Podcast: Rutgers enters postseason on a downturn
Welcome to episode No. 58 of The Scarlet Faithful podcast. This episode comes the day after Rutgers suffers another disappointing performance on Senior Night against Northwestern. For the first time in four seasons, the Scarlet Knights failed to win a must win game in the final week of the regular season.
“It’s the same thing. I told them that that season’s over,” said Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell. “We won 18 games. I’m not apologizing. We’re 10-10 in the league. It’s a really good League. It’s a lot of wins. It’s a new season. We’re undefeated, it’s still a new season. You got to go to the tournament and play well and there’s a bit on the line, their automatic bid. So, you have three seasons, you’ve got the regular season just ended, and I’m proud 18 wins, matches last year’s win total for the year. These guys have done a fantastic job and like I said, this guy (Caleb McConnell) didn’t practice yesterday, and he played 38 minutes today. Our seniors really, they’ll play well, and they’ll bounce back. We’ve been here before.”
With its NCAA Tournament hopes on the ropes, I wanted to run through the state of things. Rutgers heads into the postseason after losing six of eight games. In addition, a quick look at the rematch with Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament.
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March 7, 2023 at 2:41 pm
I’m not sure what else Pikiell could say. He’s not going to say, ‘I failed to develop bench strength so my guys are exhausted, he’s not going to say, ‘geez, I wish McConnell would stop throwing up threes when he makes about one in ten, he’s not going to say, ‘Mulcahy has collapsed and regressed I really should sit him’, he’s not going to say, ‘I’ve deployed our limited but talented resources ineffectively’, he’s not going to say, ‘we really should be working with Cliff on his layups and shooting near the rim because we’re underutilizing an amazing talent’ and he’s not going to say, ‘I’ve failed to coach the team well enough to close out games we had in hand’. So, he says it’s a new season. Great. What is he going to do differently to win in the new season?
I’m taking the unpopular position that we lose to Michigan Thursday, do not get invited to the NCAA but go to the NIT instead. We’d be the higher seated team with sold out home attendance so we’d likely get a few more home games than one and out in the NCAA which would give McConnell the chance to get ten more steals and become the #1 over Eddie Jordan in the steal category. Sometimes it’s the small victories that you build on.
March 8, 2023 at 2:43 am
I agree regarding the post game press conferences. It’s not just Pikiell, but every coach basically says the same things: “They have a really talented group of guys and ____ is an outstanding coach.” “I’m really proud of how our guys stayed connected and battled through some tough stretches.” They all say the same things. I do wonder if RU does go to the NIT how much interest there will be. I am not as confident as you that it’s an automatic sellout. In the end, we both hope that we never have to find out. C’mon RU…Beat Michigan!
March 8, 2023 at 2:59 am
Yes, I agree. I should not have said sell out. We’ll fill all of the 100 and most of the 200 and some of the 300 level seats. If we were to win the first round, we’d get better attendance at the second round. You are right. We won’t sellout the first round of the NIT. The athletic department does have some funny math though. We had a football game this past season where we had about half capacity, yet they declared it a sellout because Stubhub bought the open seats for resale. Seats in seats best guess would be 60-65 percent capacity for the first round.