On Tuesday night, if all goes as expected, Minnesota and Rutgers will bring matching 0-14 records to Williams Arena for a (men's) basketball game. That presumes the Gophers lose to No. 6-ranked Maryland on Thursday night and Penn State beats Rutgers over the weekend.
Misery loves company, you know, and Rutgers has had it even worse than Minnesota.
In a letter to the school's athletic director on his Rutgers blog, Dave White wrote: "The (arena) is a morgue. In the past three years, Rutgers has lost to Fairleigh Dickinson, St. Peter's, William and Mary, St. Francis, and Monmouth."
Not to mention 28 losses in a row in the Big Ten, including a pair to Minnesota last season.While the Gophers have taken a small amount of consolation by hanging tough and playing close games before losing, Rutgers has gotten blown out time after time after time. All of the Scarlet Knights' Big Ten losses except two have been by double digits, including a 107-57 defeat by Purdue.
Columnist Stephen Edelson this week called for the firing of coach Eddie Jordan, in his third year with the team: "Jordan is a very nice man who does a good job representing the school with class. He’s a legend in these parts and always will be. He’s just not a very good college basketball coach, having spent virtually his entire coaching career in the NBA. ...The Scarlet Knights have six regular season games left, one conference tournament game and then it's time for Rutgers and Jordan to part ways. There is no other possible outcome at this point."
After the 50-point loss to Purdue, a reporter asked Rutgers forward D.J. Foreman about what his team could do to prepare for its upcoming game against Iowa: "Uh, I guess we just come together and somehow just pray. That's all we can do."
Really, he said that. Here's the article.
Nothing close to that has been uttered by any of Richard Pitino's players.
One method that has been used to mock Pitino and the Gophers has been to cite the team's standing in the RPI index, in which Minnesota is currently ranked 234th out of all 351 Division I teams. Well, Rutgers is 255th -- and one of its victories this season is over Central Connecticut State, which is No. 351 of 351.
Last week, Jordan gave this spirited defense of his team to reporters. In response to a question about the impatience of Rutgers fans, he said: “I’m sorry. If that’s the way they feel, I’m sorry they feel that way. They just have to be more educated in what the real deal is, if they understand what this conference is about, what type of players and teams we’re going up against with injuries and being a young team. If they don’t understand that, I don’t need to read what the reaction is. I don’t care about the reaction honestly.”
Here's that story, from Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press.
And it gets worse. Rutgers has touted some of its hope for future improvement on its leading scorer, freshman guard Corey Sanders, the team's leading scorer and a Top 100 recruit from last year.
In his blog letter to the athletic director, Dave White wrote: "I watch now just to see what Corey Sanders can pull off and then how bad it can get. Can you imagine that? What gut punch is coming next?"
The gut punch came. Sanders is currently under a two-week suspension for breaking team rules and won't be coming to Williams Arena for Tuesday's game.
So, Gophers fans, your team will likely be favored against the Scarlet Knights on Tuesday. The better bet on the game may be whether you all storm the court at the final buzzer.