Maryland took one of two games on their Big Ten road trip, dropping a tough one to Illinois before muscling out a win against Purdue, and return home Wednesday to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network, with streaming on BTN2Go.
The Scarlet Knights are widely considered the worst team in the Big Ten, ranking No. 149 in KenPom, but have done their darndest to fight that notion at the start of conference play. Rutgers is 10-7 on the year but 2-2 against Big Ten competition, pulling off home upsets against Penn State and Wisconsin. The win against the Badgers was the real shocker, and took place just Sunday. It was Wisconsin's second loss of the season (first was against Duke), and dropped them three places in the AP Poll.
Rutgers is coached by Eddie Jordan, who is in his second year in charge of the program. Maryland fans may remember him from his long stretch as the head coach of the Wizards, as well as stints with the Kings and 76ers. Rutgers went 12-21 in his first season, finishing No. 166 in KenPom, and he seems to have already made strides in reshaping the program.
Players to know
Myles Mack, senior, 5'10. Mack leads the team with 13.8 points, 4.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He's rarely ever called for fouls, and while he's struggling from three-point range (30.9%), he makes enough of his free throws and two-point shots to score at a reasonable rate.
Kadeem Jack, senior, 6'9. Rutgers' other significant scorer, Jack averages 12.6 points per game and is the team's main interior presence. He's a solid offensive rebounder who gets a lot of opportunities inside and at the free throw line but hasn't been great at either this year (40.8% on two-point FG, 61.3% from the line).
Greg Lewis, junior, 6'9. Remember Greg Lewis? The Baltimore power forward committed to the Scarlet Knights after narrowing it down to Maryland and Rutgers back in 2010. There were questions as whether he had a committable offer at the time (247Sports doesn't list one), but he's the team's leading shotblocker now. Speaking of, reading about 2010 recruiting is depressing:
Now it's time for Maryland to turn up the heat on the only three targets left: Space, Hubert, and Baru. Getting a commitment out of this weekend would be awesome, perhaps necessary. Baru's a longshot as it is, so prospects will get mighty thin if Space and Hubert go elsewhere.
Shot-blocking. Lewis blocks 6.5% of opponents' shots while he's on the floor, good for No. 125 in the country, while Jack, freshman Mike Williams, senior Malick Kone and junior Bishop Daniels have also been able to contribute on that end.
Defensive rebounding. Sophomore Junior Etou is one of the best defensive rebounders in the country, while Lewis, Jack and Mack all do their part. They're pretty good at defense generally, actually, but haven't been able to score enough to consistently win games.
Offense. Just about every aspect of it. Mack is the only player in the rotation with an offensive rating above 100 (all but three of Maryland's players do, with five over 110). They don't get many assists, they turn over the ball a lot and they don't get to the line that often. Rutgers averages 58.8 points per game, good for No. 327 in the country.
Shooting. The Scarlet Knights rank No. 321 in effective field goal percentage, and are shooting 38.9% from the floor. Their only two shooters above 32% from three-point range have taken a combined nine shots from deep, and the team is shooting just 43% (No. 311 in the nation) from two-point range.
KenPom’s prediction: Maryland, 68-55. 93% chance Maryland wins.
Pete's prediction: Maryland, 70-54.