A few weeks ago, we wrote about how Rutgers was in the running to be the worst major conference team ever. They lost their first 17 conference games, most of them by over 20 points. But now is not the time for trashing Rutgers: Now is the time for celebrating! We're happy to congratulate the Scarlet Knights on their first and only win of the Big Ten season... a 75-52 blowout of Minnesota!
How did this happen? Well, if Rutgers was in the running for the worst season ever played by a major conference team, the Minnesota team they just beat was possibly the worst ever to play an individual game. The Golden Gophers weren't very good to begin with -- they were just 2-15 coming into Saturday, with one of those wins over Rutgers.
From that very bad team, the Gophers lost four of its best players. Senior Joey King, the team's third-leading scorer, broke his foot, probably ending his season. And Tuesday, the team announced it was suspending three players due to a sexually explicit video posted on social media. That included the team's leading scorer, Nate Mason, plus Kevin Dorsey and Dupree McBreyer. And Carlos Morris, was dismissed from the team in February.
So the team was left with five scholarship players, only one of whom was among the team's top six scorers. Walk-on Stephon Sharp, who took three shots in the team's first 27 games, got the start, and took 19 shots.
Minnesota's performance was one of the worst offensive showings imaginable. The team went 22-for-73, 2-for-17 from deep. They missed 51 shots and scored 52 points. They committed 16 turnovers, almost as many as the amount of field goals they made.
Rutgers may be a bad basketball team, but at least they're a basketball team. With the win, their ranking on KenPom.com jumped to 287th in the country, a full 10 spots higher than 2012 Utah. So they probably aren't the worst major conference team of all time. Congrats, Rutgers!