Rutgers Basketball: Scarlet Knights ranked for first time in 41 years

Rutgers Basketball is ranked for the first time 41 years after starting the season 14-4 and 5-2 in the Big Ten.

Rutgers Basketball has won eight out of their last nine games following their 64-56 win over Minnesota at the Rutgers Athletic Center this past Sunday. The Scarlet Knights have been one of the hottest teams in the country over the last month and a half, and one of the best home teams in the entire nation this season.

Rutgers is a perfect 13-0 at home this season, despite playing quality opponents. Star guard Geo Baker missed a crucial three-game stretch a couple of weeks ago, but his team managed to go 2-1 in that span, which included a home victory over Penn State, and a narrow three-point defeat at Illinois.

The unsung hero for Rutgers has been Ron Harper Jr. We all know his father, the former Chicago Bulls guard, but Harper Jr. is now making a name for himself with one of the most surprising teams in the country. Harper Jr. leads the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game and scored 22 in their win over Penn State.

Myles Johnson continues to improve as a sophomore as well. He’s now averaging 9.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. The key for Johnson moving forward is staying out of foul trouble, but he’s been steadily improving on that as this season has developed.

Rutgers is 5-3 against Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 opponents this season, and they’ve also been pushed up to 18th overall in the NET rankings, and 24th overall in KenPom rankings.

Head coach Steve Pikiell discussed his team’s success in a recent press conference:

I’m proud of the progress we’ve made as a program and I’m really happy for the guys on our roster. The ranking is a testament to the hard work and sacrifices our guys have put forth this year. We are enjoying this journey and we are excited to face the many challenges that lie ahead in the best conference in the country.”

Next: Latest Big Ten power rankings

Rutgers takes on the Iowa Hawkeyes next in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It’s another great opportunity to secure a quality win and help boost their already impressive resume.