Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.
Now that you have fully recovered from ESPN’s 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon, it’s time to jump into the first of the exotic preseason tournaments. The Puerto Rico Tip-Off gets going today, along with the big boys’ rounds of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. Let’s take a look at the action.
Maryland vs. #16 Alabama – 5:00 PM EST on ESPN2 HD (**)
- Rarely do you see a team hit zero three-point shots and still win a game. However, that is exactly what Maryland did in its first game of the season against UNC-Wilmington. The Terps finished 0-9 from downtown, but managed to drain 58% of its twos. Mark Turgeon’s squad is going to have a tough time hitting such a high percentage of shots inside the arc against Alabama’s vaunted defense. While Terp forwards James Padgett and Ashton Pankey both scored in double figures in the opener, neither consistently demands enough attention to take scoring pressure off the guards. Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin needs to have another big game in order for the Terrapins to have a chance. If the Alabama defense can lock him up, there is not enough fire power elsewhere on Turgeon’s team to beat the Crimson Tide.
- Alabama is all about defense. They picked up right where they left off last year giving up only 0.8 points per possession through their first two games of the season. However, senior forward JaMychal Green should not be overlooked as a big time offensive threat. Green is averaging 18 points per game in only 25 minutes of action per night. Coach Anthony Grant’s team needs to improve its shooting, though. Alabama shot under 50% eFG in 20 of it’s 37 games last season and that trend is continuing again this season. While they finished a remarkable 10-10 in those games because of a stellar defense, it’s very difficult for a team to have major success shooting under 50% eFG. If the Tide is hitting more than half of its shots against Maryland, the game will not be close.
- This game hinges on Maryland’s ability to create baskets in transition. Maryland plays at a much faster pace than Alabama. If they get locked down in a halfcourt match-up with the Crimson Tide defense, the Terps’ offense will bog down because they do not have enough weapons in the low post. The team that dictates the pace and style of this game will ultimately win.