It is starting to look a lot like 1976.
This season’s Rutgers basketball squad will likely not go undefeated like it did then, but the Scarlet Knights look like they have their best team since the heralded Final Four squad with each passing week.
Case in point: Rutgers landed at No. 11 of the Associated Press Top 25 released Monday, the Scarlet Knights’ highest ranking since they finished at No. 4 in the final poll of the 1975-76 season.
Rutgers earned this ranking with its biggest win of the season Sunday, defeating preseason Big Ten title favorite Illinois, 91-88, at the Rutgers Athletic Center. It followed up a win at Maryland in College Park last Monday, a victory that shows the Scarlet Knights can win on the road in the Big Ten, their biggest weakness from a year ago. They are now 6-0 on the season.
Rutgers somehow did even better in other rankings from national media members.
Stadium’s Jeff Goodman bumped the Scarlet Knights into his top 10, moving him up five spots to No. 8 nationally in his top 25 rankings.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein ranked Rutgers at No. 8 in his latest Rothstein 45 rankings.
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish has Rutgers at No. 15 in his latest Top 25 + 1 rankings on Monday.
Rutgers stood at 17th on college basketball analytic bible KenPom on Monday morning.
The Scarlet Knights return to the court on Wednesday night, facing Ohio State at Value City Arena in Columbus.
Full AP Top 25 rankings:
7. West Virginia
12. Michigan State
15. Texas Tech
17. North Carolina
21. Florida State
23. Ohio State
24. Virginia Tech
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Brian Fonseca may be reached at email@example.com.