Who: Maryland Terrapins (1-2) vs. Marist Red Foxes (0-4)
When: Friday, November 22, 7 p.m.
Where: Sports and Fitness Center, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Coaches: Mark Turgeon (3rd season) and Jeff Bower (1st season)
The Maryland Terrapins aren’t playing their best basketball as they come to the Paradise Jam tournament. The Terps are fresh off an 80-73 loss at the hands of Oregon State this past Sunday. Maryland didn’t have any semblance of interior defense and were dominated by Beavers big man Devon Collier (29 points & 11 rebounds).
The Terps have to look as this tournament as a business trip. They missed out on a pair of opportunities for resume-building wins during the first three games with losses to Connecticut and Oregon State. Assuming that Maryland can handle their business in their opening round game against the Red Foxes, they could see Providence, Vanderbilt, or La Salle at some point. If Maryland is able to win this tournament, it erases some of the negativity that surrounds the Oregon State loss.
Keys/Storylines To The Game:
1.) Roddy Peters starting at point guard - When point guard Seth Allen fractured his foot, guard Dez Wells assumed the duties as floor general and it didn’t get off to a good start. Wells struggled running the offense against Connecticut and Abilene Christian and many called for a change at the position. During last weekend’s contest against the Obama-affiliated Oregon State Beavers, freshman Roddy Peters ran the point and did so effectively to the tune of 10 points and six assists. Peters did everything that you’d expect of a point guard. He created dribble penetration and was able to get to the basket with relative ease. The Suitland product didn’t settle for jumpers, which is a great sign considering he isn’t a great shooter at this stage of his career. If the Terps want to roll to an easy win over Marist, Maryland’s freshman sensation will have to pick up where he left off on Sunday night.
2.) Box out – Mark Turgeon was not happy with Maryland’s defensive effort against Oregon State. While the Terps somehow out-rebounded the Beavers 39-32, they didn’t show any defensive intensity and failed to box out on a majority of loose rebound opportunities. Maryland just didn’t seem to adapt and play with much heart. Obviously, the Terps don’t have a rim-protecting big man that can play big minutes. If something would click for center Shaquille Cleare, he could potentially be a guy that could wreak havoc on the defensive glass. However, he has yet to show that he is worth the billing of being a top 50 recruit.
3.) Run the table at Paradise Jam – As was stated above, Maryland cannot afford to take this tournament likely. The Terps could use a few marquee wins at Paradise Jam and could get such wins in this tournament. If you’re a Terps fan, you really would like to see Maryland and Providence get to the championship game. That would set the stage for a very entertaining matchup of two potentially NCAA tournament bound teams.
Prediction: Maryland handles their business against Marist and wins by 20-plus points. I predict a big game from forward Evan Smotrycz.