Rutgers jump 70 points in KenPom Ratings
When head coach Steve Pikiell was hired back in 2016, he inherited a program transitioning into one of the biggest conferences in the country, recovering from a head coaching scandal only three years prior, and following its lowest win total in 28 years.
Now, three years later, the program finds itself in the aftermath of its most fulfilling season since joining the Big Ten. It's a condition most recently vindicated by the recent Ken Pomeroy ratings. The Rutgers men's basketball team had made a 70-point jump, the largest jump of any program in a power five conference, according to kenpom.com.
“In some ways it’s not surprising given how hard this team works. I get to see them every day in practice trying to get better and trying to improve their skills,” said athletic director Pat Hobbs. “It’s also a young team that will only get better in the years ahead. Everyone should be excited about the future of men’s basketball.”
This past season the Scarlet Knights crossed off a number of program milestones, ones that signal a shift toward being more competitive and relevant in the landscape of college basketball. In the 2018-19 season, Rutgers had a program-high seven wins against Big Ten opponents, and a record five sellouts, the most in a single season since 2002.
Against Iowa, the Knights achieved their largest margin of victory against a ranked opponent on the road in the program history, and they accomplished all these feats with a roster highlighted by underclassmen.
The team only graduated one senior this past season in graduate student center Shaquille Doorson. Aside from him, all the contributors that put together Rutgers’ historic 2018-19 season will be back to build on that success next season.
Sophomore guard Geo Baker, sophomore guard Peter Kiss, true freshman guard Ron Harper Jr. and redshirt freshman forward Myles Johnson comprise that young core the Knights will take into next season and the season beyond.
The nation’s most improved program from a year ago made a soft exit from contention last season, losing its final three games, including the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, leaving even more room for improvement come next postseason.
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