The No. 2 Houston Cougars and No. 10 Rutgers Scarlet Knights have advanced out of the first round and will face off in the Round of 32 in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The game will take place on Sunday, March 21 at a time still to be determined. Houston blasted No. 15 Cleveland State, while the Rutgers escaped with a close win over Clemson. While Clemson was the higher seed, Rutgers was favored from the get-go.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Game date: Sunday, March 21
Game time: 7:10 p.m.
TV channel: TBS
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium (South)
Odds: Houston -9, Total 132.5
No. 2 Houston 25-3 (14-3): AUTO BID
KenPom rating: 5 OVERALL, 6 OFFENSE, 14 DEFENSE
NET ranking: 5, (2-1 vs. QUAD 1)
Leading scorer: G Quentin Grimes (18.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG)
The Cougars laid waste to Cleveland State in the 2/15 game. The Vikings hung close in the first half, never trailing by double digits, but things went south in a hurry in the second half. A 10-0 run put Houston up 49-31 just under four minutes into the half. They easily responded to any Cleveland State attempt to cut into the lead and eventually ran away with it thanks to a strong defense effort. Quentin Grimes led with 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, and the Cougars had six different players score in double digits. They limited Cleveland State’s leading scorer, Torrey Patton, to 8 points, and the Vikings only managed one player in double digits — Dmoi Hodge with 11 points.
The big question for Houston coming out of this is DeJon Jarreau’s hip pointer injury. He got injured in the first minute of the game and did not return. His status is uncertain for Sunday.
No. 10 Rutgers: 16-11 (10-10): AT-LARGE
KenPom rating: 35 OVERALL, 74 OFFENSE, 20 DEFENSE
NET ranking: 38 (5-9 vs. QUAD 1)
Leading scorer: Ron Harper Jr. (15.4 PPG)
The Scarlet knights just managed to escape in the first round. It was a back-and-forth first half, with multiple lead changes before Clemson went into the locker room up 26-23. Clemson built on their lead to start the second half, but Rutgers put together a 9-0 run to re-take the lead. Clemson pushed back and tied it at 55 with 4:12 left, setting up a potentially wild finish. Instead, the two teams combined for six points the rest of the way. Geo Baker hit a three with 3:48 to go to give Rutgers a 58-55 lead. Aamir Simms hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to 58-56 with 2:28 to go. Geo Baker added a layup with 10 seconds left and that was it for the 60-56 ball game.