Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Way-too-early power rankings for 2024-25 season

Indiana v Maryland
Indiana v Maryland / G Fiume/GettyImages
16 of 18

3. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

2023-24 season record: 15-17 (7-13 Big Ten)

In a Steve Pikiell system, you can expect the Knights to be an elite defensive unit. And they remained that way last season. But the offense was so bad that not even the defense could help them, explaining the bottom-tier finish. And they lose a ton of production, with Cliff Omoruyi, Mawot Mag, Gavin Griffiths, and Derek Simpson all entering the transfer portal.

The two notable returns are Jamichael Davis and Jeremiah Williams, who led them with 12.2 ppg in the 12 games he was eligible to play. He’s now part of arguably the best backcourt in the Big Ten, joined by 5-star freshman guards, Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper. They’re part of the No. 2 nationally-ranked recruiting class, easily the best in program history.

Rutgers also has a trio of quality transfers to add depth as well. Tyson Acuff averaged 21.7 ppg at Eastern Michigan, while Zach Martini is s stretch forward from Princeton, shooting 39% from deep. Jordan Derkack (17.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg) was the Northeast Conference Player of the Year and Defensive POY from Merrimack.

The lack of a true impact center is the only concern on paper but otherwise, there’s plenty of talent for Rutgers next season. We’ll have to see if the young guards are ready to take over but the next seven months will have the most hype in recent Rutgers history.