Maryland Terrapins (5-2, 0-0 ACC)
Wed., Dec. 1
9:15 p.m. University Park, Pa.
At 5-1, The Nittany Lions seemed to do what they were expected to do – beat the inferior teams and struggle against the top competition. The teams lone loss came in a game at Oxford, when they fell by 13 to Mississippi.
The team is led solely by their do-it-all guard Talor Battle, who has been an All-Big Ten selection two years straight. This season, Battle joins Marylands Jordan Williams on the preseason Wooden and Naismith Award watch list. In 2010, Battle has averaged over 18 points and four rebounds per game, and is shooting almost 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range.
The 2010 Nittany Lions are a veteran club led by seniors Battle and Jeff Brooks, along with redshirt seniors David Jackson and Andrew Jones.
Inside, the forward tandem of Brooks and Jackson combines for nearly 28 points per content. Brooks stands at 6-8, while Jackson is 6-7. The height continues with forward Jones, who is grabbing about six boards per game.
In the teams first seven games, the Nittany Lions have struggled on the boards. As a team, they are averaging about 37 per game, while opponents are grabbing about 31. In games against St. Josephs and Fairfield, the team barely won the rebounding battle. Against Central Connecticut, they stood even at 29 apiece; and against Ole Miss, their one loss, they finally lost the battle. No one player has grabbed more than 11 rebounds in a game this season, and that has only taken place once.
Penn State has just 18 on blocks on the season, compared to the 30 shots that have been blocked by their opponents. They are also turnover-prone, with a +2.4 assistant to turnover ratio. Cammeron Woodyard leads the team with 12 turnovers, followed by Battle and Brooks with nine apiece and three players tied with seven.
Matching up with the Terps
The Terps are a higher scoring, more prolific offense than the Nittany Lions. They are shooting better from the field, grabbing more boards, dishing out more assists and playing better defense, too. The Terps, however, are still struggling from long-range and at the free-throw stripe, which will allow the Nittany Lions to capitalize if given the opportunity.
Keys to the Game
Rebound, and rebound often. Given the teams inability to grab boards against the taller teams in the country, it is important for do-it-all center Jordan Williams to continue leading the Terps in rebounding. A larger presence from Dino Gregory would also pay dividends in that area.
Get off to a fast start. The Terps were down 15-5 to Elon in the first half before they suddenly woke up and rose to victory. If they can get their offense flowing, they can hopefully gain enough confidence to shoot from downtown, and eventually improve their free-throw shooting.
Avoid the rookie mistakes. Of course Terrell Stoglin and PeShon Howard are going to struggle with turnovers as first-year players receiving a lot of minutes, but it is point guard Adrian Bowie leading the Terps with turnovers, followed closely by Sean Mosley and Cliff Tucker. The veterans on the team must limit mistakes before they become overly contagious to the young players.
Radio: Terrapins Sports Radio Network