Rutgers is coming off the best win in their program's history on Sunday, upsetting #4 Wisconsin at the RAC. A few points before we get to the video. 1) Wisconsin played without Frank Kaminsky, and then lost Traevon Jackson in the second half to a foot injury. 2) Even the worst team in the B1G is pretty freakin' good. These things will happen to Wisconsin. These things will happen to Maryland. 3) Related, can we all agree that every road win is an achievement?
Rutgers' offense boils down to one guy: the awesomely named Myles Mack. You might want to pay some attention to Kadeem Jack (another great name) as a slasher/transition guy good for a thunderous dunk or two. But it's Mack that runs the show for the Scarlet Knights. The senior guard is their leader in both scoring (13.8) and assists (4.2).
Mack is a 30.9% three-point shooter on the season. He's streaky, and he's not shy about taking difficult shots. Check out this catch-and-shoot 3 from NBA range with Jackson in his grill.
Mack is not just a catch-and-shoot guy though. He will pull up from deep off the bounce, making any high pick-and-roll a threatening situation. Expect Maryland's guards to chase over top every ball screen, and hopefully the bigs can hedge out enough to deter any threes off the dribble. This is one area that Maryland's scheme should slow down Mack.
But Mack is not one-dimensional as a scorer. He will drive to score or pass, with enough smarts and handles to shake a defender one-on-one. Here, Mack is fairly contained in the pick-and-roll but he has enough inside position on Jackson to continue his drive. He heads straight for the corner defender to suck an extra man towards the lane, and kick for a three-pointer.
Down the stretch, Mack pushed inside to seal the huge win. A smart decision again, because he can shed his defender off the bounce and also because he's a good free-throw shooter at 83.6%. I mean, seriously. That crossover and then one-dribble burst from the arc to the bucket. This is a big-time play.
Mack is listed at 5'10" 175, so whoever gets the assignment might be able to body him up. The key will be discipline against those vicious crossovers, as well as quickness to keep up on off-ball movement. Here is a set that Eddie Jordan uses from time-to-time to free up Mack.
Rutgers overloads one side of the court, then tries to quickly reverse court with a dribble handoff. Simultaneously, Mack runs parallel with the ballhandler, taking two screens from the bigs (on either block).
I've actually seen Maryland run this same exact play, so it will not surprise Turgeon and the coaching staff. Here's a near identical set from last year's game at BC.
One trap Maryland needs to avoid is paying too much attention to Mack. Yes, Mack is their best player, but he's also prone to taking difficult shots. Don't concede easy baskets just for the sake of getting the ball out of Mack's hands. Here, Wisconsin has two players follow Mack, expecting a dribble handoff. Instead, it's a wide-open lane and a dunk.