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Rutgers Men’s Basketball Game Preview #13 vs. Maryland

Includes how to watch, stream, stats, and keys to victory

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland (11-3; 2-1) At Rutgers (7-5; 0-2)

How To Watch, Listen, News & Notes

Where: The RAC in Piscataway, New Jersey

Tip-off: Saturday, January 5th at 2:00 p.m. ET

TV: BTN - Brandon Gaudin & Bob Wenzel

Stream: BTN2GO

Radio: Rutgers IMG Sports Network - WCTC 1450 AM/WOR 710 AM/XM 382 - Jerry Recco & Joe Boylan; WRSU 88.7 FM - Matt Howe & Corey Jason

KenPom Rankings: Rutgers #109; Maryland #29

(Rutgers has moved up 5 spots since the win over Maine )

KenPom Prediction: Maryland 68 Rutgers 64; Rutgers has an 36% chance to win.

Vegas Line: Maryland -3.5

Series History: Maryland leads all-time 9-3, including a 61-51 victory last February on its home court.

Game 12 recap & four thoughts

About Maryland

Head coach Mark Turgeon brings the Terps to the RAC with some momentum after Wednesday’s upset victory over Nebraska. Maryland is 11-3 on the season and 2-1 in Big Ten play. Per KenPom, their non-conference schedule strength was just 279th. The only opponent they’ve played that Rutgers has as well this season was Seton Hall, who beat them at home 78-74 in late December.

In conference action, they lost Purdue by 2 points on the road, while beating Penn State and the Huskers at home.

As a team, their adjusted offensive effiency national rank is 24th and its defense is 50th. They are shooting over 55% from two-point range and are slightly above average from the free throw line (71.8%, 119th) and three-point range (34.6%, 157th). They are ranked 4th in the country in rebounding margin (+11.9), 7th in offensive rebounding rate (38.5%) and on the defensive end, 13th in block rate (15.4%), 26th in opponent offensive rebounding rate (23.7%), 40th in opponent two-point shooting (45.4%) and 64th in opponent effective field goal percentage (47.2%).

The Terps primarily run with a six to eight man rotation that includes five freshmen. Per KenPom, they are 349th ranked team experience wise out of 353 Division I teams. Here are the key players know:


Junior Guard Anthony Cowan Jr. - 16.6 points, 4.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals

Sophomore Darryl Morsell - 9.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists

Freshman Aaron Wiggins - 9.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals

Freshman Eric Ayala - 9.1 points, 3.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds

Freshman Serrell Smith Jr. - 3.7 points, 1.7 rebounds


Sophomore Bruno Fernando - 14.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.5 assists

Freshman Jalen Smith - 12.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 blocks

Freshman Ricky Lindo Jr. - 2.1 points, 3.1 rebounds

Keys To Victory

Balance On Offense

Four to five players need to score in double digits for Rutgers to have enough fire power to win. We know Eugene Omoruyi and Geo Baker will end up scoring 10+, but hopefully they can do so in an efficient manner. Peter Kiss has risen to the occasion against top competition, scoring in double digits against Miami, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Seton Hall. However, he scored just a combined 11 points against Fordham, Columbia and Maine. Rutgers needs his A game against Maryland. The group of Caleb McConnell, Shaq Carter, Montez Mathis, Ron Harper Jr, and Issa Thiam need to produce points as well, with at least one coming close to double figures, preferably more. If Rutgers gets slowed down in the halfcourt and over relies on Omoruyi and Baker, who Maryland will obviously key on, it will be a struggle to exceed 60 points and make it very hard to win.

Win Turnover Margin

Rutgers needs to minimize turnovers and exploit the biggest weakness of Maryland, which on offense has a turnover rate of 19.9% (220th) and steal rate of 11.2% (331st). The Terps also don’t force its opponents into many turnovers (16.8%, 280th). Rutgers needs to take care of the basketball in this game and have a little momentum after committing just two turnovers in the second half against Maine. However, that came after committing 26 in three halves against Columbia and Maine. The passing overall has to be crisper and guards Baker and McConnell need to make smart decisions with the ball in their hands.

Rebounding Battle

Both teams are ranked in the top 50 nationally in multiple rebounding categories and part of each’s identity. Rutgers needs to establish control on the boards in this game if they want to win it. The Terps have been even better than the Scarlet Knights have on the offensive glass this season and is something RU will need to limit. While Rutgers has been a strong rebounding team overall under head coach Steve Pikiell, they’ve rarely performed well against Big Ten foes that are strong on the boards too. Saturday’s game is a chance to show progress in that regard.

All Hands On Deck

Aside from balanced scoring, Rutgers needs contributions from all ten scholarship players in this game. Whether it’s Issa Thiam giving a lift defensively and knocking down a three, Shaq Carter giving scoring and rebounding off the bench, freshman Ron Harper Jr. and Montez Mathis diving for loose balls and finding lanes to rim, or Myles Johnson providing good passing and clogging the paint on defense, Rutgers needs a strong effort from the bench to win this game.

Make The RAC Roar Early & Often

This game is a sellout and Rutgers needs to bring the appropriate intensity and focus from the opening tip. Maryland is a young and inexperienced team that has only played two road games this season, at Navy (W) and at Purdue (L). They have the potential to get rattled in a tight game in a raucous atmosphere, which is exactly what the RAC can be at its best. With the holiday season behind us, longtime fans and students that do come back to campus during the winter break should have plenty of energy to expend. It’s up to the team to give the crowd plenty to cheer about and the longer they can keep the game close, the more confidence they will gain. I predicted this game as the one Rutgers would win as its biggest upset this season. Who knows what will actually happen, but the recipe for them to do so will certainly be present on Saturday.

Steve Pikiell Talks