Outside of the state of New Jersey, not all that many people particularly care about Rutgers University.
But in Jersey, the Scarlett Knights are a pretty big deal.
Some may not know this, but Rutgers is actually the official state university of New Jersey. So when the Scarlett Knights got snubbed from the NCAA Tournament despite a resume that says they should’ve been in, things got personal for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
#35 in KenPom rankings. Beat #1 seed Purdue on the road and nearly beat them again two days ago. And won against a number of strong teams during the season.
Rutgers should have made the Tourney. Period. Full stop. https://t.co/RPWqesRKZK
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 13, 2023
“#35 in KenPom rankings. Beat #1 seed Purdue on the road and nearly beat them again two days ago. And won against a number of strong teams during the season. Rutgers should have made the Tourney. Period. Full stop” – Tweet from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
By KenPom, Murphy is of course referring to Ken Pomeroy’s computerized rankings. And he has a pretty good argument, too.
The Knights, who ended up with a No. 1 seed in the NIT, had a brutal close to the season. But prior to a late collapse, they built quite the resume.
While their résumé had some impressive strengths (a 10-10 record in Q1/2 games, including a road win over Big Ten champion Purdue; top-40 ranking in multiple metrics, including the NET, KenPom and Sagarin), the many major flaws (four Q3 losses; a 59 ranking in strength of record; a 6-9 road/neutral record; a bottom-50 non-conference strength of schedule) were too much to overcome. The Scarlet Knights missed out on opportunities to build their ledger early in the season, most notably blowing a double-digit lead on the road against Miami, and left themselves vulnerable with poor scheduling and poor performances against lesser opponents like Seton Hall and Temple. – via NJ.com
Ultimately, the late-season collapse proved too much for Steve Pikiell’s ball club. It’s the first time in three years that Rutgers will not go dancing. And if Murphy has anything to say about it, it won’t happen again anytime soon.