Maryland comes into the Carrier Dome Monday night to face Syracuse in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup of two pretty similar teams. The Terrapins, a lot like the Orange, have a young roster and fairly tempered expectations this season. Additionally, both teams have played relatively similar schedules so far in terms of competition. However, unlike Syracuse, Maryland already has a blemish in its non-conference slate. St. Bonaventure shocked the Terps on Friday night in the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida. Outside of that loss though, Maryland’s inexperienced bunch has taken care of business. So without further to do, let’s breakdown everything you need to know about this Maryland team.
Coach: Mark Turgeon (7th year at Maryland: 138-68 overall)
Stony Brook: 76-61 W
Maryland Eastern Shore: 96-43 W
Butler: 79-65 W
Bucknell: 80-78 W
Jackson State: 76-45 W
St. Bonaventure: 61-63 L
New Mexico: 80-65 W
Last year: 6th seeded Maryland was bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament by 11th seeded Xavier.
Storylines to Watch:
Maryland’s stamina is truly going to be tested against Syracuse. Monday night marks the Terps third game in a measly four days. Mark Turgeon’s squad will have to use every ounce of its 8 man rotation in the Dome after traveling up from Florida on Sunday.
Point Guard Problem:
Maryland is still adjusting to life without its superstar point guard Melo Trimble. The Terps backcourt responsibilities now belong to Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter. Cowan is leading the team in scoring so far and has fared pretty well in the expanded role. However, the jury is still out on Huerter. After a strong freshman campaign, the added pressure has gotten to the talented sophomore a little bit. To put it in more relatable terms, he’s got an early diagnosis of the Frank Howard syndrome. But, Huerter has a more dynamic offensive game than Howard and is still someone to keep an eye on. He could catch fire at any time.
The inconsistent point-guard problem has led to Maryland’s true achilles heel this season: turnovers. In the Emerald Coast Classic, the Terps coughed the ball up a staggering 42 times in two games. On the season as a whole, Maryland is averaging roughly 17 turnovers a game, which ranks a dreadful 326th in the entire country. To make things even better for Syracuse, the Terps have struggled even more against zone defenses and presses so far this season. So expect Boeheim to go to the press early and often Monday night.
3 Point Shooting:
The Terps have been very inconsistent from downtown this season. On paper, Maryland has a good crop of shooters who can heat up at any point, especially the aforementioned Huerter who has been known to bust zones and went 7-11 from three in one game last season. However, that talent hasn’t quite translated into the strength many dreamed it would be coming into the season. That was very evident in Maryland’s alarming loss to St Bonaventure Friday. The Terps went an ice-cold 5-23 from deep against the Bonnies. With SU’s 2-3 zone pending Monday, Maryland is definitely going to get looks from downtown; whether the Terps make them or not could determine the outcome of the game.
Maryland and SU tip off at 7 PM Monday. As of Monday morning, Syracuse was 1 point favorites.
You can find all our live updates of the game @OrangeFizz on twitter.