basketball | ncaab

Sacred Heart Pioneers vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Pick & Prediction NOV 25TH 2020

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Rutgers finally experienced success last season for the first time as a member of the Big Ten Conference and was on the cusp of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991 before the world changed on March 11.

After seeing their likely bid for an NCAA berth canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 24th-ranked Scarlet Knights have high expectations as they host Sacred Heart on Wednesday in the season opener for both teams.

After going 20-11 last season and finishing with a winning record for the first time since being the runner-up in the NIT in 2003-04, Rutgers will begin a season ranked for the first time since 1978-79. The only other time the Scarlet Knights entered a season in the AP Top 25 was 1976-77, when they were coming off a Final Four appearance.

Last season, the Scarlet Knights' appearance in the Jan. 20 poll was their first national ranking since the final AP poll in 1978-79.

The Scarlet Knights, who tied for fifth in the 2019-20 Big Ten regular season, were picked fifth in the Big Ten's preseason poll earlier this week as they head into their first game since winning at Purdue in overtime on March 7.

"I'm very thankful for our guys that they have done a really great job of sacrificing and staying healthy," Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said at the team's media day. "I'm excited about the season. Our program has come a long way. I'm excited about the development of our veteran guys and our young guys coming in. Very thankful to be back for my fifth year. It feels like I started five minutes ago."

Rutgers returns most of the same cast from last year's team, including Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker, who were the only two scorers to average double figures. Harper contributed 12.1 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting while starting each game. Baker averaged 10.9 points on 39.9 percent shooting for a Rutgers team that averaged 69.9 points and shot 44.7 percent.

The Scarlet Knights are opening a season against a Northeast Conference opponent for the third consecutive season. Last year, Rutgers nearly blew a 16-point lead before escaping with a 73-71 win over Bryant.

Sacred Heart went 20-13 last season and finished fourth in the conference but was picked last in the 2020-21 NEC preseason poll.

The Pioneers lost five of their top six scorers from last season, including E.J. Anosike, who averaged 15.7 points but subsequently transferred to Tennessee. Their leading returning scorer is Aaron Clarke, who averaged 11.3 points and ended last season by scoring in double digits in his final nine games.

"Obviously, we have lost some outstanding players from last season, but we feel we have several players that can emerge and have an outstanding season for us," Sacred Heart coach Anthony Latina said. "The good news is we were in a similar situation two years ago with a lot of new faces and unproven players. That year we were picked ninth in the preseason poll and were a one-point loss away from being the No. 1 seed in the NEC tournament."

--Field Level Media

Prediction

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GAMES

Last 10

W 60% L 40%
6 4
  • @Rutgers L 63 - 86
  • @St. Francis (PA) L 72 - 84
  • Mount St. Mary's W 59 - 61
  • LIU W 67 - 76
  • St. Francis Brooklyn W 63 - 73
  • @Bryant W 83 - 76
  • @Merrimack L 57 - 64
  • @LIU W 80 - 72
  • Bryant W 65 - 74
  • Robert Morris L 61 - 58
W 50% L 50%
5 5
  • Sacred Heart W 63 - 86
  • @Purdue W 71 - 68
  • Maryland W 67 - 78
  • @Penn St. L 64 - 65
  • @Wisconsin L 71 - 79
  • Michigan L 60 - 52
  • Illinois W 57 - 72
  • @Ohio St. L 66 - 72
  • Northwestern W 73 - 77
  • @Maryland L 51 - 56

Next Games

  • Fairfield(12-31-69)
  • @Stony Brook(11-18-12) W 64 - 62
  • @Massachusetts Lowell(12-04-19) W 89 - 86
  • Fairleigh Dickinson(11-09-18) W 55 - 90
  • Hofstra(11-25-06) L 75 - 65

Last Meetings

  • Pioneers @ Scarlet Knights 63-86
  • Pioneers @ Scarlet Knights 54-79
  • Pioneers @ Scarlet Knights 62-88
  • Pioneers @ Scarlet Knights 75-91

Mid-American

EastWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Ohio Bobcats201.000 0-02-084.066.5W22-0-0
Miami (OH) Red Hawks101.000 1-00-081.067.0W11-0-0
Bowling Green Falcons01.000 0-00-182.096.0L10-0-1

America East

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
New Hampshire Wildcats101.000 1-00-093.054.0W11-0-0
Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks101.000 0-01-076.068.0W11-0-0
MD Baltimore County Retrievers01.000 0-00-162.070.0L10-0-1

American Athletic Conference

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
South Florida Bulls101.000 1-00-094.084.0W11-0-0
Houston Cougars101.000 1-00-089.045.0W11-0-0
Southern Methodist Mustangs101.000 1-00-097.067.0W11-0-0
Memphis Tigers11.500 0-11-071.065.5L11-0-1

Atlantic 10

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Davidson Wildcats101.000 1-00-082.073.0W11-0-0
Saint Louis Billikens101.000 1-00-089.052.0W11-0-0
VCU Rams11.500 0-01-175.573.5L11-0-1
George Washington Colonials01.000 0-00-171.078.0L10-0-1
St. Joseph's (PA) Hawks01.000 0-10-091.096.0L10-0-1
Rhode Island Rams01.000 0-10-088.094.0L10-0-1
La Salle Explorers01.000 0-00-165.082.0L10-0-1

Atlantic Coast

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
NC State Wolfpack101.000 1-00-095.061.0W11-0-0
Virginia Cavaliers101.000 1-00-089.054.0W11-0-0
Louisville Cardinals101.000 1-00-079.044.0W11-0-0
Clemson Tigers101.000 0-01-053.042.0W11-0-0
Virginia Tech Hokies101.000 1-00-077.062.0W11-0-0
North Carolina Tar Heels101.000 1-00-079.060.0W11-0-0
Wake Forest Demon Deacons101.000 1-00-0111.051.0W11-0-0
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets01.000 0-10-0120.0123.0L10-0-1
Boston College Eagles01.000 0-10-067.076.0L10-0-1
Pittsburgh Panthers01.000 0-10-070.080.0L10-0-1

Atlantic Sun

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Kennesaw St. Fighting Owls101.000 1-00-087.040.0W11-0-0
Florida Gulf Coast Eagles101.000 1-00-065.056.0W11-0-0
North Alabama Lions101.000 1-00-098.074.0W11-0-0
Jacksonville Dolphins101.000 1-00-099.057.0W11-0-0
Liberty Flames11.500 0-01-174.075.0L11-0-1
North Florida Osprey01.000 0-10-067.080.0L10-0-1

Big 12

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
West Virginia Mountaineers201.000 2-00-078.568.5W22-0-0
Texas Christian Horned Frogs101.000 1-00-069.045.0W11-0-0
Texas Tech Red Raiders101.000 1-00-0101.058.0W11-0-0
Oklahoma State Cowboys101.000 0-01-075.068.0W11-0-0
Texas Longhorns101.000 1-00-091.055.0W11-0-0
Kansas Jayhawks01.000 0-00-190.0102.0L10-0-1
Kansas State Wildcats01.000 0-10-070.080.0L10-0-1

Big East

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
St. John's Red Storm201.000 2-00-079.070.0W22-0-0
Xavier Musketeers201.000 2-00-076.049.5W22-0-0
Connecticut Huskies101.000 1-00-0102.075.0W11-0-0
Butler Bulldogs101.000 1-00-066.062.0W11-0-0
Marquette Golden Eagles101.000 1-00-099.057.0W11-0-0
Providence Friars101.000 1-00-097.056.0W11-0-0
Georgetown Hoyas101.000 1-00-070.062.0W11-0-0
Villanova Wildcats101.000 0-01-076.067.0W11-0-0

Big Sky

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Weber St. Wildcats101.000 1-00-088.060.0W11-0-0
Montana St. Bobcats101.000 0-01-091.078.0W11-0-0
Sacramento State Hornets101.000 1-00-0101.057.0W11-0-0
Idaho State Bengals01.000 0-00-149.062.0L10-0-1
Southern Utah Thunderbirds01.000 0-00-183.085.0L10-0-1

Big South

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
South Carolina Upstate Spartans01.000 0-10-072.082.0L10-0-1
Charleston Southern Buccaneers01.000 0-00-161.095.0L10-0-1
Radford Highlanders01.000 0-00-162.077.0L10-0-1
High Point Panthers01.000 0-00-173.082.0L10-0-1

Big Ten

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Illinois Fighting Illini201.000 2-00-0109.549.0W22-0-0
Rutgers Scarlet Knights101.000 1-00-086.063.0W11-0-0
Purdue Boilermakers101.000 1-00-077.064.0W11-0-0
Wisconsin Badgers101.000 1-00-077.067.0W11-0-0
Indiana Hoosiers101.000 1-00-089.059.0W11-0-0
Maryland Terrapins101.000 1-00-085.067.0W11-0-0
Michigan St Spartans101.000 1-00-083.067.0W11-0-0
Minnesota Golden Gophers101.000 1-00-099.069.0W11-0-0
Michigan Wolverines101.000 1-00-096.082.0W11-0-0
Ohio St Buckeyes101.000 1-00-094.067.0W11-0-0
Iowa Hawkeyes101.000 1-00-097.067.0W11-0-0
Nebraska Cornhuskers11.500 1-10-084.062.0L11-0-1

Big West

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
CSU Northridge Matadors101.000 1-00-097.079.0W11-0-0
UC Riverside Highlanders01.000 0-00-160.066.0L10-0-1
UC Davis Aggies01.000 0-00-193.0101.0L10-0-1
UC Irvine Anteaters01.000 0-00-172.086.0L10-0-1

Colonial Athletic Association

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Elon University Phoenix101.000 1-00-082.052.0W11-0-0
James Madison Dukes101.000 1-00-089.055.0W11-0-0
Charleston Cougars01.000 0-00-160.079.0L10-0-1
NC-Wilmington Seahawks01.000 0-00-176.098.0L10-0-1
Towson Tigers02.000 0-00-261.084.0L20-0-2

Conference USA

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers201.000 0-02-084.078.0W22-0-0
Florida International Golden Panthers101.000 1-00-085.081.0W11-0-0
UAB Blazers101.000 1-00-099.050.0W11-0-0
Texas-El Paso Miners101.000 1-00-0100.081.0W11-0-0
Middle Tennessee St. Blue Raiders01.000 0-10-059.060.0L10-0-1
Florida Atlantic Owls01.000 0-00-166.068.0L10-0-1
Old Dominion Monarchs01.000 0-00-167.085.0L10-0-1

Horizon League

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons101.000 1-00-067.063.0W11-0-0
Northern Kentucky Norse101.000 1-00-074.073.0W11-0-0
Illinois-Chicago Flames101.000 0-01-065.061.0W11-0-0
Green Bay Phoenix01.000 0-00-169.099.0L10-0-1
Oakland Golden Grizzlies02.000 0-10-151.090.5L20-0-2

Metro Atlantic Athletic

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Quinnipiac Bobcats101.000 1-00-084.066.0W11-0-0
St. Peter's Peacocks01.000 0-00-175.076.0L10-0-1
Fairfield Stags01.000 0-00-156.097.0L10-0-1

Mid-Eastern Athletic

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
North Carolina Central Eagles11.500 0-01-176.087.5L11-0-1
Delaware State Hornets01.000 0-00-151.0111.0L10-0-1
Morgan St. Bears01.000 0-10-055.062.0L10-0-1
Howard Bison01.000 0-10-078.095.0L10-0-1
Florida A&M Rattlers01.000 0-00-156.065.0L10-0-1
South Carolina State Bulldogs01.000 0-10-061.081.0L10-0-1
North Carolina A&T Aggies02.000 0-10-166.0103.0L20-0-2

Missouri Valley

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Drake Bulldogs101.000 0-01-080.070.0W11-0-0
Bradley Braves11.500 1-00-155.555.0L11-0-1
Evansville Purple Aces01.000 0-00-144.079.0L10-0-1
Illinois St. Redbirds01.000 0-00-167.094.0L10-0-1
Northern Iowa Panthers02.000 0-10-175.579.5L20-0-2

Mountain West

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Nevada Wolf Pack201.000 1-01-065.557.0W22-0-0
San Diego St. Aztecs101.000 1-00-073.058.0W11-0-0
Fresno St. Bulldogs101.000 1-00-087.047.0W11-0-0
Utah St. Aggies01.000 0-10-069.085.0L10-0-1
UNLV Runnin' Rebels01.000 0-10-078.091.0L10-0-1

Northeast

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers101.000 0-01-062.055.0W11-0-0
St. Francis (PA) Red Flash101.000 0-01-080.070.0W11-0-0
Sacred Heart Pioneers01.000 0-00-163.086.0L10-0-1
Central Conn. St. Blue Devils01.000 0-00-175.0102.0L10-0-1
Fairleigh Dickinson Knights01.000 0-00-166.084.0L10-0-1

Ohio Valley

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Austin Peay Governors201.000 1-01-069.566.0W22-0-0
Belmont Bruins101.000 0-01-095.078.0W11-0-0
Eastern Kentucky Colonels101.000 0-01-080.067.0W11-0-0
Morehead St. Eagles01.000 0-00-145.081.0L10-0-1
SIU - Edwardsville Cougars01.000 0-00-152.089.0L10-0-1
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles01.000 0-00-159.089.0L10-0-1
Eastern Illinois Panthers01.000 0-00-167.077.0L10-0-1
Jacksonville St. Gamecocks01.000 0-00-157.081.0L10-0-1

Pacific-12

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Colorado Buffaloes101.000 1-00-084.061.0W11-0-0
Southern California Trojans101.000 1-00-095.087.0W11-0-0
Oregon St. Beavers101.000 1-00-071.063.0W11-0-0
Washington St. Cougars101.000 1-00-056.052.0W11-0-0
Arizona State Sun Devils101.000 0-01-094.088.0W11-0-0
California Golden Bears11.500 1-00-174.566.0L11-0-1
UCLA Bruins01.000 0-00-158.073.0L10-0-1

Patriot League

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Navy Midshipmen101.000 1-00-078.071.0W11-0-0
Army Black Knights101.000 1-00-093.032.0W11-0-0

Southeastern

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Missouri Tigers101.000 1-00-091.064.0W11-0-0
Auburn Tigers101.000 0-01-096.091.0W11-0-0
Kentucky Wildcats101.000 1-00-081.045.0W11-0-0
Arkansas Razorbacks101.000 1-00-0142.062.0W11-0-0
Alabama Crimson Tide101.000 1-00-081.057.0W11-0-0
Mississippi State Bulldogs02.000 0-20-057.568.5L20-0-2

Southern

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Chattanooga Mocs101.000 1-00-099.063.0W11-0-0
Furman Paladins101.000 1-00-095.062.0W11-0-0
Western Carolina Catamounts101.000 1-00-098.076.0W11-0-0
Wofford Terriers101.000 1-00-088.049.0W11-0-0
Mercer Bears101.000 1-00-079.048.0W11-0-0
VMI Keydets101.000 1-00-090.063.0W11-0-0
The Citadel Bulldogs101.000 1-00-089.064.0W11-0-0
East Tennessee St. Buccaneers02.000 0-00-256.568.5L20-0-2

Southland

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Abilene Christian Wildcats101.000 1-00-070.047.0W11-0-0
Texas A&M CC Islanders101.000 1-00-064.053.0W11-0-0
Nicholls State Colonels101.000 1-00-0101.093.0W11-0-0
McNeese St. Cowboys01.000 0-00-155.0102.0L10-0-1
Southeastern Louisiana Lions01.000 0-00-163.067.0L10-0-1
Sam Houston St. Bearkats01.000 0-00-167.097.0L10-0-1
Houston Baptist Huskies01.000 0-00-145.069.0L10-0-1
Lamar Cardinals01.000 0-00-145.089.0L10-0-1
Northwestern St. Demons01.000 0-00-158.0101.0L10-0-1

Southwestern Athletic

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Texas Southern Tigers01.000 0-00-152.056.0L10-0-1
Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils01.000 0-00-162.0142.0L10-0-1
Prairie View A&M Panthers01.000 0-00-166.071.0L10-0-1
Southern Jaguars01.000 0-10-078.085.0L10-0-1
Alcorn St. Braves01.000 0-00-150.099.0L10-0-1
Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions01.000 0-00-157.099.0L10-0-1
Grambling State Tigers01.000 0-00-153.069.0L10-0-1

Summit

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Kansas City Kangaroos101.000 1-00-0105.035.0W11-0-0
Nebraska Omaha Mavericks11.500 0-11-063.065.5L11-0-1
South Dakota Coyotes01.000 0-00-161.084.0L10-0-1
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles01.000 0-00-164.091.0L10-0-1
North Dakota Fighting Hawks01.000 0-00-167.081.0L10-0-1
South Dakota State Jackrabbits01.000 0-00-171.079.0L10-0-1
North Dakota State Bison01.000 0-00-148.062.0L10-0-1

Sun Belt

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Little Rock Trojans101.000 1-00-071.066.0W11-0-0
South Alabama Jaguars101.000 1-00-068.066.0W11-0-0
Georgia St. Panthers101.000 0-01-0123.0120.0W11-0-0
Appalachian St. Mountaineers101.000 0-01-081.061.0W11-0-0
Texas State Bobcats101.000 1-00-098.059.0W11-0-0
Georgia Southern Eagles101.000 1-00-097.065.0W11-0-0
Texas-Arlington Mavericks01.000 0-10-068.075.0L10-0-1

West Coast

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Loyola Marymount Lions101.000 1-00-085.083.0W11-0-0
Pepperdine Waves101.000 1-00-086.072.0W11-0-0
Gonzaga Bulldogs101.000 1-00-0102.090.0W11-0-0
Santa Clara Broncos101.000 1-00-062.049.0W11-0-0
Pacific Tigers101.000 1-00-066.060.0W11-0-0
Brigham Young Cougars101.000 1-00-0108.059.0W11-0-0
St. Mary's Gaels11.500 1-10-061.068.5L11-0-1
San Francisco Dons11.500 1-10-073.572.0L11-0-1
Portland Pilots01.000 0-10-072.084.0L10-0-1

Western Athletic

TeamsWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Tarleton State 101.000 1-00-0103.048.0W11-0-0
Grand Canyon Antelopes101.000 1-00-069.053.0W11-0-0
Seattle Redhawks101.000 0-01-084.072.0W11-0-0
California Baptist Lancers01.000 0-00-187.095.0L10-0-1
Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros01.000 0-00-155.091.0L10-0-1
Chicago St. Cougars02.000 0-10-149.590.5L20-0-2

Mid-American

WestWL PRCHOMEAWAYPFPAST L10
Toledo Rockets11.500 0-01-169.557.0L11-0-1
Western Michigan Broncos01.000 0-00-162.066.0L10-0-1
Eastern Michigan Eagles01.000 0-00-167.083.0L10-0-1
Northern Illinois Huskies01.000 0-10-061.065.0L10-0-1
Ball St. Cardinals01.000 0-00-173.074.0L10-0-1

Last Injuries

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Geo Baker

    Ankle
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Baker exited the last game with an ankle injury, and it is unclear if he will face Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday.