Three things to watch
Later this evening, Maryland will host Winston-Salem State at Comcast Center in what should be a close affair right up until tip-off. Regardless, here are a few things to keep track of during tonight's game ...
1) Perimeter defense. Maryland's defensive effort was called into question by several players following an 11-point win Dec. 12 over Eastern Kentucky, which shot 47.8 percent from three-point range that night. Over their 10-day hiatus from competition, the Terrapins said the honed in on several components of their defense, and perimeter play neared the top of the list. Maryland is allowing opponents to shoot 36.0 percent from beyond the arc this season, which ranks No. 11 in the ACC (only Virginia, which is allowing foes to shoot 39.2 percent from three-point range, is worse).
"We got burned against Eastern Kentucky a little bit, which was an unusual team, but we’ll see that type of offense very quickly coming up here, so we have to be able to cover big people on the three-point line, as well as guards," Coach Gary Williams said. "All those Princeton-type offenses employ big people on the three-point line, so you have to be able to cover that."
Winston-Salem State does not run a Princeton-style offense, nor do the Rams shoot well at all from three-point range (28.0 percent), which means tonight would be appear to be a prime opportunity for the Terrapins to show some improvement in that regard.
2) Frontcourt rotation. To be clear, the frontcourt rotation you see tonight will not necessarily serve as any sort of indicator as to the frontcourt rotation Gary Williams will employ once ACC season begins. Still, given that junior forward Dino Gregory played 33 minutes Dec. 12 against Eastern Kentucky, while freshman forward Jordan Williams -- who has proven to be a capable contributor on both ends of the court -- played nine and fellow freshman big man James Padgett did not play at all, it is worth following how the minutes are doled out among those three players tonight.
3) Reserve guard play. Junior guards Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker have not played up to their potential thus far this season, and while one game will not cure their woes, it certainly could go a long way toward restoring some of their confidence in their respective offensive games. Look for Bowie and Tucker to get plenty of opportunities tonight to start the process of turning things around.
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