The 2021 NCAA Tournament field has been established, giving us a host of fascinating first-round matchups, including Colorado 5, Georgetown 12, and North Carolina 8, Wisconsin, 9.
But perhaps no first-round matchup is more peculiar than the 10-7 matchup between Clemson and Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights (-1) started as the only 10 favorites in their respective matchup, although both they and the Tigers have problems the other team can take advantage of in the first round. Neither team inspired much confidence heading into March Madness, which makes their reunion even more interesting.
Clemson (16-7, 10-6 ACC) has a better record than Rutgers (15-11, 10-10 Big Ten); But it’s important to note that the Tigers play in what is considered a mediocre ACC, while the Scarlet Knights’ record is likely skewed by the difficulty of the Big Ten, which is clearly the best conference in basketball this season.
With that, here’s everything you need to know about the Clemson-Rutgers showdown, including standings, key players, season breakdowns, and more:
EXPERT SUPPORT PICTURES:
DeCourcy (Gonzaga) | Bender (Illinois) | Fagan (Gonzaga) | Lutovsky (Baylor)
When is Rutgers vs. Clemson?
Rutgers-Clemson is scheduled as the 17th overall game to be played at March Madness, including the first four games. Below are the details of your game, including time, television, and location.
- Date: Friday March 19
- Time: 9:20 pm ET
- TELEVISION: TBS
- Sand: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Rutgers (15-11, 10-10 Big Ten)
Rutgers is in a curious position, when it comes to history. This is the first time the Scarlet Knights have danced in 30 seasons, when they suffered a first-round loss to Arizona State in the 1991 NCAA Tournament. Therefore, it is unknown how Steve Pikiell’s team will make the most of it. your chance. Regardless, the Scarlet Knights are right where Sporting News predicted they would land heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Like Clemson, this team enjoyed a good chunk of its success in the early part of the season, beginning with a 6-0 record that included a 91-88 win, the third-seeded overall in Illinois. The Scarlet Knights did not get another qualifying victory (they lost seven games, in order, to Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Illinois).
Even so, Rutgers enjoyed several notable victories during the season, including the eventual Syracuse, 11-seeded, Maryland 10, Purdue 4, and the First Four Michigan State team.
- NET Ranking: 38
- KenPom Classification: 3. 4
- Quad register 1: 4-9
- Quad register 2: 6-2
- Quad register 3: 3-0
- Quad register 4: 2-0
- Offensive efficiency ranking: 75th
- Defensive efficiency: 18
Key players. Main players
Ron Harper (6-6 junior guard, 245 pounds)
15.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.6 apg
Jacob Young (6-6 senior guard, 185 pounds)
14.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.5 apg
Geo Baker (6-4 senior guard, 195 pounds)
10.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.1 apg
Montez Mathis (6-4 junior guard, 210 pounds)
8.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.8 apg
Myles Johnson (6-11 junior forward, 255 pounds)
8.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 0.8 apg
BREAKDOWN OF REGIONS:
WEST | EAST | SOUTH | MIDWEST
Clemson (16-7, 10-6 ACC)
The Tigers may be a bit outmatched at No. 7, based on Sporting News’ final field of 68 predictions; Bill Bender screened Clemson as a seed 9.
That said, they enjoyed considerable success and looked to achieve a much higher seed before suffering a few setbacks in mid-January. The Tigers opened their season 9-2, enjoying victories over Alabama, 2 seeds (64-56), 4 seeds Purdue (81-70) and 4 seeds Florida State (77-67). They finished with six losses in their last 13 games, which included a 63-50 win over 8-seeded UNC, but also a sad loss to Miami in the ACC Tournament.
- NET Ranking: 41
- KenPom Classification: 42
- Quad register 1: 3-6
- Quad register 2: 7-0
- Quad register 3: 5-1
- Quad register 4: 1-0
- Offensive efficiency ranking: 99th
- Defensive efficiency: Twentieth
Key players. Main players
Aamir Simms (6-9 pound senior forward, 245 pounds)
13.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, 54.3 field goal percentage, 40.7 3-point percentage
Al-Amir Dawes (6-2, 180-pound sophomore guard)
9.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 42.4 field goal percentage, 38.7 3-point percentage
Nick Honor (5-10 sophomore guard)
8.4 ppg, 2.3 apg, 1.4 spg, 1.3 rpg, 40.5 field goal percentage, 38.5 3 point percentage
Hunter Tyson (6-8 junior forward, 215 pounds)
7.4 points per game, 4.3 rpg, 47.3 field goal percentage, 41.7 3-point percentage
Clyde Trapp (6-4, 203-pound senior guard)
7.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 40.3 field goal percentage, 34.5 3-point percentage
SUPPORT TIPS: KenPom | Play the odds | Idiots guide
Rutgers vs. Clemson Breakdown
Rutgers-Clemson could be a bit of a scary affair: Both teams rank 75th in offensive efficiency, while each ranks in the top 20 nationally in defensive efficiency.
The Tigers in particular have only one player in Aamir Simms to average more than 10 points per game. He is also the only player in the ACC to lead his team in points per game (13.3), rebounds per game (6.2) and assists per game (2.7), a feat he accomplished for the second year in a row in 2021. Rutgers could try to pit. 6-11 Myles Johnson (8.3 ppi, 8.7 rpg, 0.8 apg) against Simms to keep him from dominating the post, but the latter is an efficient shooter across the court.
The Scarlet Knights have considerable top leadership on their team, including three players averaging more than 10 points per game: Ron Harper, Jacob Young and Geo Baker, whom Mike DeCourcy pointed to as a player to watch in the Midwest region. The best of those players, however, is Harper. The 6-6 junior guard leads the team with 15.4 points per game and ranks second on the team at 5.9 rebounds per game.
Clemson can warm up from 3-point ground and play good defense, but he’ll have to maintain that against a more battle-tested Scarlet Knights team. Otherwise, you could see a 10 seed beat a 7 seed for the 12th tournament in a row.
10v7 matchup history in the NCAA tournament
Fans who want to trust history can check out the overall record of between 10 and 7 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Overall, the 7 seeds have an 85-55 advantage since the group expanded to 64 teams in 1985. That might seem like a good reason to pick the Tigers (assuming you’re not analyzing the matchup), but that means that there is a 40 percent chance that the Scarlet Knights will win the match.
There’s also a recent story to consider: A 10 seed has won their opening round game in every tournament since 2008, when Stephen Curry led Davidson on an incredible March Madness streak. Twenty ten seeded players won their respective 2008-19 opening round matches, including three in 2019, 2010 and 2009. Interestingly, Clemson has been beaten twice in that span.
Below is a breakdown of the victories 10 seeds have enjoyed over 7 seeds in the last 10 tournaments:
|2019||Florida 70, Nevada 61|
|Iowa 79, Cincinnati 72|
|Minnesota 86, Louisville 76|
|2018||Butler 79, Arkansas 62|
|2017||Wichita State 64, Dayton 58|
|2016||VCU 75, Oregon State 67|
|Syracuse 70, Dayton 51|
|2015||Ohio State 75, VCU 72|
|2014||Stanford 58, New Mexico 53|
|2013||Iowa State 76, Notre Dame 58|
|2012||Xavier 67, Notre Dame 63|
|Purdue 72, Saint Mary’s 69|
|2011||State of Florida 57, Texas A&M 50|
|2010||Georgia Tech 64, Oklahoma State 59|
|Missouri 86, Clemson 78|
|Saint Mary’s 80, Richmond 71|
|2009||USC 72, Boston College 55|
|Maryland 84, Cal 71|
|Michigan 62, Clemson 59|
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.