This year saw a nice change of scenery for many fans of New Jersey schools in college basketball. The state had a sort of college basketball renaissance that came to a disappointing, abrupt end with the cancellation of both conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teams such as Seton Hall and Rutgers were poised to make the March Madness Tournament this year. Each team had a successful season that saw the Rutgers team crack the Top 25 and Seton Hall’s senior-laden team share a Big East regular season title for the first time since 1993 and spend all but three weeks in the Top 25.
Our season was cut short…but there were plenty of shining moments in this championship season that we will treasure. Thank you for being part of our Voyage. #OneShiningMoment #HALLin pic.twitter.com/ARDc017dFX
— Seton Hall Men's Basketball (@SetonHallMBB) March 18, 2020
Seton Hall finished this season with a record of 21-9 and had senior Myles Powell took home Big East Player of the Year honors, while senior Romaro Gill took home Defensive Player and Most Improved Player of the Year awards.
The Hall was a projected 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament and fans and media members were getting ready for a deep run, some even projecting them to be a Final Four team and National Champion contender.
We had our fair share of shining moments this season.
The 19-20 Rutgers Basketball season will forever be known as the year that changed it all.
🛡⚔️ #GardenStatement pic.twitter.com/zVlRMS8IvT
— Rutgers Basketball 🏀 (@RutgersMBB) March 18, 2020
Meanwhile, the Scarlet Knights finished the regular season with a record of 20-11 with an 18-1 record at home. The Scarlet Knights surprised many this year and had their most competitive season since joining the Big Ten. The special year began early when Rutgers took the Garden State Hardwood Classic boardwalk trophy from the Pirates.
⚠️ WARNING ⚠️
You might wanna take a seat before you watch this.
🔴🔴 #GardenStatement pic.twitter.com/lOYLHE0udk
— Rutgers Basketball 🏀 (@RutgersMBB) December 19, 2019
Rutgers went on a late season skid during a stretch of mainly road games, yet they remained a competitive team that seemed near unbeatable at home and came close to some major wins on the road.
While these teams had tremendous regular seasons, the NCAA’s decision to cancel games due to fears about the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to look at this season as a lost cause for both teams.
Information for Pirates fans interested in postseason tickets is available here: https://t.co/ULOM9LDyKr #HALLin
— Seton Hall Men's Basketball (@SetonHallMBB) March 8, 2020
This is not a mindset that people should have however, as both teams should be celebrated as bringing back an in state rivalry that saw two successful schools within the same state go head to head against each other.
Residents and fans from each team should look forward of whats to come with New Jersey Basketball.