Rutgers Coach Steve Pikiell Locked in on Seton Hall

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Is Rutgers in the right mindset as underdogs against rival Seton Hall? Head coach Steve Pikiell gives the final word before Friday night's tip-off from a sold-out Prudential Center.

The Headline – Rutgers knows what an upset win over Seton Hall could mean. In practice this week, the Scarlet Knights were all business.

“We're finishing up finals, I think a couple of guys are done, so it's basketball now,” said coach Steve Pikiell. “We've done a really good job of working hard and going over the game plan for the game. I think there's some great focus, some extra time in the film room. We've just had a couple of good days, which I'm excited about.”

As far as the long-term significance of a win over Seton Hall, Pikiell would rather go one at a time.

“I go one game to the next, and this is the next game on the [schedule],” he said. “I get a lot of emails from people that have graduated here saying how excited they are about the game. A lot of people are asking me for tickets, and I promptly gave them the Seton Hall ticket number to take care of that. We're excited. I think people are. I've got a lot of respect for their program. Kevin [Willard] does a great job. He's got good players. I think our programs are very much on the rise and improved.”

Rutgers has road wins at DePaul, Stony Brook and Madison Square Garden with a loss at Miami.

Is that enough for a sold-out Prudential Center?

“They're going to have to [handle it well] because this won't be the toughest environment we play in for the rest of the year,” Pikiell said. “If you watch any of those Big Ten games, those are some tough environments, too. Hopefully we'll have some Rutgers people there to help cheer us on.”

Worth Noting – While Rutgers won the first five editions of the game, starting in 1916, the all-time series sits at 38-29 after three straight victories for Kevin Willard of Eddie Jordan.

Quote of the Day – “I think it's a great start to a tremendous rivalry. I was reading, I think we're scheduled to play them through 2020. Of course, I won't be here, so this will be a one-and-done rivalry experience for me, but I want to take advantage of it and hopefully I'll be able to come back and catch some games later on.” – Center CJ Gettys on his only Seton Hall experience.

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