- WHO: Maryland Terrapins
- WHEN: December 1st, 9:15 PM
- WHERE: Bryce Jordan Center
- TV: ESPN2
- LINE: PSU (-1)
- KenPom: Penn St (55%) – 70-68
- ENEMY BLOGS: Testudo Times, Turtle-Soup
This is probably the biggest non-conference home game PSU has had in the DeChellis era, which shows the softness of ED schedules since MD isn’t even ranked. It is nice to get a home game in the Big Ten-ACC challenge for the first time in 3 years. I also enjoy being the later game on the last day, because I like PSU having the chance to win the challenge for the conference.
If you remember, the Terrapins had a solid year last year and nearly defeated Michigan State in the NCAA tourney if it wasn’t for Korie Lucious. However, the main cause for MD’s success was the graduated Grevious Vasquez. In fact, the Terps lost 2 other starters from last year along with Vasquez – Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne. So there were apparent questions coming into the year, such as how do you replace Vasquez’s production? Gary Williams has inserted some veteran reserves who have stepped into bigger roles this year with decent results.
Maryland enters the game 5-2 on the year, but lost 2 close games to superior opponents. They lost to #3 Pittsburgh 79-70 and Illinois 80-76. In the Pittsburgh game, they got dominated on the boards (64% Reb% for Pitt) and Maryland missed over half of their 30 free throw attempts (14-30). Against Illinois, Maryland actually had the advantage on the glass and made 13-18 from the charity stripe, but they let Illinois hit 10-19 from deep and didn’t force any turnovers.
Jordan Williams is well on his way to a breakout campaign, averaging 17.4 PPG and 11.9 RPG. How PSU defends him will probably be the key to the game. There’s been some debate about Andrew Jones’ ability, so here’s his chance to make a statement defensively. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see some zone looks if things get out of hand. Unfortunately, PSU does not have the frontcourt depth to hack him all night and put his 56% FT percentage at the line. Maryland has 4 upperclassmen starters alongside the sophomore. Cliff Tucker has been the 2nd option offensively for the Terps, scoring 13.8 PPG. He can score from inside or outside. The other starters are Adrian Bowie, Dino Gregory, and Sean Mosley, the latter of which is the only other returning starter for the Terps. They have a deeper bench than PSU, but it is mostly comprised of true freshmen. Former PSU target Terrell Stoglin is the Terps’ backup point.
This game could go either way. Penn State could come out shooting like they did against Furman and really put some pressure on the Terps. It would also really help if Jordan Williams got in foul trouble, but PSU is nowhere near aggressive enough inside on offense to accomplish that. However, if PSU’s shot is off and Jordan Williams commands the paint, things will certainly be in MD’s favor. I really gotta echo coach Preston’s comments – the Lions are going to need to defend and rebound, two things that were lacking in Mississippi. I think PSU will be able to put up some points, but unless they can stop the Terps, it probably won’t matter.
This is one of just 2 games left (@ VT) on the non-conference slate for the Nittany Lions to boost their resume. A win tonight would go a long ways toward that NCAA bid.
|#12 Talor Battle – 6’0″ Sr||G||#1 Adrian Bowie – 6’2″ Sr|
|#23 Tim Frazier – 6’0″ So||G||#14 Sean Mosley – 6’4″ Jr|
|#15 DJ Jackson – 6’7″ Sr||F||#24 Cliff Tucker – 6’6″ Sr|
|#25 Jeff Brooks – 6’8″ Sr||F||#33 Dino Gregory 6’7″ Sr|
|#22 Andrew Jones – 6’9″ Sr||C||#20 Jordan Williams – 6’10″ So|
Jordan Williams scares me. Usually in tight matchups like these, I go with the team that has the inside advantage. That would be Maryland. Hopefully I’m wrong and Maryland chokes away the game at the foul line, but if I was a betting man, I’d take the Terps to win 72-64. Really looking forward to a great student crowd, though (hopefully).