Maryland guard Eric Ayala (5) goes up for a shot against Rutgers guard Geo Baker during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
- Maryland (13-10, 7-9 Big Ten) battles Rutgers (12-8, 8-8 Big Ten) on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 3pm ET
- The Terrapins have won three in a row for the first time in conference play, while the Scarlet Knights have dropped two of three
- The odds for the game, as well as matchup analysis and a pick, can be found in the article below
With just three weeks and a handful of games left in the regular season, college basketball teams are shifting their focus to tournament play. Sunday’s matchup between Maryland and Rutgers (tip off at 3pm ET) is a big one in that regard, because it could help determine which team gets to host a conference tournament game and which one doesn’t.
Maryland has been hotter of late, winning three in a row. But Rutgers has faced stiffer competition, falling to #11 Iowa and #3 Michigan in the past week and a half. Here’s a look at the odds:
Maryland vs Rutgers Odds
|Maryland||+4 (-110)||N/A||Over 129 (-110)|
|Rutgers||-4 (-110)||N/A||Under 129 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb. 20th
How They’ve Fared Recently
The Terrapins’ three-game win streak is probably exciting for those inside the program, but on closer inspection it’s not terribly impressive. First they beat Minnesota at home by 13 points, which is admittedly pretty impressive.
But the other two wins — also both at home — came against Nebraska, who has beaten just one NCAA Division I opponent since the second week of December. So, not exactly Earth-shattering.
Jairus is playing his best ball rn. Last two games:
Learn his name, man. pic.twitter.com/v9TK9LhzhV
— Maryland Basketball 🐢 (@TerrapinHoops) February 19, 2021
Maryland is a solid shooting team (52.5% effective shooting percentage, 69th in D-I) that shoots a lot of threes (42.9% of field goal attempts, 51st in D-I) and doesn’t rebound well on the offensive glass (21.8%, 318th in D-I).
In its past seven games, Rutgers is 5-2, but it just so happens that two of those losses came recently. We can somewhat excuse the beatdown against Iowa on Feb. 10 (79-66) and the loss on Thursday to Michigan (71-64), because those are two of the conference’s toughest teams — and both matchups came on the road.
🏀🗣 | TOP 3 PLAYS OF THE GAME
2/13/21 • Rutgers – 64 | Northwestern – 50
— Rutgers Basketball 🏀 (@RutgersMBB) February 15, 2021
Otherwise, the Scarlet Knights have put together a solid little run in the latter half of the season, including a 14-point win over Northwestern last weekend. In that game, the Scarlet Knights were uncharacteristically effective from the foul line (14-of-16, 87.5%).
They rank 339th in D-I with a 61.6% free throw percentage, and they were right back to that level (11-of-18, 61.1%) most recently against Michigan.
Maryland is 9-13 against the spread, with a 4-4 ATS road record. The Terrapins have failed to cover in five of their past seven games, including a loss in their only road game of that span. And the under has hit in six of their past eight.
— Rutgers Basketball 🏀 (@RutgersMBB) February 16, 2021
Rutgers is 10-9-1 ATS, which includes a 6-5-1 ATS mark at home. They’ve covered in consecutive games — and five of their past seven — while seeing the under hit in five of six.
Remember what we mentioned earlier about Maryland shooting a lot of threes? They live and die by the long-range shot — and earlier this year against Rutgers, they died by it. Maryland shot 4-of-20 (20%) from 3-point range in a 74-60 loss as 2.5-point home favorites. Yikes.
Rutgers has covered three times in a row ATS and four of five against Maryland dating back to February 2018. We like the Scarlet Knights to keep trending positively ATS (both this season and versus Maryland), and the under is a compelling pick as well.
Pick: Rutgers -4 (-110); Under 129 (-110)
Jordan Horrobin is a sports journalist whose MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA work has appeared in outlets such as The Athletic, MLB.com, the Detroit Free Press and more. He is currently based in Toronto, also working as a contributor for Forbes.com and a freelance editor for Sportsnet.