Rutgers has been a member of the Big Ten since July, but don't tell that to Scarlet Knight hoop fans as their team has yet to start conference play. Coming off an underwhelming first season of play with head coach Eddie Jordan, Rutgers is headed into what many consider the nation's best basketball conference.
Eddie Jordan talked about the perception of changing conference around New Jersey.
"I just don't think it resonates until we actually see Rutgers against Michigan, against Penn State, against Indiana. I think that's when it really resonates," Jordan stated.
As Rutgers moves to the Big Ten, they will face tremendous challenges. The Big Ten sent 6 teams to the NCAA Tournament last season and 3 teams to the Elite Eight. This is a tough conference with many teams that have been competitive on the national level.
But Jordan and his players aren't going to back away from the challenge.
"We know where we are as far as [the Big Ten] and again, it's going to be a great challenge for us, and we just hope that we can be competitive and represent our school, our University, and our community in a respectful way.
Last season, the Scarlet Knights finished the season at just 12-21 overall and #199 on KenPom's efficiency ratings. In fact, if Big Ten newcomers Maryland and Rutgers had been in the Big Ten last season, Rutgers would have been dead last in the conference according to KenPom.
Still, Jordan has confidence in this group.
"I've seen our kids, we have a new group of players, we're young, and I'm anxious to see - obviously we have a non-conference schedule in front of us, but I'm anxious to see our Big Ten opponents eye to eye, and I know it's going to be a great challenge, but that's why you're in this business,"
As the season progresses, Eddie Jordan and his players will have to keep this attitude if it hopes to compete in the Big Ten, but for now, Scarlet Knight fans can remain excited about a season with endless possibilities.