Three things to watch
In a little less than five hours, Maryland will face its toughest test yet in this young season when it squares off against Cincinnati in the second round of the Maui Invitational. The Bearcats are athletic and physical, two traits the Terrapins have not seen in abundance in any of its opponents thus far. Here are some items worth keeping track of:
1) Battle of the boards. This will always be a critical issue for Maryland, but especially against a frontcourt as physically imposing as Cincinnati's. The Bearcats frontcourt consists of Yancy Gates (6-foot-9, 260 lbs.) and Steve Toyloy (6-foot-8, 255 lbs.). The Terrapins' ability to box out those two players may go a long way towards determining whether Maryland prevails.
2) Lance Stephenson. Ah, the one that got away. Maryland courted Stephenson back in the spring, but eventually stopped pursuing him for various reasons. Tonight, Maryland fans will get a chance to see their formerly-prized recruit in action. Stephenson is at his best when he's driving into the lane and creating his own shot. But he possesses a suspect handle and can be crowded into making mistakes out on the perimeter. If a Terrapins defender (say, Sean Mosley) can keep Stephenson moving east-to-west, Stephenson won't be nearly as effective as he otherwise would be.
3) Landon Milbourne. This sort of goes hand in hand with point No.1. Milbourne never fully engaged himself in the game last night against Chaminade. Against a Division II opponent, Maryland can get away with that. Against a Big East opponent that just took down a top 25 team, the Terrapins likely will not be afforded the same luxury. Milbourne needs to get involved on both ends of the court early on. If he can do that -- if he can be a factor on the boards and on the scoreboard -- then Maryland's chances of succeeding will increase dramatically.
November 24, 2009; 2:05 PM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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