Friar Basketball

What to Expect from Maryland

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To help get you prepared for the Friars big championship game tonight against Maryland, I caught up with David Tucker who covers the Terps for TestudoTimes.com. You can find his answers below. For more news on Maryland, leading up to the game, you can follow Tucker on Twitter @TestudoDave.

For additional coverage from St. Thomas, check out Kevin Farrahar’s article from earlier today by clicking here

1) Maryland enters tonight’s game with a 3-2 record, what has been your impressions of this team so far this season and specifically in the Paradise Jam?
So far this season, Maryland has been inconsistent as they’ve worked to adjust to life without their starting point guard, Seth Allen, who injured his foot prior to the season. Of particular concern was team defense, especially in the paint, where they’ve struggled to replace Alex Len’s defensive presence. So far in the Paradise Jam, Maryland seems to be a team playing with more confidence and with a much improved emphasis on defense. They’ve had stretches where you can start to see their full potential shine, but they really need to put two complete halves together, as they tend to struggle out of the gate.

2) Jake Layman is a familiar name for Friar Fans as Providence recruited him heavily. What can we expect to see from him tonight?
Jake has been by far Maryland’s most consistent player this season. He’s having a breakout type of year, after receiving a lot of hype this off season. He’s shooting .500 from beyond the arc and pretty regularly knocks down the open shot when given the opportunity. Head coach Mark Turgeon wants him taking between 14-17 shots per game and when he gets that many opportunities, he’ll normally put up between 15-20 points.

3) Like Providence, Maryland was picked to finish in the middle of the pack for their conference – Has their play thus far proven them better or worst than that selection?
At this point, probably worse. Maryland lost to UConn by one and played a close game at home in a loss to Oregon State, but most expected the team to have won at least one of those two games. As I said, they’ve struggled out of the gate as they try to find their most effective starting five, but appear to be getting on the right track.

4) Ed Cooley traditionally likes to play man to man but at times has brought out the zone, what defenses do the Terps typically excel against?
Maryland tends to struggle, somewhat, against the zone. They tend to play better when facing man defense. When Maryland has both Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman on the court, it presents nightmare match ups for the opposition. A zone defense tends to help control them and limit Layman’s outside scoring.

5) Who are you most concerned about on the PC roster for tonight’s game?
Probably Bryce Cotton. Seems like the go-to scorer, can rebound and distribute the ball to his teammates. I’m always scared of a senior guard who is a pretty complete player.

6) Who should Providence be most concerned about?
Probably Jake Layman, for all the reasons I mentioned above. But several Maryland players can hurt a team. It’s kind of a pick your poison. Dez Wells is great, Nick Faust had one of his best games Sunday, Evan Smotrycz had a great game, and Charles Mitchell is sneaky good at scoring and securing rebounds. But I’d be most worried about Layman, who multiple times this season has single-handedly started big Maryland runs by making quick three-point baskets.

7) Final prediction on the game.
I think this is a really close game as Providence will be the second best team Maryland has played this season. I think the Terps pull out a close win, thanks to their deeper bench, which could be the x-factor in a tournament situation like this. Maryland 73, Providence 71.

Game Info:
Location: St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Time: 10 PM
Television: CBS Sports Network
Radio: WEEI 103.7 FM
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Email Craig Belhumeur – craig.belhumeur@friarbasketball.com

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