Here are a few more keys to a Maryland victory, in addition to the game preview
1.) Pick up the pace
I got a chance to watch Boston College a few times this year, most recently against Miami, and one of the things they are notorious for is running down the shot clock. In Miami, one of the reasons that game’s outcome was decided on the last free throw was because the Eagles just passed the ball around until the last few seconds on every possession. With under two minutes to go in the game, neither team had even scored a single fast break point. The strategy is surprisingly effective, and I look for them to employ it against the Terrapins, too.
Maryland is going to need to try pushing the pace and getting the Eagles out of their comfort zone early, turning this into a track meet. Anderson is not the kind of player who will thrive in that style of play, and it will likely make the rest of the team feel similarly. Maryland stinks in the half court, so getting out of that kind of play is huge. It also means being careful with the transition passes that are being made, which might be a bad thing for the Terps…
2.) Diagnose the weakness early
Boston College is a team that simply struggles to put together a complete game night in and night out. It’s like they’re an old boat that’s just sprung a leak; they fill that hole up, and another one replaces it. Against North Carolina State, it was the 24 fouls they picked up that ended up costing them the game. Then against Miami, it was turnovers. In every game they play, they’re typically outrebounded.
In any event, the Terrapins need to diagnose which ailments the Eagles are suffering from early on so they can capitalize on it. Whether that means forcing them into taking midrange and long shots in order to scoop up rebounds, or causing them to foul Len down low early and often, it has to be figured out early and dealt with.
3.) Stay out of foul trouble
Maryland is relatively deep in the front court, but if there is one thing the Eagles know how to do it’s get to the foul line. Olivier Hanlan has some serious game, and fully understands that in order to score effectively, you have to get to the line. His 5.5 attempts per game don’t do him justice, because he’s close to averaging about seven or eight free throws per game. Against Miami, he had ten attempts and had he converted two more of them, the game would have been theirs.
Ryan Anderson is another guy who always seems to be at the line, averaging 6.4 free throw attempts per game. If he gets Alex Len into foul trouble early, that takes away perhaps the Terrapins biggest advantage (a seven footer down low who alters every shot). I don’t like Shaquille Cleare or Charles Mitchell in a one-on-one matchup with Anderson because of how fluidly he moves for a big man, and that could be trouble for the Terps.
Needless to say, they have to stay out of foul trouble in order to make this one a game.