Rutgers' Steve Pikiell says team excited for opportunity in NCAA Tournament
Despite earning one of the Top 4 seeds in the B1G Tournament last week, Rutgers’ stay in Indianapolis was a short one. The Scarlet Knights dropped an 84-74 contest to Iowa in the quarterfinal round of the event, sending them back to Piscataway to await their NCAA Tournament fate.
Rutgers heard its name called on Selection Sunday but it wasn’t the most desirable position to be in. The Scarlet Knights are involved in a play-in game against Notre Dame at the No. 11 seed.
Speaking with SiriusXM Radio, head coach Steve Pikiell talked about Rutgers’ opportunity, as well as how it needs to play in order to win some games in March.
“We didn’t play great (against Iowa). I sat down with the guys and really just talked about — the next time we’re in this locker room, we gotta play Rutgers basketball,” Pikiell said. “I don’t want this season to end. It’s been a special group. In my 30 years of coaching, we haven’t had a bad day of practice.
“I wanted to get back on the court as soon as possible (after losing to Iowa). It didn’t necessarily have to be Wednesday, but that’s fine. We’re excited about the opportunity to play a great Notre Dame (team). Mike Brey does a great job — we’re happy to be in this tournament.”
Rutgers closed out the season with an 18-13 record but had one of the most impressive runs of any team in the B1G. In February, the Scarlet Knights posted four consecutive wins over ranked opponents, defeating No. 13 Michigan State, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 12 Illinois.
The Scarlet Knights also notched a December victory over then-No. 1 Purdue.
Rutgers and Notre Dame are scheduled for a 9:10 p.m. ET tip-off on TruTV.
After falling in their first Big Ten tournament game, @RutgersMBB will start their NCAA Tournament run in Dayton.
@CoachPikiell is just looking forward to getting back to playing Rutgers Basketball.
#GardenStatement | 🛡⚔️ | #RHoops pic.twitter.com/TFzWvq5AL8
— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) March 14, 2022