The Teams: Maryland Terrapins (18-7, 6-6 ACC) vs Boston College Eagles (11-14, 3-9 ACC)
The Time: 9 PM EST
The Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
TV/Radio: ESPN3, 105.7 FM
The Backstory: The Maryland Terrapins look to extend their momentum on the road after a thrilling last-second victory over Duke last Saturday. The Terps, led by Alex Len and Seth Allen, took down the #2 team in the country 83-81 in College Park. Len led the charge with 19 points and 9 rebounds and Seth Allen hit two clutch free throws to secure the victory, but it was a team effort that beat Duke. The Terrapins outrebounded the Blue Devils and connected on most of their free throws in order to come away with a much-needed signature win.
The hope is that this momentum will continue despite playing on the road (where they have won one lone game against a miserable Virginia Tech team.) The last time the Terrapins beat a ranked team earlier this season in N.C. State, they went on to lose three of their next four games and found themselves on the outside of the tournament bubble looking in. This time, they go up against another struggling Boston College team that they had previously beaten.
The Eagles are having a bit more problems than the Terrapins. Despite playing solid basketball (six of their nine ACC losses have come by five points or less), Boston College can’t seem to seal the deal at the end of games. Losers of two of their last three, with the most recent coming against Florida State by three points, the Eagles are certainly hungry for revenge against the Terrapins. In their last meeting, Maryland blew the Eagles off course (and the court) with a 64-59 victory that wasn’t really that close to begin with.
Sophomore forward Ryan Anderson has scored in double figures in 17 of his last 18 games, including 16 straight, and he has recently gotten some help from freshman stud Olivier Hanlan. Hanlan, who is in contention for ACC Rookie of the Year, dropped 19 against Florida State in their last outing. The two of them will need to have one of their biggest games yet if they hope to come away with a victory.
Keys to the Game/Storylines:
1.) What role with Pe’Shon Howard have?
Pe’Shon Howard was suspended during the victory against Duke for the Terrapins, and it was clear that his calming presence was sorely missed. Maryland turned it over a season high 27 times, and Seth Allen, as brilliant as he was, made some crucial errors down the stretch that perhaps an older player would not have made.
It’s clear that Howard is on the poo-poo list of head coach Mark Turgeon, and it remains to be seen what his role on the team is going to be. When he doesn’t play, the offense scores significantly more points, but turns the ball over more. When he does play, the offense scores less but definitively takes care of the ball a bit better. In what capacity Pe’Shon will be utilized remains to be seen, but it’s no secret the Terrapins could use him at the point guard position.
2.) Lensanity III?
During ACC play, Alex Len hasn’t had many games that have caused opponents to shudder at the thought of him doing that same thing every game. Against Duke, however, he had one of those games that makes you wonder if he has turned the corner and had a coming out party of sorts. His 19 points and 9 rebounds weren’t necessarily eye-popping, but the manner in which he scored those points was.
Len played gritty on offense and defense, and didn’t shy away from contact the entire game. He completely dominated a star in Mason Plumlee, and imposed his will on Duke the entire night while also limiting his turnovers. His ability to do that again (and on the road) will likely dictate whether or not the Terrapins can go streaking for the second time this season.
Prediction: The Terrapins clean up, showing the same fortitude they had on the road at Virginia Tech, in Chestnut Hill. Another victory closer to the tournament.