What to Expect: Maryland

  • 03/13/2015 11:13 am in

Indiana and Maryland will meet for a third time this season later today in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament at the United Center in Chicago. The Hoosiers snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday night with a 71-56 win over Northwestern while the Terrapins come to the Windy City as the No. 2 seed riding a seven-game winning streak.

The game will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. ET on BTN with Eric Collins and Bill Raftery on the call:

CHICAGO — Indiana avoided the nightmare scenario of a loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament that would have sealed an N.I.T. bid for the Hoosiers. But there’s still work to do if IU doesn’t want to sweat it out two days from now on Selection Sunday as a win over Maryland, a top 10 team in the RPI, would lock up an NCAA tournament bid.

Of the teams who finished ahead of Indiana in the Big Ten standings, Maryland is the team these Hoosiers played the toughest. Indiana routed Maryland, 89-70, back on Jan. 22 in Bloomington and took the Terps down to the wire before falling 68-66 on Feb. 11 in College Park.

Now a rubber match is set up and both teams have plenty to play for as Indiana is still fighting for its NCAA tournament life and Maryland is looking to climb even higher up the seeding hierarchy.

MEET THE TERRAPINS (Note: Statistics are for conference games only)

Much like Indiana, Maryland’s strength lies in its backcourt with freshman Melo Trimble and senior Dez Wells. Trimble was All-Big Ten first team as selected by the media and Wells replaced Trimble on the coaches All-Big Ten first team.

The bread and butter of Trimble’s game is getting to the foul line as his free throw rate (FTA/FGA) in Big Ten play was 62.1 percent and he knocked down 105 of his 123 attempts from the stripe. He also ranked 12th in the conference in assist rate but made just 42.9 percent of his 2s and 36.7 percent of his 3s which magnifies the importance of keeping him out of the lane and off of the foul line.

Wells, meanwhile, is a fantastic defender who does a little bit of everything offensively. Like Trimble, he can get to the line, as evidenced by his 48.2 percent free throw rate. Wells can also hit the offensive glass (6.5 OR%) and distribute the ball. His assist rate of 25.5 percent was 10th best in the league and he also hit 48.6 percent of his 3s. Here’s a look at his conference-only shot chart, via Shot Analytics:

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The rest of the Maryland backcourt is a mixed bag in terms of production. Senior Richaud Pack is a low usage option but knocked down 35.7 percent of the 42 3s he attempted in league play. Freshman Dion Wiley is essentially a 3-point threat only as 31 of the 47 shots he took in league play were 3s. He hit 35.5 percent. And while he’s 6-foot-7 and more a wing, it’s probably appropriate to lump Jared Nickens in with the backcourt guys as he’s clearly a 3-point specialist. He attempted 70 3s in Big Ten play and knocked down 40 percent.

On the wing, junior Jake Layman is the team’s third leading scorer in Big Ten play at 11.2 points per game. Layman finished the conference season 12th in the league in block percentage and 21st in defensive rebounding percentage. And when Layman gets going from the perimeter, it’s typically from the corners:

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Senior Evan Smotrycz, who started his career at Michigan and now is in his second season in College Park, is fifth on the team in minutes in conference play but has really struggled offensively. Smotrycz shot just 23.1 percent on 3s and 32.4 percent on 2s in Big Ten play.

Up front, Damonte Dodd, a 6-foot-11, 245 pound sophomore, wasn’t much of a factor in the first two meetings but is the team leader in block percentage at 8.9. Jon Graham, who transferred from Penn State, is the team’s best offensive rebounder (OR% of 13.8) in conference play but isn’t much of an offensive threat. Michal Cekovsky, who is 7-foot-1 and 235 pounds, played a combined five minutes in the first two meetings and could be more of a last resort in this game as Maryland must focus on guarding IU on the perimeter, especially with Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s injury on Thursday night.

 

A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS

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The key to Maryland’s seven-game winning streak to close the regular season was its defense. Over its last four contests, Maryland didn’t allow any team to score more than .96 points per possession and Wisconsin, the nation’s best offense, was included in that group. The Terps finished with the Big Ten’s best adjusted defensive efficiency (.99 points per possession allowed) and the league’s second best effective field goal percentage defense at 47.1.

It’s no secret that Maryland’s offensive success rests heavily on the free throw line as both Trimble and Wells ranked in the top nine in the league in free throw rate and the Terps were the league’s third-best team at getting to the line.

Indiana hasn’t had trouble finding its offense against Maryland in two meetings as the Hoosiers scored 1.22 points per possession over 80 minutes. Most of that success came from behind the 3-point arc as Indiana scored 75 of its 155 points on 3s in the first two meetings. Another hot shooting performance will go a long way in determining if Indiana can pull off a win and move onto the semifinals.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

Pomeroy, Sagarin and Vegas all have Maryland as a 2-point favorite with Pomeroy giving the Hoosiers a 43 percent chance of winning.

What’s at stake for Indiana, beyond advancing to Saturday, is pretty clear. A win punches a ticket to the NCAA tournament and may even get the Hoosiers out of the “first four” games in Dayton early next week. A loss likely makes Sunday evening’s selection show at 6 p.m. ET very interesting.

Guard play is typically what wins in tournament play and Indiana has its hands full trying to stop one of the nation’s best tandems in Trimble and Wells. But the Hoosiers have a solid group of their own and with Thursday’s confidence-building win over Northwestern and earlier success against Maryland, Indiana should feel good about its chances in the rubber match between these two teams if shots fall from the perimeter.

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  • dwdkc

    I get the Vegas 2 point line; IU matched up really well against Maryland. But Pomeroy has had IU way down all year, how can it only have them as a 2 point dog against such a high rated team with 43% chance of winning?

  • downtownhoosier10

    This most likely will come down to free throw numbers. We must get to the line at a decent clip and hit 80%. Then do our best to keep their guards from getting to the rim. Should be a fun one to watch

  • IUBizmark

    JBJ played like a man possessed last night. I’ve never seen him move so fast, especially on defense. I seriously hope he brings that effort today; we’re going to need it.
    Also, we need solid play from Robert Johnson. If he can play good defense and score 8-9 points, we’ll be solid.
    Come Hoosiers! Let’s get this job done right!

  • hoosierwrestler

    Because styles conflict. Their style of play just works against most teams better than ours does, but our style works better against their team than it does against most others. Pomeroy is a system of data. In the chart of statistics above you can see that we match up pretty well with them. Where they have the slight edge is the “eye test” we have been very lack luster lately and they have played fairly well.

  • After watching yesterday’s game, and of course wondering like everyone else where the defense came from (other than the obvious possibility, that they were allowed to stick with man-to-man for most of the game and get into a rhythm), I’ve tried to maintain my refusal to predict an outcome for the next game. So I won’t make any predictions.

    But, I’ll say that if they maintain the same intensity they had last nice, particularly on defense, then they could return to that team that beat Maryland the first time by 19 points and had us all thinking they were capable of some really good things. If they want to play with a chip on their shoulder to prove all the naysayers wrong and save CTC’s job, so be it. They could make some noise.

    But, dropping back into the passive display of the latter part of the season, and they’ll be going home. I really do think it comes down to that more than anything: which team shows up, the aggressive, confident, attacking team or the passive, confused team that lost to NW the first time.

    That’s why they play the game, of course. I’m pretty nervous about this one, because I want the kids to play well for their own sakes and get the win. Regardless of those “fans” who’ve booed them, I think this team deserves it.

  • Yep, I really think JBJ’s intensity was key last night. It was something new, and the team seemed to key off of him. That’s the player he’s capable of being, and if he were to play like that consistently then this team is truly dangerous.

  • Michael

    Said he’s had a nagging injury

  • dwdkc

    I don’t recall who wrote it on the Minute After thread but they made the point that IU’s aggressive man/man D worked well against NW partly because NW had the least athletic team in the conference. Individually at least 3 of 5 guys on the court at any time are pretty weak man defenders but the opposition made our strategy more effective, and it might not necessarily be the way to go against a better team like Maryland which like Purdue can exploit man/man mismatches. In IU’s better efforts people like Seth Greenberg have complimented the switching–it works if the guys are energetic and engaged, pretty much like any D, and not so much if they aren’t. More than anything, they need to bring that energy and that edge to their play. Lost in the fact that they had a good lead all game long yesterday was that they didn’t shoot well, but their intensity kept them in the lead. I look for a better shooting performance against Maryland and if they come with the same urgency, they can win.

  • I feel cautiously optimistic about this game, but a 2 point line seems too generous

  • Michael Werner

    What’s on the stove tonight for dinner, kids? How about a little Turtle Soup!?

  • MDHoosier

    It might actually help if Hanner misses the game. In the first game, when CTC was forced to play a small lineup, IU dominated the Twerps. If Yogi and JBJ can keep that hot shooting going and IU sticks to the man-to-man D, they should be fine.

  • SilentBob

    This is true. In fact looking at the roster I think it’s easily justifiable to think a zone approach might work better but for whatever reason it hasn’t. But when we have player like Nick Z on the court and were in man every team smartly goes right at him. It’s usually the same with James, but if he plays as aggressive as he did last night then I’m not worried. We don’t have to be good, just okay. The defense stepped up big last night but the rebounding was the most important factor in my opinion.

  • Rushman

    While I can agree that switching the defenses has worked on occasions this year, the times that it has not worked have more to do with our guys being lost during the defensive switch. High energy and being engaged can only go so far. I think if we decide to switch anything, it should be between possessions – not during possessions.

  • hoosierwrestler

    “–it works if the guys are energetic and engaged”
    But what gets the guys to be energized and engaged? In my opinion it is buying into the system. Ironically “Glory Road” was on Starz last night after the game and the Miners really started playing great when they were allowed to play “their game” which was a system that they really bought into and felt comfortable playing. I know it is just a movie but it happens in real life. Think about it…if your boss tells you to do something that you don’t believe is going to work, you are not going to put your best effort forward. I feel like that is why the man D worked last night. The guys looked much more comfortable and less confused and it was a system that they bought into.