Rutgers Basketball Has Shattered Expectations This Season, Earning Its First AP Ranking Since 1979

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Rutgers basketball was typically an afterthought in the Big Ten and rarely in contention during its Big East days. Fast forward to 2020, the Scarlet Knights are not only winning, but they are also ranked in the AP Poll for the first time in 41 years. In fact, they have already matched their win total from last season in January with 14. Not bad for a team picked to finish 12th in the Big Ten preseason rankings. Head coach Steve Pikiell has turned his squad around in year four at Rutgers, setting the Scarlett Knights up for a program-defining 2019-20. They are on pace to record their first winning season since 2006 and win 20-plus games since 2004. SI’s Amy Campbell notes that the Rutgers defense has been the main ingredient to this remarkable turnaround that could lead the program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1991.