Rutgers center Clifford Omoruyi dunks against Seton Hall during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Prudential Center, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Rutgers is a 25-point home favorite over Maine on Thursday
Rutgers has not play since Dec. 12 because of COVID-19 concerns
A look at the odds and matchup can be found below with a prediction
Rutgers takes the floor for the first time in over two weeks when it hosts Maine at 1:00 p.m. ET Thursday at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway, N.J.
Rutgers (5-5/5-1 home) last played Dec. 12 and lost at then-#23 Seton Hall 77-63, the Scarlet Knights’ fifth defeat in their last seven games a 3-0 start. Rutgers has since had three games postponed or cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns.
Maine (3-7/0-5 road) has lost five of its last six games, including dropping a 49-47 decision to visiting Merrimack on Dec. 21.
In a game that will be televised by the Big Ten Network, Rutgers is a prohibitive favorite.
Maine vs Rutgers Odds
Over 121.5 (-110)
Under 121.5 (-110)
Odds as of December 30th at FanDuel.
Maine has one of the worst offensive teams in the nation. The Black Bears are 356th of 358 teams in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency with 84.3 points per 100 possessions.
Maine also does not have any players with scoring averages in double figures.
Sophomore guard Vukasin Masic has been Maine’s best player in his first season since transferring from Hofstra. Masic is averaging 9.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game.
DEEP 3 from Vukasin Masic for a double digit Maine lead #BlackBearNation #AEhoops pic.twitter.com/80rjBsSZxr
— Maine Men’s Basketball (@MaineMBB) November 12, 2021
Junior guard LeChaun DuHart has a 7.5 scoring average.
Junior forward Stephane Ingo, Maine’s second-leading scorer, has missed the last six games with a broken wrist. He has averages of 7.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots.
DuHart scored 10 points in the loss to Merrimack, the third time he had reached double figures in the last four games. Sophomore guard Adefolarin Adetogun also had 10 points, his second double digit output of the season.
DuHart sticks his third triple of the afternoon – LeChaun now with 11 points on the day#BlackBearNation | #AEHoops pic.twitter.com/xp7UvJCi2A
— Maine Men’s Basketball (@MaineMBB) December 11, 2021
Maine shot just 37.8% (17 of 45) from the field and 27.8% (5 of 18) from three-point range. While the Black Bears held Merrimack to 30.9% (17 of 55) overall and 16.7% (3 of 18) on threes, Maine forced just four turnovers.
Merrimack’s Mikey Watkins made a three with 34 seconds left for what turned out to be the game’s final points. Maine missed two three-point tries in the closing seconds that could have won the game.
The Black Bears have yet to beat a Division I opponent this season.
Unlock College Football Bowl Game Bonus With the Caesars Sportsbook Promo Code
Senior wing Ron Harper Jr. has taken advantage of the NCAA granting players an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic.
In his fifth season at Rutgers, the son of the former NBA star is averaging 15.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Harper has also been consistent, scoring in double figures in nine of 10 games.
Sophomore center Clifford Omoruyi has emerged as the Scarlet Knights’ top inside player with 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds a game.
Clifford Omoruyi put on a dunking clinic for @RutgersMBB last night! ✍️ pic.twitter.com/FQewQSrMn6
— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) November 11, 2021
Senior guard Geo Baker, another fifth-year player, has averaged 11.2 points and 3.7 assists. He returned to action for the loss to Seton Hall after missing five games with a hamstring injury and contributed 11 points.
Senior guard Caleb McConnell had a fine game in a losing effort with 13 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. It was the first double-double of the season for McConnell, whose 2.3 steals a game ranks 17th in the country.
McConnell has scored in double digits in three of the last four games after failing to do so in any of the first six games.
Omoruyi added 13 points and six rebounds and Harper chipped in with 10 points and three steals.
The loss to the Pirates came three days after Rutgers stunned then-#1 Purdue at home on Harper’s 40-footer at the buzzer.
HALFCOURT SHOT AT THE BUZZER TO BEAT THE NO. 1 TEAM
Ron Harper Jr. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/WuIe4mOWeh
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) December 10, 2021
While the Scarlet Knights have that big win on their resume, they have also lost to Massachusetts, DePaul and Lafayette.
Maine vs Rutgers Prediction
Rutgers beat Maine 70-55 in 2018-19 at home in the teams’ last meeting as McConnell had 14 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Rutgers is having a disappointing season so far, the upset of Purdue notwithstanding. However, Maine has spent the season playing like it has been trying to shoot a square basketball into a round basket.
Look for the Scarlet Knights, despite the layoff, to roll.
The Pick: Rutgers -25 (-110)