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NCAA Tournament First Round Preview: No. 6 Rutgers vs. Harvard

How to watch and how the Knights and Crimson match up.

Rutgers vs. Army, February 20th, 2022 Shi Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
Rutgers Athletics

Game Info

What: NCAA Tournament First Round

When: Sunday, May 15th at 5:00 p.m.

Where: Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ

TV / Streaming: ESPNU (Anish Schroff and Quint Kessenich announcing)

Radio: WRSU Student Radio 88.7 FM (Chris Tsakonas and Eddie Kalegi on the broadcast)

Tickets: Info here

No. 6 seeded Rutgers hosts unseeded Harvard. This is the highest Rutgers has ever been seeded in the NCAA tourney. The Knights were a No. 7 seed in 1986, defeating C.W. Post in the 1st round.

The game will be played on the friendly grass turf at Yurcak Field since graduation ceremonies will be hosted the same day inside Shi Stadium. This should make for a much more interesting game environment with fans close to the field and the stands most likely packed.

Rutgers finished the season at 13-3 and No. 8 in the media poll. Harvard compiled an 8-4 overall record and finished No. 14. in the media poll. Rutgers is 14-4 overall against the Crimson, with the teams last meeting in 1983 and Harvard’s last win in the series dating back to 1971.

Key Matchups

Face-offs. Face-offs. Face-offs. In Rutgers three losses this season, they have gone a combined 27-62 at the circle for a 30% win percentage. When Rutgers wins the face-off battle, they have had only one tight match - a 15-14 OT win over Penn State.

Likewise, Harvard has lost the face-off battle in all four defeats, including a 4-18 showing against Penn in which the Crimson wound up losing by just three goals.

For the season, Rutgers has won 46% of face-offs and Harvard 40%. Something has to give in this match as at least one team has to hit 50%. Harvard scores a rounded average of 14 a game and gives up 12. Rutgers scores 15 and gives up 11. If one team dominates possession, they obviously have an excellent shot at victory. If Rutgers can win 50%, they will be hard to beat.

Key Players:

Freshman attackman Sam King led the Crimson in points this season with 24 goals and 19 assists.

Junior attackman Ross Scott had a breakout season for the Knights, leading the team in points with 40 goals and 22 assists.

Ross Scott | Rutgers Lacrosse
Rutgers Athletics

Hear from the Players (Courtesy of Rutgers Athletics)

“We’ve always talked about raising the bar for this program. Being a tournament regular was a level we wanted to set for future generations. I think the world of my classmates and our coaching staff that we’ve been able to make that happen.”

Captain Ryan Gallagher

“It’s been an awesome season. This team plays hard and plays for each other. Every rep matters, every practice matters, every game matters. With that mentality, we’ve been able to have some amazing success and I’ve been grateful to be a part of that.”

Senior Mitch Bartolo

“Last year, the NCAA Tournament was a great experience for our team. We know that we’re on a big stage that we dream about being on, but at the end of the day our team knows that we have to treat it just like any other game. Being able to host a NCAA game at Rutgers is special and we’re excited for that opportunity on Sunday.”

Captain Colin Kirst

RUTGERS NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY (Courtesy of Rutgers Athletics)

1972: No. 8 Rutgers lost at No. 1 Maryland in the Quarterfinals, 9-3 (8-Team Field)

1974: No. 8 Rutgers lost at No. 1 Maryland in the Quarterfinals, 12-6 (8-Team Field)

1975: No. 8 Rutgers lost at No. 1 Cornell in the Quarterfinals, 18-5 (8-Team Field)

1984: No. 7 Rutgers lost at No. 2 Syracuse in the Quarterfinals, 8-7 (OT) (8-Team Field)

1986: No. 7 Rutgers WINS, hosting C.W. Post in the First Round, 13-8 (10-Team Field)

No. 7 Rutgers lost at No. 2 Syracuse in the Quarterfinals, 17-5

1990: unseeded Rutgers WINS at No. 6 Virginia, 7-6 in the First Round (12-Team Field)

Rutgers lost at No. 3 Loyola, 19-10 in the Quarterfinals

1991: unseeded Rutgers lost at No. 7 Maryland, 13-7 in the First Round (12-Team Field)

2003: No. 7 Rutgers lost, hosting Georgetown, 9-6 in the First Round (16-Team Field)

2004: unseeded Rutgers lost at No. 6 Princeton, 12-4 in the First Round (16-Team Field)

2021: unseeded Rutgers WINS vs. No. 8 Lehigh, 12-5 in the First Round (18-Team Field)

Rutgers lost vs. No. 1 UNC in the Quarterfinals, 12-11 in the Quarterfinals (OT)

On our latest podcast episode, our guests were head coach Brian Brecht and captain Ryan Gallagher. You can listen here: