What to Expect: Maryland

  • 01/09/2017 7:16 pm in

Following a 1-2 home start in Big Ten play, Indiana goes on the road Tuesday night. The Hoosiers will travel east to College Park to face Maryland. The Terapins are 14-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

The game will be broadcast at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN with Dan Shulman, Dan Dakich and Molly McGrath on the call:

Two Big Ten teams that underwent significant offseason overhauls will square off later tonight at the XFinity Center. It’s been well documented how much Indiana lost from last season’s roster, but the Terps graduated two key pieces (Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon) and had two NBA early entry departures (Robert Carter, Diamond Stone).

Almost a quarter of the way into league play, it’s Maryland that has overcome the roster changes more effectively. The Terps don’t have a pair of signature wins like the Hoosiers do, but they’ve also only got two losses to this point. And with a favorable conference schedule, Maryland looks like a good bet to make the NCAA tournament for the third straight season.

Indiana’s season, meanwhile, feels like it’s at a bit of a crossroads. Home losses to Nebraska and Wisconsin have put pressure on the Hoosiers to make up ground away from Bloomington. According to Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, IU’s first two conference road games (Maryland and Penn State) are two of their three most winnable road contests. If the Hoosiers are going to contend for a top four or five Big Ten finish and a favorable NCAA tournament seed, Tuesday’s game looms large.

MEET THE TERPS

After testing the NBA draft waters last spring, Melo Trimble opted to return to College Park for his junior season. We ranked him as the top player in the Big Ten coming into the season and he’s had a strong, but not great, year.

Trimble is a strong guard who excels in the pick-and-roll. In 115 possessions as the ball handler in pick-and-rolls, Trimble has scored 116 points according to Synergy Sports. That ranks in the 90th percentile nationally. Given Indiana’s suspect pick-and-roll defense in recent games, this should be cause for major concern. Trimble is great at drawing fouls with a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 49.5 percent. He’s shooting 83.3 percent from the line.

Joining him in the backcourt is freshman guard Anthony Cowan, who is second nationally in free throw rate at 93.5 percent. Cowan has 101 field goals (43.6 percent) and 88 free throws (75 percent). Defending both guys without fouling will be a huge emphasis for the Hoosiers.

Junior Jaylen Brantley backs up Cowan and Trimble and isn’t a great shooter or scorer, but does a good job of taking care of the ball. Brantley’s turnover rate is 9.8 percent, which ranks in the top 100 nationally.

The Terps start freshman Kevin Huerter on the wing with another freshman, Justin Jackson, as an undersized four man. Huerter is 6-foot-7 and can stroke the 3 if given space. He’s 9-of-19 on 3s in conference play, which is the eighth best in the league.

Jackson, a native of Ontario, can do a little bit of everything. He’s shooting better than 44 percent on 3s, has a free throw rate of 44.1 percent, can block shots, grab offensive boards and also get to the rim. He’s the ideal four man in modern college basketball.

Junior Jaren Nickens was a major reason Maryland won at Michigan on Saturday. He hit all four of his 3-point attempts in 17 minutes off the bench. It was his first double figure scoring game of the season.

Maryland’s post players aren’t great, but they’re adequate enough.

Senior Damonte Dodd has been a decent finisher (51.4 percent on 2s) and a very good offensive rebounder (17.4 OR%). Michal Cekovsky, a 7-foot-1 junior who is a native of Slovakia, has yet to play in a Big Ten game because of a foot injury, but scored in double figures in three of his four games before getting hurt. Recent reports indicate he could return tonight.

If Cekovsky can’t play, his minutes are likely to go to sophomore Ivan Bender or graduate transfer LG Gill, who came to College Park from Duquesne. Bender is making 68 percent of his 2s, but is extremely turnover prone. Gill, who is 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds, is a woeful 30.6 percent this season on 2s.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

Maryland has been red hot shooting it from the perimeter in Big Ten play. The Terps are 45.9 percent on 3s in league play, including a 10-of-15 performance on Saturday in Ann Arbor. That’s more than nine percent above their season average of 36.7 percent. Big Ten opponents are shooting 45.5 percent on 3s against Indiana, so the Hoosiers clearly have to do better there to win one on the road.

The Terps are also excellent at getting to the foul line, another area where Indiana has struggled in league play. The Hoosiers are 11th in the conference in opponent free throw rate through three games.

Where Indiana needs to do its work against the Terps is in the paint and on the offensive glass. Maryland is just ninth in defensive rebounding percentage in conference play and is in the bottom five of the league in 2-point defense. When the Hoosiers establish paint touches early, it typically opens the perimeter up for shooters to get cleaner looks.

Like IU, Maryland is also turnover prone, so this should be a contest where the points off of turnovers differential isn’t a killer.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

It’s hard to know what to expect from Indiana on a game-to-game basis. The Hoosiers haven’t played great for 40 minutes since the North Carolina game, although they did make some progress on Saturday against Illinois with a better start.

Maryland has won a ton of close games as three of its four best wins (Georgetown, Kansas State and Oklahoma State) each came by one point. The Terps are unlikely to keep shooting 3s at such an efficient clip, but Indiana’s defense has been tied for worst in the conference over its first three games.

The KenPom line is Indiana by one, with Sagarin giving the Hoosiers a 2.5-point advantage on the road. The Vegas line opened at 2.5 early Monday afternoon, but had shifted to the Terps by one as of Monday night.

Indiana is the more talented team and has more upside when clicking on all cylinders, but Maryland is at home and is confident coming off its win at Michigan. While not a must-win for Indiana, given the remaining road schedule, the Hoosiers probably need at least a split in this game and at Penn State to expect anything better than a 10-8 record in league play.

(Photo credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America)

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  • Gregory J. Haggard

    Yogi kept Trimble in check the last couple of years, but I don’t see anyone stopping him this year.
    It will be interesting to see who Crean starts!

  • Kwang

    Put RoJo on him, backed up by Juwan and OG. I mean on the switches. Hide JBJ as best we can defensively.

  • IU_Nation

    Regarding Melo: Does anyone remember the Austin Peay game from this year? We started OG on their best (arguably) player and starting PG. While he is definitely no Melo, OG still was very disruptive and did good work on him. I believe with OG on Melo, he would have a hard time getting his shot off over the bigger OG. He would also have trouble getting to the rim with OG tremendous length and lateral quickness. IDK just a random thought I had…

  • Yes. Virtually guaranteed that RJ will start on Trimble.

  • I commented just a bit ago that RJ would likely start guarding Trimble, but I could see OG getting some of that duty as well.

  • ForeverIU

    You stole my words. I vote for OG on Marsh-Melo.

  • IU_Nation

    And if OG/RJ gets in foul trouble or doesn’t get all the time on Melo, I expect we throw different looks at him to keep him honest (JN, JM, ZM, DG)

  • ForeverIU

    Of course in the end it won’t matter because another of their unknowns will have a breakout night.

  • Hoosierkamp

    Have to do it. I do worry about him getting in foul trouble though. We aren’t the same with him off the court

  • Hoosierkamp

    Good call. Not a bad idea. Keep a long body in front of him and make him shoot over

  • sd chuck

    Expecting to see more of the same thing. Three guard lineup. Overuse ZM, under use DD. Whatever!

  • Shaggy_C

    Sounds to me like Melo will finally get a chance at his own “career night” against the Hoosiers. Let’s hope IU’s offense can do enough on the other end to make up for it.

  • Bill Graham

    This game worries me a bit: First true road game against a team that excels at the things we struggle to contain…If we stay on the gas and keep the crowd out of it, we have a good shot. But if we let them maintain a lead…I don’t like our chances.

  • Hoosier Hall

    “Trimble is great at drawing fouls…..” To be read “Trimble is great at throwing his head back multiple times while driving to the basket to simulate excessive contact.” Ridiculous that refs still fall for this. Grayson Allen does it too. Realistically, who’s head does that when being bumped on the shoulder or side??? I may shatter my TV if it happens during this game and the refs call the foul.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I think (hope) eventually basketball will evolve to the point that throwing your head back is considered a flop and offensive foul. I feel the same way about a shooter getting a man in the air then leaning into him as he shoots to get the foul. If it looks unnatural it most likely should be called. As long as the rules allow for these kind of flops players will use it to their advantage. Hope to see changes in the future.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Another game where hopefully TB can do work on offense, should have favorable matchups. I think IU should 2-3 zone more in this game to guard against too much PnR, Melo will be tough cover at home there.
    Liked what I saw out of Green vs lllinois, hopefully he can build on that and OG also keeps his groove.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Just wait until Isaac Haas gives us the “peoples elbow”. Watched him move many a bucky badger Sunday that way.

  • IU_Nation

    Of course. Seems to be a recurring theme with our D

  • IU_Nation

    These days leading up to this game I am thinking a lot about that loss at Maryland two years ago, when Yogi missed a three and a two to lead and tie, respectively. I still view it as one of the most heartbreaking losses of the Yogi era (We were road underdogs and almost pulled off a thrilling win at a ranked Maryland team) A win tonight in College Park would go a long way to erase some of the memories I still have about that game

  • Ole Man

    I don’t expect an IU victory, so if they win, I will feel wonderful! LOL!
    IU’s D is trending in the wrong direction.
    And even though TB, OG, JM, and DD could have a field day against that front line, the guards will once again try to dominate instead of facilitating our strengths.

  • Ole Man

    Melo would have OG in foul trouble in the first ten minutes. It won’t work.

  • IU_Nation

    Melo would get anyone guarding him in foul trouble. That stupid head bob while driving attracts the ref to call a foul every single time. I say put OG on him. Melo will have to work to get anything going against all that length. Plus, I think OG could play without fouling him. His length and defensive skill will help.

  • ForeverIU

    If fouls are the issue, then the same could be said about RJ. It wasn’t long ago when he had to sit much of the game because of fouls.

  • And One

    I feel the same way. I’m gonna dvr the game and get a good night’s sleep.

  • unam_sanctum

    Trimble will light them up, 30+

  • IULore

    Yeah, Yogi got redemption at Iowa last year, though. Finally got one of those to fall!

  • Sandra Wilson

    You won’t need to worry about us getting those calls, WE NEVER SHOT FAKE !….Absolutely drives me crazy…..One of the many things about Crean that irritates me……and yes, if he taught it and demanded it, it would happen.

  • Curt Bellamy

    Would love to see Newkirk come off the bench in this one.
    1. Rojo
    2. JBJ
    3. OG
    4. JM
    5. TB

  • Piker

    I heard Maryland likes to play fast. Along with the big roster turnovers and lots of yougsters playing, i expect lots of mistakes (TOs and D) and the team that makes the fewest to win. Neither team is impressive at this point.

  • cbags05

    Yep. Who cares if he drops 30? Play team D and keep the rest of them under 30.

  • cbags05

    First true road game. Period. IPFW doesn’t count because of the pro hoosier crowd.

  • cbags05

    Yeah. At the beginning of the Nebraska game I looked up and said “wow they are tiny….our bigs will have a feast”….

  • BL4IU

    If Melo didn’t get him in FT he’d have him totally spent. Let OG switch onto him when the shot clock is in our favor but assigning OG to PG’s makes no sense. Not the best use of his talents on this team.

  • BL4IU

    I saw several shot fakes in the last game. In fact, re-watch the last Film Session. On the play where JN scores on a cut, JBJ set up his drive with a shot fake.

  • mharv2631

    I expect at least 10 ft’s from Trimble.

  • IUBizmark

    I hope you’re not referring to the fake out that Nigel Hayes used to draw that elbow foul. He literally put is head into Haas’ elbow and the refs called it.

  • Iumick22

    Big difference between a flop and getting an opponent to fall for a head fake. In my opinion.

  • IUBizmark

    I watched this Maryland team early in the season and they looked horrible on offense. I’m not a believer that team is very good, but they are trending up and at home, while we are middling and on the road. I’d like to see us pound the paint all night and shoot the occasional 3 to keep them honest.

  • John D Murphy

    That sums it up well. You did forget to mention that JN would go for the record of most dribbles beyond 1/2 half court but at least 30 feet from the basket…his specialty.

  • John D Murphy

    It felt like our bigs got blocked every time they had the ball inside against. But they corrected that problem against UofL by holding the ball until it was taken from them….thus avoiding getting blocked. That’s just good coaching.

  • John D Murphy

    I would prefer to see Newkirk start on the bench…and not come off the bench

  • Smilinjayd

    Disagree about getting player off his feet and then collecting the foul. It’s an art. Alford was Great at that, coupled with being a superior FT shooter. Have longed for someone else to use shot fake and do this again.

  • NC Hoosier

    While I love that line-up, it won’t happen. JN will start.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Getting an opponent into the air with a fake and having him foul you is one thing. Doing the same move then contorting your body unnaturally or changing direction to ensure he hits you is another.

  • IdahoHoosier

    As I just wrote above, getting a player into the air and then getting fouled is great. Getting him into the air then changing your shot or movement unnaturally to force him to hit you when he wasn’t going to otherwise, that is just lame. I think we are in agreement, but there is a difference between smart play and unnatural acts.

  • Smilinjayd

    Thanks for the comment. However, I still disagree. Make defensive players pay for leaving their feet. Collect the foul on them, collect your shots and Pass Go!

  • vicbert caladipo

    No CTC radio show live from the Holiday INN Bloomington highlights?

  • Ole Man

    Finally, someone who gets it!

  • IdahoHoosier

    Make the defender pay for leaving his feet by going around him and doing something positive. Not initiating contact that didn’t naturally occur, thereby slowing the game down with more ugly fouls and game stoppage. Not calling stuff like that, along with flopping and tossing your head back for no reason takes all the art and beauty out of the sport. There is no basketball skill involved in acting.

  • Chi-Town Hoosier

    Hoping to be pleasantly surprised with a positive outcome tonight. I think Melo shoots 10+ Fts