Checking In With Maryland & Rutgers

JJ Moore had a career high 27 points against Houston - Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland seems to be gearing up for a run towards relevancy, while Rutgers is just fighting to stay afloat.

This past week was successful for our future brethren, with Rutgers going 1-1 and Maryland regaining their footing in the ACC with a 2-0 record. It was a week of exciting highs, like a Rutgers player scoring a career high in points, and an embarrassing week of lows, like a Maryland player being "suspended" from the starting lineup for missing a team breakfast. On a related note, who misses breakfast? Waffles, sausage, bacon, omelettes? Those are the best of the foods. I would have suspended the player for a week and banned him from the Belgian waffle station for the season, but that's just my old-school, Bob Knightesque coaching style kicking in. Ruefully I must say "enough about breakfast;" let's get into some basketball recaps.

Maryland

The Terps had a chance last week to gain some momentum heading into the toughest part of their schedule, since they played Miami and Virginia Tech who have been the dregs of the ACC this year. Consider some momentum gained, as Maryland won both games last week in two different styles. Their matchup with Miami, a 74-71 victory, was way closer than it should have been and also involved blowing a 10-point lead near the end of the game. Leading scorer Dez Wells, who was limited to zero points in the 1st half due to foul trouble, dropped 21 in the second half and salted away the victory with a three pointer with 5.9 seconds left. Wells didn't miss a shot all game, going 7-of-7 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line. He also added four rebounds, three assists, and two steals to his all around performance. Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman each added 15 points to pace the Terps while Wells sat on the bench in the first half. An 80-60 blowout win over Virginia Tech ended the week for Maryland but was marred by Breakfastgate. Wells didn't start for the first time all season because he missed a team breakfast earlier in the week and noted Internet columnists everywhere were dismayed, because breakfast is awesome. Despite missing the most important meal of the day, Wells was still able to register 19 points in the beatdown of the Hokies. Seth Allen starred for the Terps, scoring 16 points and adding seven assists and five boards. Maryland is at UNC and home against FSU this week in a set of crucial mid-conference battles that will help decide which direction the season is going for, really all three teams, but mostly Maryland.

Rutgers

Like Maryland, Rutgers had a chance to gain some momentum going into the toughest part of their schedule by playing the dregs of the AAC, Temple and Houston, but could only manage a split against the two bottom feeders. The Scarlet Knights started off the week losing 88-82 to a Temple team that was on the school's worst losing streak (eight games, including all seven they had played in conference) in 38 years. Rutgers trailed by 20 points at one point in the second half, but were able to battle back and at least lose respectably to the worst team in the conference. Kadeem Jack had 18 points and eight rebounds, while Junior Etou had 14 and five respectively. Rutgers fared far better in their second game of the week, blasting Houston 93-70. Senior forward JJ Moore scored a career high 27 points and added five rebounds and two steals in his most impressive performance of the season. Myles Mack added 25 points and six assists, while the reliable Jack had 16 points, six rebounds, and four blocks in the convincing Rutgers victory. The Knights hit the road for their next two games against #24 Memphis and South Florida.

This has been another week of Checking In With Maryland & Rutgers. As always, with any post written about Maryland, I'm obligated to say: don't go to College Park if you're a Duke fan...just don't.

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