After a mildly disappointing three point loss against the defending national champion (although a very different iteration of them since their starting five left for the NBA), the Maryland Terrapins head home to face the Morehead State Eagles. The Eagles are a very different team than Kentucky, given that none of their players are particularly heralded as prize recruits, but that does not mean they are bereft of talent. The vast majority of their starting roster are seniors and juniors, and they are a hard working team that finished with 18 wins last season. They also have the potential to do something similar this year with the experiences they had last season.
Player to watch: Sr. Forward Milton Chavis
Chavis is one of the Eagles more talented players, and he proved that in their first outing where he scored 24 point against Long Island University – Brooklyn. That team is far from a stout opponent, but Chavis is still capable of doing similar things against any team. He is a 6’6, 215 lb forward who can hit threes and do some damage down low, and the Terrapins should keep a close eye on him to prevent him from heating up. If the Kentucky game can tell the Terrapins anything, it’s that defending the three point line is not their forte thus far. Any team that is lighting it up from outside will pose a threat, so if Chavis can heat up then the Terrapins will have a tough night ahead of them at home.
1.) Can Alex Len continue to dominate?
Len had a pretty beastly performance against Kentucky on a national stage, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds, to go along with three blocks. And that was against the top center prospect coming out of high school in the NCAA in Nerlens Noel. Against Morehead State, Len is not going to be facing any 7-footers, but he will go against guys who like to get physical down low. Last season, he struggled against opponents like that, but I’m not sure that will be the case this year. Either way, a monster performance against a weaker opponent means Len will be doing all the right things and will lend more credibility to the general consensus that he is a changed player from the timid guy he was last year.
2.) Can Maryland hit any jumpers?
Against Kentucky, one of the biggest reasons Maryland lost wasn’t because they played poorly, but rather because until the second half they couldn’t hit any shots. The Terrapins missed almost every jump shot they took in the first half, with Nick Faust and Pe’Shon Howard throwing up brick after brick. They may be able to get away with that for one game, but going against tougher opponents and doing that means the losses will pile up.
Faust and Co. need to help establish the inside-outside game by knocking down their shots. Their ball movement was just fine, but unfortunately the stroke wasn’t there. Having a good shooting night tonight will allay some Terrapin fans concerns about whether or not this team can shoot well enough to be as competitive as they would like.
Prediction: Maryland wins this one, but it’s close until the second half. MD – 88 – MS – 66