Rutgers Basketball: Where the Scarlet Knights stand in Big Ten Tournament seeding
With just one game left in the regular season -- Sunday at home against Illinois -- the Rutgers men's basketball team is closing in on the 2018 Big Ten Tournament.
Going into Tuesday night, the Scarlet Knights (13-17, 3-14) sat in a tie with Iowa for 13th place out of 14 teams in the conference.
After a 93-86 loss to No. 9 Purdue on Thursday night, Illinois moved to 3-14 and joined Rutgers and the Hawkeyes in a three-way tie for 12th. Minnesota sits in 11th with a conference record of 4-13 and head-to-head wins over the Knights and Illini and a 1-1 record against Iowa.
Here are the following possible scenarios and where Rutgers would wind up:
- Scenario 1: Rutgers beats Illinois, Minnesota loses at No. 9 Purdue, Northwestern beats Iowa. Minnesota and Rutgers tie for 11th, Minnesota gets 11 seed based on head-to-head win over Rutgers. Iowa gets 13 seed for head-to-head win over Illinois. Rutgers (12) faces Iowa (13) in opening round.
- Scenario 2: Rutgers beats Illinois, Minnesota loses at No. 9 Purdue, Iowa beats Northwestern. Three-way tie for 11th between Minnesota, Iowa and Rutgers. Minnesota gets 11 seed with combined 2-1 record over Iowa and Rutgers. Rutgers gets 12 seed based on 1-1 record against Minnesota/Iowa being better percentage than Iowa's 1-2 record. Rutgers (12) faces Iowa (13) in opening round.
- Scenario 3: Illinois beats Rutgers, Minnesota loses at No. 9 Purdue, Northwestern beats Iowa. Minnesota and Illinois tie for 11 seed, Minnesota has head-to-head win over Illinois and gets 11 seed, Illinois gets 12. Rutgers and Iowa tie for 13th, Rutgers gets 13 seed based on head-to-head win over Iowa. Rutgers (13) faces Illinois (12) in opening round.
- Scenario 4: Illinois beats Rutgers, Minnesota loses at No. 9 Purdue, Iowa beats Northwestern. Three-way tie for 11th between Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Minnesota gets 11 seed based on various tiebreakers, Iowa is 12 seed, Illinois is 13. Rutgers (14) plays Minnesota (11) opening round.
- Since Minnesota is the 11 seed in all of the tie breaking scenarios, a win over No. 9 Purdue would not change anything, as the Gophers (4-13 in the Big Ten play) cannot reach the 6 wins it would take to tie Wisconsin for 10th.
Scenario 1 and 2 are both ideal for the Knights, as the Hawkeyes is a team that they've beat by 16 the first time they played and clearly match up well with.
Looking ahead, if Rutgers were to win the 12/13 game, it would face the 5 seed, either Nebraska or No. 17 Michigan in the second round. Nebraska is the favorable matchup, as the Knights nearly beat them at home (and should have) on Jan. 24.
The Wolverines, on the other hand, completely dismantled Rutgers the one time they played in Ann Arbor, winning by a score of 62-47 and holding the Knights to just one total assist.
If Rutgers were to win the 11/14 matchup, it would face the 6 seed, either Penn State or Indiana in the second round. Neither one of these matchups is favorable, as the Knights lost to the Nittany Lions by 17 points and the Hoosiers by 22.
Rutgers' best shot to make a run comes as either the 12 or 13 seed, with there being a real possibility of the Knights winning two games if seeding works out in their favor.
If the Knights beat Illinois on Sunday, they are guaranteed the 12 seed and a matchup with Iowa, which is without a doubt the best possible matchup.
**This article will be updated as the final games are played involving the aforementioned teams.**