There is still more than a month to go until the 2023-24 college basketball season tips off, but preseason prediction time is well underway.
The annual preview magazines have begin to hit the shelves at bookstores, filled with projections of where teams will rank in their league and which players will be the best among the bunch. Entering its eighth season under head coach Steve Pikiell, Rutgers is no exception to the evaluations being given before a ball is tipped.
Here is what the preseason magazines are saying about the Scarlet Knights:
Blue Ribbon: There’s an intangible to the fallout from (missing the NCAA Tournament) last season, too. This team has a bigger chip on its shoulder in a state that always seems to have a chip on its shoulder. … The Scarlet Knights think they have something to prove. The Knights have a preponderance of pass-happy point guards to distribute on offense and disrupt the defense. An August tour to play in Africa was a great chance to see how it could all come together while players bond and meld the new pieces into the framework. A dominating defense almost seems a given, and if Pikiell has the shooters he hints he has, how in the world do you double Omoruyi on the low block with his NBA-approved drop-step-and-dunk rededication? Somebody’s gonna be open. Fuhgettaboutit.
Lindy’s: As always, the Scarlet Knights expect to rank at or near the top of the Big Ten’s defense and rebounding metrics. But this year might also have a twist.
“I really feel good about our ability to shoot the ball from three,” Pikiell said, “which would be very different for us.”
The Almanac: Pikiell is a terrific coach – that’s not exactly breaking news. But he loses a lot on the perimeter with the departure of an elite defender in McConnell, an elite shooter in Spencer, and a versatile veteran who brought no shortage of intangibles to the floor in Mulcahy. He’s got a stud big man, but the perimeter is still filled with question marks. Can Simpson shoot it well enough to be an all-league guy? Will Griffiths be ready as a freshman to play a major role? Will Mag be healthy enough to pick up where he left off? Rutgers should be somewhere in the mix once again. The past four years, the Scarlet Knights are a combined 43-37 in Big Ten play. They will likely be somewhere around that .500 mark once again — which could mean a third NCAA Tournament appearance in four seasons for a program that didn’t go dancing for nearly two decades.
Where Rutgers will finish in the Big Ten standings (out of 14)?
Blue Ribbon: 9th.
Folks aren’t talking about the teams as a contender, but don’t tell Rutgers coaches. Or these veteran players. Pikiell is the only person talking about what a good shooting team he has, but he sees these guys every day and skeptical media don’t.
“I know what people are saying and where they’ll pick us, and we like that,” Pikiell told Blue Ribbon. “This group has a chance to be pretty good.”
Read More: What preseason magazines are saying about 2023-24 Scarlet Knights 2023-09-21 10:30:00