Entering the 2015-2016, not much will be expected out of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The team ended last season with a 2-16 record in the Big Ten and a 10-22 record overall. Along with this, the Scarlet Knights are trying to avoid a 10th straight season with a losing record. The last time the school finished above .500 was back in the 2005-2006 season where they finished 19-14.
With a Big Ten conference that looks to be stacked, can Rutgers make progress? Here are the three biggest questions the team has to answer next season.
1.) Is Head Coach Eddie Jordan On The Hot Seat?
This is interesting because while it is more likely that Jordan stays on board as the head coach of the Scarlet Knights, it shouldn't be called a mortal lock. Since Jordan was hired in April of 2013, he has led the program to a 22-43 record including the 15 game losing streak to end last season with no real signs of improving that mark entering this upcoming season.
Don't be mistaken. This isn't a scenario of, "make the NCAA tournament of be fired" situation. However, if the team produces a record similar to the 10-22 record this season, the questions will be raised a little bit higher. Yes, the Scarlet Knights are going to have a tough schedule this season, but there is going to have to be some sign of improvement next season even if it isn't by much.
Jordan is a former NBA head coach who had some success on that level and is an alum of the Scarlet Knights. On paper, it looks perfect. In reality so far, the walls may be closing in on Jordan.
2.) Can The Scarlet Knights Get Any Better On Offense?
This season, the entire team will have to have a collective effort. Playing smart, mistake free basketball is priority for every team, but the Scarlet Knights are going to need it a little bit more in the Big Ten.
During last season, the Scarlet Knights shot 29 percent from three-point range, averaged 59 points a game offensively, and shot 39 percent from the field. Combine that with the fact that guard Myles Mack who averaged 13 points a game and forward/center Kadeem Jack who averaged 13 points a game as well are both gone as seniors, where are the scoring opportunities?
While four star freshman point guard Corey Sanders will have a lot on his plate to lead the team offensively, he will have some help from guard Bishop Daniels who averaged 8.4 points a game last season as well. Daniels will most likely take on an increased role in the Scarlet knights offense.
Combine that with guard Mike Williams and it is possible that the Scarlet Knights run a three guard offense to try to push the tempo a little bit to improve on those numbers from last season.
3.) Can Rutgers Pull Off A Major Upset?
Last season, the Scarlet Knights were able to pull off a major upset against the 2015 NCAA National Champion game runner up in the Wisconsin Badgers at home 67-62. Then after that win, the Scarlet Knights never looked like the same team and proceeded to lose their last 15 games of the season.
The Scarlet Knights have home games against the Michigan State Spartans, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes and the Purdue Boilermakers. All four teams are expected to be in the NCAA tournament. Those four games will be the Scarlet Knights best shot because they have almost no shot of winning on the road against a ranked opponent.
The three best case scenarios for the Scarlet Knights would be for any of those four teams to come off a game where they are exhausted, a big game ahead and the Scarlet Knights are being looked over, or those teams are coming off of an emotional win and the Scarlet Knights are available to provide a huge letdown.
Still, having said all of this, the Scarlet Knights roster looks thinner than it did last season, so it is hard to see any shocking turn of events in a positive way for the program in a conference that just got tougher since the start of this summer. Of course, anything can happen in the Big Ten and the Scarlet Knights proved that they had enough talent last year against Wisconsin. With the right focus, they could shock some teams along the way.