Preview: Maryland basketball looks to bounce back vs. Rutgers

Maryland (10-4, 1-2) at Rutgers (10-4, 2-1)

When: 6:30 PM

TV: Big Ten Network; Jason Horowitz (pxp), Jess Settles (analyst)

Radio: 105.7 (Baltimore), 980 AM (DC)

Line: Rutgers -6

Maryland basketball got stomped out by the Michigan Wolverines on New Year’s Day thanks to a stellar performance by Hunter Dickinson (32 points, 12 rebounds). The Terps got exposed in every area. They weren’t physical enough on the boards, didn’t hustle for loose balls, couldn’t shoot the ball well at all, and their frontcourt found itself in foul trouble.

In the post-game presser, Terps head coach Kevin Willard blamed himself for the team’s performance. This was an ugly loss, and you couldn’t blame the staff if they decided to avoid looking at the film of that game. Willard said the film needs to be dissected to understand why the team has gotten off to these slow starts lately. The questions that remain are what are they going to do about it, and how will they bounce back?

They’ll have another tough test ahead of them with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on the road who are led by Clifford Omoruyi (14.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg), Cam Spencer (12.9 ppg, 44 percent perimeter shooter), Aundre Hyatt (10.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Caleb McConnell (10.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg).

Jahmir Young (14 ppg) has been the guy that the Terps can count on to make big plays this season, which is why he transferred to Maryland. Hakim Hart and Donta Scott are both averaging 12.6 ppg and have been steady performers as senior leaders in Kevin Willard’s first season. Last but not least, Julian Reese (10.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg), has been a bright spot as a starter in the frontcourt. The only thing that he needs to be careful of is foul trouble. It’s so easy for teams to exploit the Terps’ depth weakness when he’s not on the floor.

Omoruyi is a solid post player and rebounder who could be another challenge for a Terps’ frontcourt that lacks the depth to handle the physicality. Spencer is the Scarlet Knights best perimeter shooter and that could prove dangerous if he knocks them down at the right time.

Rutgers pulled off a major upset to start 2023 off right when they beat No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 65-64 and Spencer hit the game-winning three-pointer that sealed the victory. This was head coach Steve Pikiell’s 300th career win and their second straight win against a No. 1 team. Rutgers could be a team that surprises people in the Big Ten.

The Terps need a bounce-back game after the lackluster performance they had against Michigan. This could be the game that gives them the momentum they need. They have had the Scarlet Knights’ number on the road with a 6-2 record. Shooting the ball efficiently from the field, being physical on the boards, making the hustle plays and scoring in the paint are key components to a win.

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