Game Info / How to Watch
Who? #22 Indiana Hoosiers (12-3 (3-1), #28 KenPom) vs Maryland Terrapins (13-3 (4-1), #20 KenPom)
When? Friday, 1/11/19 7 P.M., Xfinity Center
Vegas? O/U 144, Terps -5
KenPom? Maryland by 5, 74-69, 35% chance of Hoosier Victory
When we last left off with the Hoosiers, they went up to Ann Arbor to face off against arguably the best team in the country in the Michigan Wolverines and things did not turn out in favor for the Hoosiers as they lost 74-63. I wasn’t able to watch too much of the game as I was invested in my dear old Chicago Bears’ first playoff game since I was in middle school, and got my heart broken by a damn double doink. And no, I’m still not sure if I’m over it.
But I digress.
While Indiana lost in double digits, things still looked okay all things considered. IU had to face off against a phenomenal Michigan team on the road with out Robert Phinisee and De’Ron Davis along with Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan each receiving two early fouls. So while a loss is still a loss, it’s one that Hoosier fans shouldn’t be upset about.
But looking ahead, Indiana now faces a quietly successful Maryland squad that sits just outside of the AP Top 25 and with a solid 3-1 conference record. The Terps have only lost three games this season including @ Purdue, Seton Hall, and Virginia for the B1G/ACC Challenge. After missing out on their first NCAA appearance last season since joining the B1G, Mark Turgeon’s squad looks to be back on track to be in the big dance, but will they be able to pick up a win against a tournament caliber Indiana? Let’s examine the Four Factors.
Maryland looks to be Indiana’s most equal opponent so far this season. Both teams sit around the brink of the top 25 and are looking to make a run deeper in the standings to eventually earn one of the top 16 seeds in the NCAA tournament.
As for Maryland, the biggest stat that jumps off the board is the number of offensive boards they get each game. This is in part to the duo of Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith dominating down low against opposing defenses. Obviously Maryland isn’t the only one with a post threat as IU’s Juwan Morgan has shown time and time again this season that he’s the most valuable player on the team with his ability to work down low and shoot an eFG% of 69.0 (Nice!).
Another point of note is the tempo at which both teams run their offenses. IU has put up a surprisingly quick offensive possession length (71st in KenPom) that will be sure to speed up a traditional, much slower Maryland squad (238th in KenPom). Talk about slow and steady. Now let’s check three things to watch.
What to Watch for
- Zach McRoberts return to form? Co-Captain Zach McRoberts has not played up to his captain name this year mainly due to his inability to get consistent playing time as he’s been dealing with a nagging lower back injury. However, Maryland has one of the worst offensive steal percentages in the nation (324th KenPom) giving McRoberts a great opportunity to launch himself back into one of the best defensive players in the conference.
- Post Production - While Juwan Morgan has done nothing short of incredible things for this team this year, IU could be in major trouble as Maryland has double trouble with the combination of Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith. Another big man for IU will need to step up in order to succeed, specifically Evan Fitzner would be the guy I’d like to see more production out of since I haven’t seen much growth or great playing out of him since the Marquette game.
- Too Big? For a team that plays in such an electric environment like Assembly Hall, this year has shown some concerning play when faced against a hostile home crowd. From being completely rattled at Duke to uncomfortable at Michigan, there have been struggles as a direct result of the atmosphere they’ve played in, and the Xfinity Center is no different.
I’m going to go with Maryland on this one mainly for the home court advantage. I still see these teams being really competitive and see a close game tonight, but without IU at full strength, they could suffer for stretches during this game. Final Score: Maryland 69, Indiana 66.