Rutgers Wants to Extend Rivalry

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers and Seton Hall will explore all options to get a game on the schedule for 2013-14. With the Big East split incoming, Rutgers coach Mike Rice discussed the mutual interest of keeping the rivalry going on the eve of the last conference clash between the two teams.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Rutgers and Seton Hall rivalry will not die alongside many of the Big East traditions going out the window at the end of the season.

The two programs will find a way to keep the rivalry going and are already in conversations about doing so. With the Big East split approaching, the two programs have a short timetable work out the details.

The next step, Rice said, is for athletic directors Tim Pernetti and Patrick Lyons to work out the details.

"Tim has to speak with their athletic director," Rice said. "… It's going to happen. We just have to figure out the logistics. We thought it was going to be in two years, so we had time."

Rice and Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard have had multiple talks about extending the rivalry beyond the Big East split.

Fitting the game into two busy schedules and determining who gets the first home game will be a topic of discussion between the program.

"He (Willard) was going to give me 18 strokes and we were going to play so see who won to get the home game, and he was a big favorite," Rice said. "Now we have to figure out what we're going to do. We have to figure out is it going to be early December, late December. I'd like the students to be there, but if it makes sense to put it on the same date every year so you're not fighting back and forth, that makes sense."

Rutgers has what Rice called an upgraded non-conference schedule in the 2013-14 season. The Scarlet Knights are set to compete in the preseason NIT next season and have an unsettled conference schedule.

"It's full," Rice said on squeezing Seton Hall into the schedule. "We'll have to have long discussions with scheduling. We're in the Preseason NIT, there are some schedule upgrades next year. Something will have to change. I don't know what yet, but something will change."

Rutgers (13-15, 4-13) and Seton Hall (14-16, 3-14) clash for the final time in Big East play tomorrow night at the Prudential Center. Though neither team has momentum, both are hungry for a rivalry victory to bring into the Big East tournament. A win for Rutgers can put them ahead of the Pirates in the final league standings.

"That would be really cool," said senior forward Austin Johnson. "To actually win twice against them [as a senior] and have s winning overall record at 5-4 in my career, that would be cool. They've given us headaches, especially [at home] and we want to return the favor."

The difference between a six-game losing streak or one-game winning streak is dramatic when it comes to the start of the tournament, Johnson said.

"I think that will build tremendous momentum, especially going into a bunch of winnable games against opponents that we feel we can be successful against," Johnson said. "If we can get this win on Friday, I think it will definitely help us with our confidence."

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