Rutgers Men’s Basketball

PISCATAWAY, NJ - FEBRUARY 04: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights men’s basketball team take on the Minnesota Gophers at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 4, 2021 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics)

Rutgers men’s basketball is in the thick of the Big Ten Tournament chase, with eyes directed at the month of March when they set foot on the floor at Jersey Mike’s Arena Wednesday to close out the month of January.

At 14-7 and 6-4 in the Big Ten, the Scarlet Knights face a critical juncture in their season when they face Minnesota on Wednesday at 8:30, and then two days later face the Michigan State Spartans at Madison Square Garden in the Super Saturday Classic.

Rutgers has dropped two of its last three, both on the road, to Michigan State on January 19 and at Iowa on January 29.  In both instances Rutgers couldn’t slow down either offense. However when Rutgers is at home in front of the Rutgers faithful, the Scarlet Knights are deadly defensively. In 10 of Rutgers 14 home games at Jersey Mike’s Arena, they have held opponents under 60-points and are 9-1 in those games. In fact, RU is 14-1 when holding opponents under 65 points on the season. Opponents are shooting only 38 percent against RU this season.

As for Minnesota, they come limping into Wednesday’s match-up. They are 7-13 on the year, and 1-5 on the road. In fact since New Year’s Minnesota is 1-7, and riding a five game losing streak. In short, this is the kind of opponent Rutgers needs to put away before turning its attention to the Spartans, who are on Rutgers’ heels for a Top 5 seed in the Big Ten tournament.

Clifford Omoruyi has been huge the last two games posting 31 points combined, and had a streak of three consecutive double-doubles from January 15 to 24.

Aundre Hyatt has also been scalding hot of late. He led Rutgers with 16 points in its loss to Iowa, and hit the game winning shots against Penn State on January 24. He has been money of late.

Add the three-point prowess of Cam Spencer, and the leadership of Paul Mulcahy and Caleb McConnell and the Scarlet Knights should be a handful for the Golden Golphers.

After Wednesday night, the Scarlet Knights return to the Garden for the third time in the the Big Ten Super Saturday Classic. RU’s previous two trips were not so kind, a 61-54 loss to Wisconsin in 2017, and a 69-63 loss to Michigan in 2020 before COVID broke out. Of course Rutgers has a long tradition of playing games at the Garden after all their years in the Big East having to face the likes of St. John’s and UConn.

Rutgers rivalry with Michigan State has picked up a bit in recent seasons. After losing their first 10 games head-to-head, Rutgers has won two of its last three in the series. Rutgers had a shot at pulling out a mini-upset earlier this year in East Lansing before the Spartans pulled away in the second half.

Catch both games right here on Fox Sports New Jersey 93.5 FM 1450 AM, or streaming online at