PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers (11-20, 5-13) heads to FedEx Forum in Memphis for the 2014 American Athletic Conference Championship. The Scarlet Knights, picked 10th in the preseason coaches poll, are the No. 7 seed and will meet No. 10 seed USF (12-19, 3-15), selected eighth in the preseason, in an opening round match-up at 6 p.m. local (7 p.m. ET) time on Wednesday (March 12). The winner of the contest will play No. 2 seed, No. 5-ranked and 2013-14 AAC Co-Champion Louisville in a 2 p.m. local (3 p.m. ET) tip-off in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Wednesday’s game will be televised live nationally in high definition on ESPNU with Mike Patrick calling the action and Tim Welsh providing the analysis. On the radio, all RU tournament match-ups will be broadcast live on the Rutgers IMG Sports Network, WOR 710 AM in New York and WCTC 1450 Am in New Brunswick. Chris Carlin will serve as play-by-play announcer and Dick Lloyd will provide commentary. On satellite radio, all Championship games will air on Sirius channel 92/XM channel 192.
Wednesday evening’s contest marks the 15th meeting between Rutgers and USF on the hardwood dating back to 1996-97, with the Scarlet Knights holding a 9-5 advantage in victories, with RU winning three straight, including both match-ups this season. Rutgers and USF have never met in championship play. In the last match-up on March 1, Rutgers overcame a 15-point, second half deficit to earn a 74-73 victory at the RAC. Juniors Myles Mack (Paterson, N.J.) and Kadeem Jack (Queens. N.Y.) both scored 20 points in the win. Jack is averaging 25.5 points, while shooting 55.2% (16-of-29) from the field and 94.7% (18-of-19) from the free throw, versus the Bulls this season.
The last two times Rutgers defeated an opponent three times in one season, Eddie Jordan was on staff. In 1988-89, RU completed the trifecta versus St. Bonaventure when Jordan was an assistant under Bob Wenzel. In 1984-85, the Scarlet Knights downed Duquesne three times when Jordan was a volunteer assistant under tom Young.
Rutgers and Louisville have met 15 times, with the Cardinals holding a 13-1 advantage in victories, including both this season. RU last defeated then No. 22 Louisville 65-56 at the RAC on Jan. 28, 2006. As a player at Rutgers, Jordan faced Louisville twice, dropping both decisions. As a sophomore, Jordan had 19 points in a 91-78 loss to the No. 3-ranked Cardinals in the NCAA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla. As a senior, Jordan scored 17 points in a 76-68 loss to No. 13 UofL in the Louisville Classic.
Rutgers concluded its regular season with a hard-fought 70-66 home loss to No. 15 Cincinnati, the Championship’s No. 1 seed, on Saturday (March 8) afternoon. J.J. Moore (Brentwood, N.Y.) scored 19 points on Senior Day, while Jack posted 15 and Mack added 10 points with nine assists. The Scarlet Knights out-rebounded a pair of nationally-ranked foes in their final week, establishing a 39-34 edge over the Bearcats and a 37-28 advantage on the boards at No. 19 UConn (March 5).