Maryland Basketball VS Abilene Christian Preview


Nov 8, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Ryan Boatright (11) drives around Maryland Terrapins forward Charles Mitchell (0) at Barclays Center. Connecticut Huskies won 78-77. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Maryland Terrapins (0-1) vs Abilene Christian (0-2)

When: Wednesday, November 13th at 7 pm

Where: Comcast Center

Coaches: Mark Turgeon (3rd season) and Joe Golding (3rd season)

The Backstory:

The Maryland Terrapins head home after departing from their least favorite spot with another loss: Barclay’s Arena. For the second straight year, Maryland dropped a game to a ranked opponent in Brooklyn, N.Y. to start the season. Worse still, they did it in dramatic fashion yet again with another one-point loss. Dez Wells missed two potential game winning shots, and the Terrapins started disastrously slow en route to a 78-77 loss to the #18 Connecticut Huskies.

Meanwhile, Abilene has started off the year getting pummeled first by Duquesne 94-75, then by St. Bonaventure 75-47. The Wildcats haven’t looked too good in their return to Division I basketball (and, conversely, their return to the Southland Conference). Head coach Joe Golding got them to 12 wins last season, but that may be a struggle this year as the team lacks a fair amount of talent.

For Maryland, this will be a chance to correct some wrongs committed against the Huskies. For Abilene, this might mean a relatively poor 0-3 start, but an opportunity to go up against a very strong program in a rich recruiting area.

Fun Facts About Abilene:

  • The Wildcats have won a combined 62 team national championships, 57 of which were as NCAA members. That puts them behind only UCLA, USC, Stanford, and Kenyon College.
  • Their head coach, Joe Golding, was also a player at Abilene Christian.
  • The Wildcats have eight transfer players on their roster

Why You Should Watch:

1.) Maryland will get a win in something

With football facing their own woes and the Terps basketball team starting the season off in an oh-s0-familiar manner, this one is an exceedingly winnable game. The Wildcats are small, only have two players shooting over 37% from the floor, and probably turn it over more times than the Terps do.

The team doesn’t need a win desperately, but they’ll get one here, and don’t you want to be around for the first win of the season?

2.) The pecking order will be established.

This Maryland team is largely the same as last year (subtract Len and add Smotrycz), but there is still a need to establish a bit of a pecking order for the beta dog to Wells alpha. Nick Faust has shown some major aggressiveness early on, and while he didn’t shoot incredibly well, has started to take advantage of his ability to work the floor. Meanwhile, Layman also seems to be vying for that role as well. With Smotrycz and Charles Mitchell doing the same, someone is going to step up and be that guy.

Or it could be Varun Ram

3.) Varun Ram

He’s probably going to get minutes and, come on, we all want to see him.

4.) Can Maryland guard the perimeter?

Abilene Christian likes to take a good amount of three pointers, and Maryland has tended to struggle for the past two seasons against teams that like to do that. For the Wildcats to win, they have to exploit that weakness. Led by Ladarrien Williams, Harrison Hawkins, and Austin Cooke, the Wildcats may stay in this one if they choose to hit a bunch of three pointers. They won’t get anything going down low, though, as their biggest guy who actually gets minutes is a shade over 6’7 (Cooke).

Prediction: Maryland wins handily, and also turns the ball over a bunch in the first half. Layman scores 20 this game, too.