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Rutgers’ Cinderella Story Isn’t Over Yet. Can They Keep it Rolling Against Purdue?

Rutgers has embraced the role of underdogs and host of the Big 10 Tournament. From the pre-game rally in front of Madison Square Garden to the sea of red shirts in the arena. It’s truly turning out to be Rutgers vs Everybody in the Big 10 Tournament.

Corey Sanders scored 28 points and last-place Rutgers upset Indiana 76-69 Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, the Scarlet Knights most notable accomplishment in four seasons since joining the conference.

The 14th-seeded Scarlet Knights (15-18) face third seed and No. 8 Purdue at Madison Square Garden in the final game of Friday’s quarterfinal quadruple-header.

Rutgers has won two games in a single conference tournament for the first time since 1998 in the Big East. The last time Rutgers won three conference tournament games was 1989 in the Atlantic 10.

Rutgers definitely was not supposed to be playing in this game, but it’s called March Madness for a reason, and we’ve had an early dosage of the inexplicable upsets that have led to the name.

The Purdue Boilermakers and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have faced off twice already this year, with each game resulting in a Purdue win. This time around Purdue will face a carefree Rutgers team with nothing to lose.

Can Rutgers Hang With Purdue?

For as great as Purdue is, they are an awful rebounding team. Rutgers exposed Minnesota on the glass en route to their first upset win with a 49-28 rebounding advantage. While Indiana did out-rebound the Scarlet Knights on Thursday 31-29, it seemed like Rutgers hauled down the key rebounds and came up with the loose balls in the key moments of the game. With the unquestionable talent gap between these two teams Friday night, Rutgers will have to dominate the glass and keep their defensive intensity up for any shot to pull another upset.

 

Jason Cordner

Jason Cordner

Jason is the New York Liberty Beat Writer, Rutgers Football Beat Writer, and co-host of The Box Out, a basketball podcast for DoubleGSports.com.
Jason Cordner

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