The 14th-ranked Maryland Terrapins have a battle with the best the Big Ten conference has to offer. They are slated to go up against the fifth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers at the Xfinity Center, Tuesday at 7 pm. The game can be seen on ESPN. This could very well be the Terps’ biggest win of the season and the fact that they currently are on a three-game winning streak gives them added motivation to win-out the rest of the way.
Players to Watch for the Maryland Terrapins
1. Frank Kaminsky – This guy averages 17.7 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, and standing at seven feet tall, he can shoot the three-point shot at 40 percent. That’s a dangerous combination for any team to deal with, and Maryland is going to really key in on him defensively to take him away. In the last four games, Kaminsky has had two double-doubles in points and rebounds: Nebraska Cornhuskers (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Illinois Illini (23 points and 11 rebounds). In addition to those two, he has eight more double-doubles this season.
2. Sam Dekker – Dekker averages 13.1 points per game and 5.1 rebounds, and he also can shoot the ball well from deep. He shoots at 33 percent. That’s down from 39 percent his freshman season. When a team has one big man who can shoot the three-ball, there’s cause for concern, but this Wisconsin team has two on their starting five. That’s a dangerous combination to deal with. If I was head coach Mark Turgeon, I would tell my guys to be weary of how they handle Kaminsky, because leaving Dekker by himself could be detrimental for the Terps defensively.
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Keys to the Game
1. Start Fast & Score Early – Slow starts have routinely killed the Terps’ rhythm and made it hard for them to get a leg up on the competition. It has to start with defense and fast break opportunities. If they can get steals and push the ball down the floor, that will allow for fast break points in addition to throwing off Wisconsin’s offensive tempo and flow.
2. Play Good Perimeter Defense – It’s no secret that the Maryland Terrapins have had trouble in the past with perimeter defense. That is one aspect of the game that will make them or break them, because three-point shots add up fast. The more they stop that shot, the better off the Terps will be against Wisconsin.
3. The Three-headed Monster must Attack with a Vengeance – Melo Trimble, Dezmine Wells and Jake Layman have to perform at their best and then some in order for the team to come out with a W. It’s imperative that they show the leadership through action — which means scoring, drawing contact for fouls and most importantly, defense.
4. Distribute Size Well – The forwards for Maryland are bigger than those of Wisconsin, and the Terps have a seven footer of their own in Michal Cekovsky. So it will be interesting to see whether he’ll be in the starting lineup with Damonte Dodd.
If the Maryland Terrapins follow these keys, they should be fine. I’m predicting a high-scoring game, 85-80. Maryland finishes strong in the last five minutes to take the win.