Rutgers, Vaughn rise to occasion in second round

Updated: March 8, 2009, 10:49 AM ET
By Graham Hays
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Rutgers did what it was supposed to do against Seton Hall in the second round of the Big East tournament Saturday. The way things are going around the rest of country, that might have been quite an accomplishment.

Xavier bowed out of the Atlantic 10 tournament before it even got a sniff of Charlotte and Temple, losing an overtime quarterfinal against Dayton. As good as Maryland looked in doing more damage to the scoreboard than North Carolina, the Terrapins needed a furious rally to get past Wake Forest in the previous round. And in Hartford, three lower-seeded teams won Friday night, including a rare win -- in any setting -- for a No. 16 seed, as Cincinnati effectively ended Marquette's at-large NCAA candidacy.

That's the way conference tournaments tend to work, but Rutgers was having none of it. In dismantling Seton Hall 79-45 to advance to Sunday's quarterfinal against second-seeded Louisville, it looked the part of the team that entered the season with a top-five ranking and championship aspirations. And it looked nothing like the team that spent much of the regular season putting together puzzling loss after puzzling loss.