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Rutgers earns bid to NCAA Tournament for second straight year, will take on Notre Dame in First Four

The Scarlet Knights earned an 11 seed in the big dance.

Penn State v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The long wait is finally over — and Rutgers is dancing for the second consecutive season.

After what was an agonizing few weeks of uncertainty, the Scarlet Knights were given an 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The First Four matchup between No. 11 Rutgers (18-13) vs. No. 11 Notre Dame (22-10) will tip at 9:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday March 16 in Dayton, Ohio and air live on truTV.

This is the second time in program history that Rutgers will compete in the tournament in back-to-back years. The first came back in 1975-1976.

It was a roller coaster season for the Scarlet Knights. As the season went on during the conference tournaments, this became the likely landing spot for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights did plenty of good over the course of the season but some early-season woes were difficult to overcome.

The Scarlet Knights suffered losses to UMass, DePaul, and worst of all Lafayette, before entering Big Ten play. Once conference play began, Rutgers did enough to make the committee believe they deserve a chance to compete in the tournament.

Rutgers became the first unranked team in college basketball history to take down a ranked team in four consecutive games. The Scarlet Knights went on a streak winning games over Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Illinois. This set the table for Rutgers and a late-season victory against Indiana in Bloomington might have been the cherry on top.

Following the win streak, Rutgers suffered losses to Purdue, Michigan, and Wisconsin. This put their resume in question before ending the year with back-to-back wins over Indiana and Penn State.

Rutgers finished with a NET ranking of 77. It struggled on the road, going 4-10 in games played on the road or at a neutral site. The Scarlet Knights suffered three losses to Quad teams while going 4-4 against the bottom four teams in the Big Ten.

It was not easy for the Scarlet Knights down the stretch as Virginia Tech upset Duke to win the ACC Tournament while Richmond shocked Davidson in the Atlantic 10 final. Also, Texas A&M made a run to the SEC title game but finished as the runner-up.

When looking back on the process over the last month, it will be a season that Rutgers basketball will never forget. At this point, it is onto the next stage and for the second straight year, that stage is the NCAA Tournament.