Syracuse Basketball: Rutgers is excellent at home and ready to break out

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Rutgers won’t have a boisterous home-court crowd for its ACC-Big Ten Challenge battle with Syracuse basketball.

After the match-ups got unveiled for this season’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge, some Syracuse basketball fans opined that the Orange drawing Rutgers would prove a relatively easy win for the ‘Cuse.

I respect the opinions of all Orange hoops fanatics, however, the Scarlet Knights are a really, really good squad. They would have made the NCAA Tournament this past spring, although March Madness got canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In the 2019-20 term, former Big East Conference rival Rutgers went 20-11 overall and finished tied for fifth in the Big Ten Conference, which hands down proved the premier league across the country a stanza ago.

What’s more, the Scarlet Knights claimed 20 regular-season successes for the inaugural occasion in 37 years, they achieved their first winning campaign in 14 terms, they got nationally ranked for the initial instance in 41 years, and their 18 home conquests in 2019-20 proved No. 1 in the sport, per information from the Rutgers athletics department Web site.

Looking ahead to 2020-21, and the Scarlet Knights are poised for another strong term in which numerous national pundits are putting them in their pre-season top-25 ratings.

Once again, the Big Ten will prove a force in college basketball, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Rutgers arrives in the top four to top six of this rugged conference. Unless something weird happens, the Scarlet Knights will compete in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, assuming that one occurs.

Rutgers will amount to anything but a cupcake on the Syracuse basketball 2020-21 schedule. writer Dan McDonald recently included Rutgers in a piece where he discussed Division I teams that he believes are going to break out in the upcoming campaign.

"McDonald said this, in part, about the Scarlet Knights. “Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker are back this season, and they combined for 23 points per game last season. Rutgers won its biggest recruiting battle in years in the 2020 cycle by landing Clifford Omoruyi, who should immediately make a big impact in the frontcourt with his athleticism, physicality and ability to score in the paint.”"

The Orange will travel to Rutgers on Tuesday, Dec. 8, with the ‘Cuse hoping to improve upon its current 3-4 record in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Rutgers Athletics, by the way, has announced that amid the pandemic, the total amount of people allowed for indoor events “cannot exceed 150.”

So the Scarlet Knights may not possess the same home-court advantage as they normally would, but make no mistake, Rutgers is a huge challenge for Syracuse basketball.

Omoruyi, a freshman center, comes to the Scarlet Knights as a four-star, top-50 prospect out of high school. Harper, a junior forward, is on the watch list for the 2021 Julius Erving Award, while senior point guard Baker is on the watch list for the 2021 Bob Cousy Award.

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