Head Coach: Mark Turgeon
Location: College Park, MD
Conference: B1G 10
Nickname: Terrapins, Terps
KenPom rank: 35
Point Spread: Maryland by 10
Last time Nebraska has played the same team on consecutive days: @Hawaii - Dec 2-3, 1976
Last time Nebraska has played the same conference opponent on consecutive days: Iowa St - March 4-5, 1921 (Missouri Valley Conference)
Last time Nebraska has played the same team twice in a row, non-consecutive days: Baylor - March 7th and March 11th, 2009
Players to watch: Donta Scott
The 6'7" 230# sophomore post player operates as either the 4 or the 5 for this Maryland team that lacks a true center. Scott leads the team in blocks and rebounds and is 3rd in scoring. A three level bucket maker, Scott is shooting 46% from 3, 58% from 2, and 70% from the FT line
Not counting off-injured 7'2" center Chol Marial, Maryland doesn't have a player over 6'9" 235#. However, they are KenPom's #16 team in average height due to their length at all other positions. Maryland typically deploys a lineup where everyone is 6'5" or taller
- Wiggins is their bucket getter, taking the highest percentage of shots by a decent clip when out on the court. Not hitting from anywhere above an average % other than the FT line
- Eric Ayala is a ball handler hitting from a decent percentage outside
- Morsell is one of Maryland's best defenders and a 'glue guy'. Shares ball handling duties with Ayala. Not a great outside shooter
- Hart has been in and out of the starting lineup. Knifing player who can get to the rim.
- Boston College transfer 6'8" 235# PF Jairus Hamilton allows Maryland to roll out multiple forwards capable of hitting from outside. While the junior is providing shooting off the bench, he's not doing a ton in terms of rim protection or rebounding
- Alabama PF transfer Galin Smith provides rim protection and rebounding but is seeing limited minutes as his lack of outside shooting and propensity for fouls makes him a fish out of water.
- Freshmen combo guards Aquan Smart or Reese Mona might see a few minutes if anyone gets in foul trouble. Look for Nebraska to attack them immediately on offense if they're on the court.
It was either Penn St or Maryland in the conference who got screwed over the most by the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA tournament as Maryland and oft-embattled coach Mark Turgeon seemed on their way to a 2 or 3 seed. With do-everything PG Anthony Cowan graduating, center "Stick" Smith leaving for the NBA, plus some transfers out of the program, Maryland finds themselves rebuilding and Turgs once again with a warm seat.
This Maryland team with no true point guard and no dominant center seems like another favorable matchup for Nebraska, who has the height and flexibility at all positions to match up with the Terp's positionless roster. Maryland is primarily a half court offensive team working towards an open 3pt shot. The key for Nebraska defensively will be to not overhelp as the Terrapins will patiently work off the ball for open shots. How much are the Huskers willing to concede in the paint defensively in order to defend to 3pt line?
Maryland packs the lanes and typically defends without fouling, practically a necessity given their lack of depth. Look for Nebraska to take some long 3s early as they loosen up the defense to get to the rim. I know Nebraska is playing a ton of games but they'd love nothing more than to get into a running game with this Maryland team to exchange easy buckets.
At the end of the day it feels like the next two days will boil down to 3pt shooting contests, especially for Maryland who seems to win or lose depending on which side of 35% from outside they're on. Nebraska gives up a ton of 3s but teams are shooting poorly from 3 against them in what can be a luck based metric. Feels like Nebraska and Maryland will split these games. Who gets first?
Prediction: Maryland 68 - Nebraska 64