Less than 10 miles away from his former professional home at the Verizon Center, Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan returns Wednesday night to the site of a near-upset from 2015.
This time, however, No. 3 Maryland is an even strong team and Rutgers has more questions of its own because of injuries.
Rutgers is without three of its big men and could be without a fourth in freshman Jonathan Laurent suffered a head injury against Wisconsin and did not practice Tuesday.
With whatever players Jordan has available, he emphasized three facets in practice.
“Our half-court defense has to improve and be more physical,” Jordan said. “They have to give help. Our transition defense can’t give anything easy. Those are three important things that we have to do – offensive execution and discipline, make sure we’re back because we’re small and making sure we can defend the post because we’re small.”
Jordan and Rutgers (6-8) battle for the third time against Terp star guard Melo Trimble. Jordan watched Trimble in high school during time at DC Assault.
Trimble averages 15.1 points and six assists per game this season. He recorded 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists on 6-of-22 shooting in two wins over Rutgers last season.
“He’ll probably say he’s No. 1 and I wouldn’t argue that either,” Jordan said on where Trimble stands among college point guards. “Just what he does for the team, jeez. He drives, he kicks, he dimes, he’s big, he can set the offense, he makes threes in clutch situations, he gets to the free-throw line. He has the entire package for a point guard.”