Rutgers men’s basketball team makes NCAA tournament for 1st time in 30 years

For the first time in three decades, the Rutgers University men’s basketball team will compete in the NCAA tournament.
“When we saw our name get called, it was everything we dreamed of and everything we’ve been waiting for, and we were just happy to see our hard work pay off,” says senior guard Geo Baker.
“Making history is always good and just doing it and at the state university where I grew up and where I was raised makes it so much more special,” says junior guard Ron Harper Jr.
Head coach Steve Pikiell says that 30 years ago he was playing in the tournament at Connecticut.
“I’m happy now our guys get a chance to experience what I experienced as a student athlete, and they made history,” he says.
The journey for the Scarlet Knights began more than a year ago. They were poised to make the tournament last year before COVID-19 shut down college athletics.
“Last year never ended, it just stopped. So, not being able to play last year carried over to this year and this year was so challenging in so many ways. These guys just kept plugging away,” Pikiell says.
This is the first time that the team has had back-to-back winning seasons since 1991 and 1992. The team is coming off a Big 10 Tournament quarterfinal loss to Illinois. But they say that their conference competition has prepared them for playing on the biggest stage in college basketball.
“We're all winners, we all came here to win, and now we're in a tournament of winners,” says Baker. “We get to see what can happen, but I just feel like it's destiny.”
Rutgers will face Clemson in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday.