As the Xavier Musketeers look for their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance with at least one win, we reached out to SB Nation’s Maryland Terrapins blog, Testudo Times, for everything you need to know about the Terps.
Big East Coast Bias: The Terps had identical records in the regular season this year and last year, yet it seems like they were talked about way more last season heading into March. What are some changes Maryland has endured since last season?
Testudo Times: First and foremost, Melo Trimble is the only player from last year's starting five who's still on the team as Rasheed Sulaimon, Jake Layman, Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone all left for the pros. The Terps start three freshmen. Anthony Cowan runs the point, Kevin Heurter plays on the wing and Justin Jackson plays the four. Michal Cekovsky, Maryland's 7'1 center is out for the season so Maryland plays a lot of small ball whereas last season, the Terps could play over defenses.
BECB: Obviously Trimble is a great player, but is there anyone else on Maryland that Xavier fans should be aware of? An X-Factor of sorts?
TT: It's tough to pick between Jackson and Huerter for this one. Huerter is one of — if not the — smartest player on the court at all times. He plays very good defense and has "in-the-gym range." Indiana's Tom Crean referred to him as the Terps' "1B" earlier this season. Jackson is Maryland's team-leader in rebounds and though he stands 6'7, he has a 7'3 wingspan. He's not a big body, but he's very long and can pull opposing power forwards out to the perimeter, where he knocks down a team-leading 43.1 percent of his 3-point shots.
BECB: What are some strengths and weaknesses Maryland possesses, as a team?
TT: Maryland plays very good team defense and has a better than average pick-and-roll offense. The Terps are also very good in close games — Trimble usually takes over, and is exceptional from the free-throw line. Maryland struggles (mightily) against zone defenses and tend to go cold from the field for long stretches of the game. Maryland was a smaller team before Cekovsky went down and now with him out, Damonte Dodd is the tallest player on the team at 6'11. Opposing offensively inclined big men have dominated in the post.
BECB: Finally, who do you think wins and why?
TT: Maryland has won a tournament game in 12 straight NCAA appearances dating back to 1998. I see the Terps pulling out a close game (like they've done all season) that comes down the final two minutes and winning 66-62.