It may not be a rivalry that makes national headlines (due in large part to the lack of success for both programs in recent years) but the annual matchup between Rutgers and Seton Hall was one that grew in importance within New Jersey once the Scarlet Knights joined the Big East in 1995.
Obviously conference realignment has halted (temporarily) some rivalries, but that won’t be the case for these two schools.
It was announced on Thursday that Rutgers and Seton Hall have agreed to an eight-year contract, with the first game of the series being played at Rutgers on December 7, 2013. Rutgers will host the game in odd-numbered years and Seton Hall will do so in even-numbered years.
“I’m obviously very excited that this series is going to continue,” Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan said in a joint statement released by the schools. “I have been a part of this rivalry as both a player and an assistant coach, and I look forward to preparing our team for it.
“It helps to build spirit and is good for our University, our fans, our students and the New Jersey basketball community. It’s special and we can’t wait to grow the rivalry even more.”
Interestingly enough there is a clause in Jordan’s contract that the school will pay him $5,000 for every win he gets over Rutgers’ in-state rival.
Overall the two schools have met 64 times since 1916 with Seton Hall holding a 35-29 edge, with the two schools meeting at least twice in every season with the exception of two (1996-97 and 1998-99) as fellow Big East members.
With Seton Hall becoming a member of the Big East 2.0 (?) and Rutgers moving to the AAC for a season before joining the Big Ten in 2014, the dynamic will change. But at least they’ll continue to play the series, and the hope of many is that future meetings will occur closer to the holiday season.
“Continuing a local college basketball rivalry with such a rich tradition only made sense,” said Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard. “This game has evolved into one that both fan bases look forward to each season, so we are happy to see it continue.”
Rutgers won both meetings last season, 57-55 at the RAC on February 12 and 56-51 at the Prudential Center in Newark on March 8.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.