Rutgers last made the NCAA Tournament in 1991, a streak which was expected to continue when the Scarlet Knights were picked to finish 12th in the Big 10 preseason polls.
But head coach Steve Pikiell, in his fourth season with Rutgers, has led his team to a 20-11 overall record, and an 11-9 record in the conference. They're seeded eighth in the conference tournament and are firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble. They'll face Michigan on Thursday with a chance to bolster their all-important resume.
"I really liked this team right from the beginning of the year," Pikiell said Monday on SNY's GEICO Sportsnite. "We had a few new players that we had to blend in, but we were very lucky.
"We went to Spain this summer. That gave us a great jump start on the season. We talked about guys sacrificing. We talked about playing hard. We talked about proving the people wrong that had picked us 12th [in the conference]. They went about doing it. They have a lot of special qualities. Everyone has helped us win games."