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Embracing Expectations: 4 Thoughts on Maryland Round 2

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

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights ended it’s home season on an upswing with a 78-67 win that wasn’t as close as the score. The Maryland Terrapins weren’t ever really in the game in the second half.

Four Thoughts:

How Fun Was the RAC This Year?: The RAC regained its reputation this year and tonight put the cherry on top. The place was rocking from the tip, and the players responded. There were sightings of crazy fans, Greg Schiano, football recruits, and Barstool’s Storm Chasers. The students were engaged throughout and the rest of the fans really brought it when necessary. It’s okay to look back on this season, just think how remarkable it was. 18-1, with all of the wins over ranked teams being double digit wins. Rutgers responded to its fans this year and vice versa. What a year.

Jacob Young and Montez Mathis: Two players known for their defense put on an offensive show. Young was the catalyst in the first half, hitting three threes and sending Maryland back on its toes. After that, he used his speed to get to the rim, stop on a dime and then put in a little floater that the Terrapins’ defense could never catch up with. Montez Mathis was just as good, going six for ten and nearly blew the trapazoid off the place with a rim rattling dunk off a back screen. Both make Anthony Cowan work for everything—every one of his 19 points. What an effort by two players that Rutgers fans don’t always look toward as go to guys.

The Defense Was Remarkable As Usual: Maryland really struggled to find itself on offense nearly the entire game. Rutgers frustrated the Terrapins with an aggressive and swarming defense, and only shot 38.5% for the game and an incredible 6-32 from three. That’s 18%! The defense that Rutgers fans have become accustomed to showed up tonight and knocked off another top ten team at the RAC. Rutgers has never beaten Maryland since the move to the Big Ten, but they played one of the best second halves of the season to do so. Rutgers went up 21 at one point and only let Maryland crawl back in in the last two minutes, when the game kind of got away from the Scarlet Knights mentally. Overall, it was a fantastic performance.

Is it enough? That’s the big question. Rutgers sits at 19 wins (18 on the NCAA sheet because the Caldwell game will be ignored) and they still only have one win on the road. Tonight was a special night and gave Rutgers every reason to watch the Selection Sunday show, but they can’t rest on their laurels now. I think they need one more win, either at Purdue or in the Big Ten Tournament to feel secure. March is full of madness and teams that are favored lose all the time. There are bid stealers. This season has been special, keep the pedal to the medal and find another win or two. Let’s go Rutgers.