Lost in all of the hullabaloo of yesterday’s announcement that the Maryland Terrapins will be making the move to the Big 10 conference in the summer of 2014 is the fact that the men’s basketball team has its third home game of the season tonight. For those of you who have had your fill of all the B1G news of the last 24 hours please enjoy this look at tonights matchup with the Leopards of Lafayette University.
Lafayette is a member of the Patriot League and is currently sitting at 1-3 on the young season. Their lone win came against the same LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds that Maryland took care of rather easily last Friday evening at the Comcast Center. Every other Leopards game this season has resulted in a double digit loss, including a 52 point drubbing by the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats. On paper this looks like a game that the Terrapins should roll rather easily in, but if Chaminade’s upset of Texas last night showed us anything it is that you cannot take any team lightly, regardless of their record. Here is a look at the particulars for tonight’s matchup.
The Teams: Lafayette Leopards (1-3) vs. Maryland Terrapins (2-1)
The Time: 8:00 PM
The Place: Comcast Center – College Park, Maryland
Television/Radio: Comcast Sportsnet (TV) and ESPN 980/92.7 FM (Radio)
Lafayette Player to Watch: Dan Trist
Trist sat out the Leopards last two games with an ankle injury but is far and away the Leopards best player. In the two games of the season Trist was 21/25 from the field shooting a scorching 84%. The 6’9″ big man from Australia is the focal point of the Leopards offense, the Maryland front line will need to make a concerted effort to force Trist into tough shots so that things don’t come as easily for him as they have in his first two games. The fact that Trist could be slowed by that ankle tonight plays to the Terrapins advantage as they should be able to impose their will both offensively and defensively on Lafayette.
Maryland Terrapins Player to Watch: Dez Wells
Wells had a breakout game against the Blackbirds of LIU-Brooklyn last Friday night and should be looking to continue to build off that success this evening against Lafayette. Wells gave Terrapins fans a taste of what he can bring this team after all of the fan fare that surrounded his quest to gain eligibility this season going off for 15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals in Maryland’s 91-74 win over LIU-Brooklyn. If Wells is cranking out stat lines like this throughout the rest of the regular season and into the postseason the Terrapins will be a force to be wreckoned with going forward.
Underlying Storyline: Is there any hangover from the Big 10 accouncement?
As we all know yesterday was a “watershed moment” for the University of Maryland and their athletic programs. The news that the Terrapins will be leaving their home for the past 59 years in the ACC for new digs in the Big 10 has left the fanbase divided. Many remember the glory days of the old ACC and regret the university’s decision to leave the conference they were a founding member of while others see the opportunity presented by the Big 10 as a positive and one that will be good for both the school and its athletics programs. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, there are certainly strong opinions and feelings had by all. The Terrapins need to make sure all of that is long forgotten by the time they take the floor tonight to avoid any potential let down. I don’t envision this being an issue as Mark Turgeon will assuredly have his team ready to compete but it will be interesting to see the general feeling in the arena tonight.
Maryland will prove to be too much on the inside and the outside for the Leopards to handle as they cruise to a comfortable 77-52 victory and move to 3-1 on the season.