A Rutgers beat writer previews the Scarlet Knights ahead of their matchup with Maryland

Forward Jalen Smith goes for a layup in Maryland men's basketball's 82-72 win over Iowa on Jan. 30, 2020 at Xfinity Center. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

After an impressive 10-point victory over Iowa, Maryland vaulted up to No. 9 in the AP Top 25. The Terps will put their four-game winning streak and perfect home record on the line when the Rutgers Scarlet Knights come to town Tuesday night. Ahead of Maryland and Rutgers’ first meeting of the year, we reached out to Jake Schmied of The Daily Targum. Our conversation has been lightly edited.

In Steve Pikiell’s first three seasons as Rutgers’ head coach, the Scarlet Knights never finished over .500. This season, Pikiell looks to have Rutgers seemingly headed for the NCAA tournament. What has changed from his first three seasons to this one?

Since Pikiell’s arrival, the Knights have been continuing to develop each year. This year is representative of how much progress the team has made since Year 1 of his tenure, and serves to show how much potential the squad has for the near future.

Rutgers does not have that “guy” who sticks out on the box score. Who should Terps fans watch out for and why?

Myles Johnson and Jacob Young have both shown just how much of an impact they can have on any single game. Johnson carries a very large presence on the boards, while Young has the ability to jump-start an offense.

Much like Maryland, Rutgers has won every game at home but struggled on the road. What’s the difference between the Rutgers team when playing at the RAC and on the road?

The home-court advantage that the Knights have at the RAC cannot be understated. Rutgers fans have been waiting for a very long time to have a team like this year’s capable of making the NCAA Tournament.

What personnel matchup excites you the most about this matchup?

The Jalen Smith-Myles Johnson matchup will be very interesting to watch. Both players have shown their abilities to compete at high levels this season.

Rutgers wins if…

Geo Baker brings a strong offensive performance. He has not been himself following his recent injury.

Maryland wins if…

They win the rebounding battle and contain Johnson.

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