Four Storylines For Maryland/Bowie State


Jan 29, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard/forward Dez Wells (32) pumps his fist as he runs of the court during the second half at Comcast Center. Maryland Terrapins defeated Miami Hurricanes 74-71. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After last week’s 33-point victory over San Francisco State, Maryland will host Bowie State on Saturday for their second and final exhibition game before the regular season kicks off. Building off of their first win, what does Maryland need to improve? Can they show repeat performances? Here are four storylines that will help give Maryland fans a better understanding of what to look for as the Terps prepare for the season?

  • Will the hot shooting stay hot?

In last Saturday’s win, Maryland shot 54.5 percent from the field, including 51.9 percent from beyond the arc. Coming into the season, fans knew that with the addition of the trio of freshman guards as well as transfer Richaud Pack, scoring would come much easier to this team. The key is sustaining that hot shooting, forcing opponents to stretch the floor, and guard tighter. Guards Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley put on a show last week, shooting a combined 53.8 percent. It’ll be interesting to see if Maryland will be able to continue at such a torrid pace. Very rarely will a team will shoot over 50 percent from three over the course of a season, but how will the Terps adapt if the shots are not falling?

  • Will Dez Wells score more or remain the assist man?

This can go hand-in-hand with poor shooting. Everyone knows what Dez Wells can do. When a team shoots the way they did last week, Wells won’t have to be relied on as much. However, his ability to get inside the paint and break down a defense inside can make this team so much more scary on offense. Last week, Wells scored 10 points in 21 minutes, but “aggressive Dez” was not in full display. Instead, Wells looked to get his teammates more involved and help facilitate an offense, showing his leadership. Wells tied for a game-high with five assists, but Wells definitely could show more of his offensive game. The senior wing can score, and an offense with Wells hitting on all cylinders with a great shooting team like Maryland is fun to watch and will win ballgames.

  • Can the Terps remain dedicated to defense?

Heading into the Big Ten, Maryland must remain dedicated to the defensive side of the ball. In a much more defensive conference, Maryland will have to make stops defensively in order to win games because things will get much tougher offensively against teams like Indiana, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. In the San Francisco State exhibition, Maryland forced the Gators to shoot just 31 percent from the field in the game, including a 24.1 percent field goal percentage in the second half. Forcing their opponents into tough stops, Maryland will need to continue their defensive dominance in order to build momentum heading into their tougher opponents this year. The guards played exceptionally well defensively, and with young guys leading the way, I look to see whether Maryland can continue their stifling defense against Bowie State.

  • Will a big man step up offensively?

Sophomore Damonte Dodd and freshman Michal Cekovsky did a good job providing Maryland with an interior presence. Dodd had five blocks and three rebounds to Cekovsky’s two rebounds, but offensively, there is still a lot to be desired. The two combined for just two points on one-of-three shooting. The Big Ten has an abundance of efficient, back-to-the-basket scorers that are just as good defensively. Dodd and Cekovsky need to build on their first game and grow quickly, or Maryland will quickly give their opponents an easy blueprint to beat them. It should be noted this was Cekovsky’s first collegiate basketball game, so do not panic too much. As most bigs do, it takes time to get acclimated to the different pace and style of the college game. Take Alex Len for example. Len struggled at times during his freshman year, and was extremely raw. Nonetheless, Maryland will need to force the ball inside more and allow the two young, raw big men an opportunity to build their confidence and momentum as the season progresses. This is an exhibition game and the result is not the biggest takeaway. It’s about fine-tuning and making adjustments to prepare for the season, and these two especially need to do just that.