The Teams: Maryland Terrapins (15-5, 3-4 ACC) vs Florida State Seminoles (11-8, 3-3 ACC)
The Time: 8:00 PM ET
The Location: Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Florida.
TV/Radio: ESPN3, 105.7 FM
The Backstory: The Maryland Terrapins experienced their first real blowout of the year last Saturday against Duke, an 84-64 blowout that turned ugly late. Their sloppy play and lack of execution on the offensive end came back to bite them again, as they turned the ball over 14 times and failed to shoot over 41% from the floor. Alex Len had his first ACC game this season with fewer than ten points, and Dez Wells was the only starter to finish in double digits (he had 13). They also failed to stop Duke’s perimeter shooting, as the Blue Devils hit 11 three pointers against the Terrapins, six of which came from one player (Rasheed Sulaimon).
Meanwhile, the Florida State Seminoles are facing a similarly tough past. Since beating Maryand at Comcast earlier in the year, the Seminoles have lost three of their last four games. In their last outing at Miami, they were thumped for their second-worst loss of the season 71-47. During that game, only one of their players even hit double figures and
Despite their typically stingy defense, the Seminoles are struggling to keep teams below their scoring threshold all year. A significant home court advantage against a struggling Terrapins team might be the answer to that dilemma.
Keys to the game/Storylines
1.) Don’t let one player dictate the outcome of the game
Maryland has this unfortunate trend of allowing one player on the court to absolutely destroy them and put the game away. Against North Carolina, it was Reggie Bullock; against Duke it was Sulaimon. The last time they played Florida State, Okaro White scored 15 consecutive points for the Seminoles and sparked a comeback that put Maryland away. If the Terrapins want to have a modicum of success this season, it will be by recognizing when a player is heating up and throwing some ice water on the dude.
Michael Snaer, Okaro White, and Ian Miller are all capable of catching fire and changing the outcome of the game quickly, so Maryland would be wise to hone in on them every once in awhile. Of course, that’s a team effort and there can simply be no lapses on the defensive end in order to accomplish that. Every defender has to be sliding to help out the others.
2.) Composure on the road
Seriously, with around ten minutes left and Duke prepping for a big run, the Terrapins just gave up and lost all intensity. That sort of thing doesn’t happen to veteran teams; it happens to young bloods who feel as though basketball isn’t a game of runs. Now, Cameron Indoor is a demoralizing environment at times, but sometimes these young guys just have to harden the heck up.
News flash, Terps: Florida State will take the lead at some point and go on a run, their fans will jeer you for airballing a shot, and the stadium will be loud. Who cares? Play fundamentally sound basketball, quiet the crowd with well-executed plays, and get over it. Avenge the home loss by coming out strong in the same manner the Terrapins did against Duke.
Prediction: Maryland finally gets a road win against a struggling Florida State team that they desperately need, 71-65