  Weird looking.

Fans so close they can taste it.

I mean the place is a trapezoid for pete's sake.  A trapezoid.  

Anyway, Jack and Mack are very good players, but it will be up to the newcomers - and they are legion - if Rutgers is going to be anything other than the conference doormat.

One intriguing prospect is Shaquille Doorson, a teammate of Gaston Diedhiou at the Canarias Basketball Academy, because he is a giant.  Doorson is 6-11 and weighs in at 275 pounds - a serious monster.  He originally signed on with Pitt where he'd fit in pretty well given his natural affinity to defense and rebounding, however he pulled out and reopened his recruitment and landed with the Scarlet Knights.  He's said to be quite raw offensively and his rankings are all over the board on the major sites so who knows what you're getting (4 stars on ESPN), but a huge, Big 10 ready body guy who can already rebound and block shots and, presumably, dunk a put back or two is a nice weapon to have.

The other newcomer worth mentioning is forward D.J. Foreman who has a sweet name and also is ranked as a Top 150 guy by 247sports (and took an unofficial to the U).   He chose Rutgers over offers from VCU, Iowa, Iowa State, and Ohio State so he's probably pretty good and stuff.  Like Doorson (and fellow giatn freshman Ibrahima Diallo who is 6-10, 240 lbs.) Foreman is physically good to go.  Also like those two his athletic ability currently outweighs his offensive game.  And I should also say something about Mike Williams.  He didn't rank as anything special (#231) and his offer list wasn't anything special, but I've seen a couple spots where coach Eddie Jordan has praised him at length, and his game sounds like he could end up a Tim Frazier type of player.  Probably not or anything, but I'm putting it in here just in case he blows up so in four years I can point out how smart I am.  I also really hope I'm not still doing this blog in 4 years.

Basically it's Mack and Jack and a lot of unknown.  Both will be in the running for All-Big Ten honors, and Jack at least will get sniffed around when NBA Draft time comes, but what they have to fill the gaps between those two is either not all that good or very young.  Things are looking up as Rutgers just signed Corey Sanders, a top 100 guy and ESPN's #7 point guard in the class, but this probably won't be a super fun first season in the Big Ten for the Scarlet Knights.  I do expect at least 1-2 teams to trip up and lose at the RAC that probably shouldn't, given that it will be everyone's first time.  Don't worry, I already checked and the Gophers don't play there this year.  Whew.


Anonymous said...

The Big 10 is a tougher league than the Big East? RU is getting a break joining the Big 10. Tosu, Mich, MSU are good - who else?
Ain't exactly UCONN, Louisville, 'Cuse, Pitt, Georgetown, Cinci, 'Nova.
No, Big Ten Hoops will give Eddie and his Knights some breaks that The Big East schedule never gave them.

WWWWWW said...

How many of those teams were in the Big east last year? Rutgers certainly wasn't.

D Gangel said...

Anon, did you hibernate for the entire last season? Something called the AAC is where Rutgers played and it wasn't quite a shadow of the conference formerly known as the Big East.

Even if you didn't sleep in a cave with bears, it's basically impossible to argue that the AAC was a tougher league than the B1G. I don't even know why I'm replying to someone who touted Cinci or Villnova as being some kind of force to be reckoned with. GTown was garbage last year. Hell, you could combine the AAC and the new Big East, B1G was still tougher last season.

Anonymous said...

I just took a good look at our Big Ten schedule and it is much easier than our past Big East or AAC schedules:
Northwestern, PSU, Nebraska back to back to back is a lot better than UCONN, Louisville, 'Nova, 'Cuse, Georgetown, Pitt.
I just don't see the same strength in the Big 10. WE have 18 Big Ten games and have a good shot at winning 8-10 games.

WWWWWW said...

10 games? You are completely out of your mind.

D Gangel said...
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D Gangel said...

Rutgers only won 12 TOTAL games last year. Throw out the league change or even assume your argument is right (the B1G sucks compared to your old schedule). How can they, presumably being worse then last season, win 8-10 conf. games this season?

D Gangel said...
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D Gangel said...
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D Gangel said...

@ UNL Loss (nobody wins in that new building except Nebraska and teams that are VERY good, which Rutgers is not)
@ Wisconsin Loss
@ Maryland loss
@ Minnesota Loss
Michigan Loss
Sparty Loss
@ Illinois Loss
Ohio State Loss
@ Iowa Loss
@ Michigan Loss

Those are 10 guaranteed losses, so say you go .500 with the other 8 (which is a stretch probably) and you are 4-14 in conf play. Congrats on your pre-invite to the CBI or CIT.

Anonymous said...

I am sure not seeing what you are seeing in the Big 10.
NW, PSU,Neb, Wisc, Md, Minny, Purdue, Iowa are all winnable games. The only really strong teams in the league are Tosu, Mich and MSU and they would all be mid pack in the old Big East.

DWG said...

You lose all credibility when you dismiss Wisconsin this year. Let me guess, you don't really follow college basketball, you're just a bitter old man who's still salty his precious Big East broke up. Get over it and take a nap. Rutgers won't get to your projected 8-10 wins in the next two seasons combined.

Anonymous said...

Writer sucks. I'm sure he'll reach puberty soon.

Anonymous said...

Yardbarker how hard up are you for contributors to your site. This guy is beyond pathetic. Maybe you're looking for negative reactions. Count me out of Yardbarker. I don't need to read 8th graders writing.

WWWWWW said...

This Iowa guy really hates me. Yes it's all the same guy.

D Gangel said...

Hey Rutgers anon, I don't get to say I told you so to random internet strangers, but I told you so. Good win against Wisco. Really pulled a rabbit out of your hat there. I suppose your argument will now be that Rutgers would have zero wins in the BIG BAD BIG EAST!

Although there is 0% chance that anon reads this, I've been waiting for this moment all season.