How well does a team play when, in the often strange world of the Big East regular season, they’ve already exceeded expectations and sewed up a first round bye in the Big East tournament and a spot in the NCAA field of 65?
Apparently, just good enough.
While the Irish won’t win any style points in today’s 73-66 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the win is a good launch pad from which to begin what could quite possibly be a great next few weeks. Brey’s squad looked at turns both brilliant and sluggish in Piscataway, garnering only their third road win this season and taking their record to 23-6, 11-5 in the Big East.
Rutgers first year head coach Fred Hill’s side looked overmatched from the outset, despite the consistently impressive play of senior Adrian Hill who finished with 16 points, 18 rebounds, and player of the game honors. With the loss, Rutgers season is now over, finishing in the bottom four of the conference and 10-19 (3-13).
New Jersey native Russell Carter looked impressive in his homecoming with some strong drives to the glass and three scores from beyond the arc to finish the night with 17 points.
Colin Falls went 5-10 from three point range and managed a game high 22 points.
Sophomore Zach Hillesland was solid off the bench leading the Irish with eight defensive rebounds.
The Irish now await their return trip to the east coast, likely coming next Tuesday, and day two of the Big East tournament late next week, a first day bye that was guaranteed with Syracuse’s loss to Villanova earlier today.
NCAA Tournament Selection Day then follows next Sunday.