Rutgers has made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 38 years.
Survive and advance. That is what Rutgers did in round one. Fans are still buzzing from an electric 60-56 win over Clemson on Friday night. This was a rock fight from the beginning and the Scarlet Knights held on for their first tournament victory since 1983.
Rutgers’ nation can now sit back, relax, and enjoy Indianapolis on Saturday, and most of Sunday. The Scarlet Knights are set to face No. 2 Houston on Sunday at 7:10 PM at Lucas Oil Stadium — and they will do so as a big underdog.
The Scarlet Knights are currently an 8.5-point dog to the Cougars, according to FanDuel. Houston cruised in the first round against Cleveland State, 87-56. This was their eighth consecutive victory.
This is the fourth meeting between Rutgers and Houston. The Cougars are 2-1 in the all-time series. Both teams were able to cover the number in the first round. Rutgers entered as a slight favorite over Clemson.
In their last nine games, Rutgers is 6-3 against the spread (ATS). Houston is 14-4 ATS in their last 18 games. The Scarlet Knights will need to slow the game down and win on the defensive end.
Rutgers has struggled shooting the ball recently, but were able to get some big shots to fall on Friday night. Seven of the last 10 games for Rutgers have been under. This game is set at 132, which is a range that might work in favor of the Scarlet Knights
This is how they will have to compete with the Cougars. If this game is played in the 70s or 80s, it does not favor Rutgers. They will have to show some of that Big Ten physicality and make this another ugly game.
We have seen some huge upsets in this tournament already — and it has only been one day. There will be plenty more and Rutgers is certainly a team that could pull one off.