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Studying Up On The Competition

Maryland followers should cheer for John Beilein's Michigan squad as if it was their own for the remainder of the season, because with each Wolverine victory, Maryland's triumph on Dec. 3 looks all the more impressive. Michigan already had beaten UCLA before the Terps played them, and then Saturday night, the Wolverines knocked off Duke. If Michigan's bandwagon grows exponentially over the next few months, it should be in large part because of all the Terps fans that are falling over themselves to hop on.

But Maryland fans should be thankful for the Wolverines in an entirely different regard, as well. In the past two games, junior forward Landon Milbourne has played some outstanding basketball, which is noteworthy because of how much he had been struggling previously. After Sunday night's win over George Washington, I asked Milbourne what helped him turn the corner, and he attributed his recent success, in part, to watching film of other players around the country that are roughly his size that also play the power forward position, namely Michigan junior forward DeShawn Sims.

"I just looked at how they made moves and how they played defense, and I tried to kind of copy that in the games," Milbourne said. "And it's been working out for me so far. I'm just going to keep my energy up and stay focussed. Before we played Michigan, I watched DeShawn Sims play. He's about the same size as me, and he's real well in the post. And when (Michigan) played Duke (Saturday) night, I kind of watched how he moved and things like that."

Sims is 6-foot-8, 235-lbs., so while he is an inch taller and about 30 lbs. heavier than Milbourne, they are somewhat comparable size-wise, at least in terms of height. Like Milbourne, Sims also moved from playing out on the wing last season into the post this year. He is averaging 16.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Milbourne, meantime, is averaging 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

By Steve Yanda  |  December 9, 2008; 1:57 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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