Because football is king, Rutgers University has become a punchline in the sports world. Unless Greg Schiano saves the program or they leave the Big Ten, it will likely remain that way, which is pretty unfair to the basketball program led by fourth-year head coach Steve Pikiell.
While Pikiell has yet to lead them to the postseason or posted a winning record, it's been clear that he's moving the Scarlet Knights in the right direction. In the two seasons prior to his hiring, they won a total of 17 games. In the last three seasons, the former Stony Brook head coach has won 15, 15 and 14 games.
His 2019-'20 team appears to be his best yet, having already won 13 of their first 17 games and starting 4-2 in Big Ten play, good enough for T-2 in the conference. On Wednesday night they may have gotten their biggest statement win yet, beating 13-3 Indiana 59-50 at home. The victory was punctuated by an absolutely ferocious dunk from junior point guard Geo Baker, who was playing in his first game since returning from a thumb injury that sidelined him for three games. That thumb looked just fine when Baker finished the Hoosiers off with just over two minutes to play:
BAKER, WITH THE HAMMER indeed. So often on social media we see forced "OMG HE'S DEAD" and "POSTERIZED" tweets over fairly routine dunks in the NBA and college. This is not one of those times. That had it all. The splitting of the defenders, the gather, the ups, the crowd build-up, the finish, the explosion from the fans. Can't believe I'm saying this, but the dunk of the year belongs to freaking Rutgers until further notice. Rutgers!
Baker finished the night with only seven points on 2-for-7 shooting, and went 0-for-4 from the three-point line. But fans in attendance at the RAC will likely only remember the two points he picked up on this posterization. Better sports days are hopefully on the horizon for RU.