Basketball Preview: Maryland
Two teams look to get back on track after tough losses over the weekend. The Penn State Nittany Lion (12-12, 4-7 Big Ten) and No. 17 Maryland Terrapins (20-3, 8-2 Big Ten) face off at the Bryce Jordan Center on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
Penn State is on a two-game losing streak after their two-point loss to Rutgers on Saturday. After being down 35- 29 at half, Penn State rallied in the second half and fell just short. Overall, it was a rough day at the office for the Nittany Lions who felt the fatigue after the triple overtime game against Indiana on Wednesday. As for their opponents, the Terrapins were sitting at the top of the Big Ten standings before losing a close game against No. 23 Purdue.
Penn State is going to have a lot to handle on Tuesday with the Terrapins averaging 75.6 points a game this season. Defense is going to be critical in order for the Nittany Lions to control the boards. Penn State can not allow Maryland to get second chances especially if their shooting slump continues, they need every rebound they can get.
The Nittany Lions need to stop Trimble, who is averaging 17 points per game this season. Everything Maryland runs goes through him whether it is an off-screen for an open jumper or a pick and roll to give him space to operate. Penn State has to force the rest of the Maryland roster to make shots.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Nittany Lions need to bounce back from the abysmal offensive performance they displayed on Saturday. Freshman guard Tony Carr needs to wake up and focus. Even though he scored 17 points and went 11-13 from the free throw line, he missed point blank layups and made bad decisions throughout the game. Payton Banks has to have a better performance as well, coming off the bench due the lack of depth from the Penn State bench.
Head coach Pat Chambers is slowly transforming this Penn State team to have an identity. On the defensive side, their ¾ court pressure has taken this team to the next level in defense. It was very effective and either brought them back or kept them in the game when they played Indiana and Rutgers. Offensively for the Nittany Lions, four players are averaging in double figures (Shep Garner 12.5, Tony Carr 12.0, Payton Banks 11.9, Lamar Stevens 11.7) which shows when this team is focused, they have the capability and balance to keep up with other high scoring offenses in the NCAA.
As for the Terrapin freshman guard, Kevin Huerter could be a major X-factor coming into this game. He is averaging 8.7 points and is the second leading rebounder with almost five a game. Huerter could have a big game if the Nittany Lions make Trimble a non-factor.
Maryland comes into this game with a better record and a more well-rounded team. However, this does not mean Penn State does not have a chance to win this game. This game is going to depend on if Penn State can pressure Maryland to make some bad plays and if the multiple players can be in double figures. The Nittany Lions need to put the Indiana and Rutgers games behind them and focus on stopping this Maryland team. However, it may take longer than couple of days for them to get their bodies and minds back to the task at hand.
Prediction: Maryland 80 – Penn State 68
Carlos Flores is a Sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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