Sunday, November 30, 2014

A-Rank Maryland

Maryland is difficult to figure as they have yet to have a full team due to injuries. They have experience with 4 seniors, but also have 4 freshman in the rotation. After missing the first month of the season with an injured foot, Smotrycz made his debut off the bench, but will take some time to get his conditioning back. The game before Smotrycz came back, leading scorer Wells hurt his hand and will now miss about 4 weeks. The youngsters are getting an opportunity with the seniors out. Both should be ready by the start of Big Ten season and I think this team will be petty good.

Maryland has some size with 5 players in the front court. At center they have been rotating sophomore Dodd, and freshman Cekovsky. Dodd is a big physical rebounder and rim protector, but doesn't give much on the other end except offensive rebounding. Cekovsky is an international who appears to have a mid range game but is not confident enough to be very good this year. Smotrycz is a stretch 4 who hits the 3 at a good percentage. Junior Layman also has good perimeter skills and can play the 3 or 4. Senior Graham is a space eater and rebounder but offers little but fouls to use.

The back court will be  pretty strong once senior Wells returns. He has scored in double digits every year since transferring from Xavier and shoots a good percentage. He is not much of a 3 point shooter but was showing improvement in this area before his injury, albeit in a small sample size. He is joined in the back court by freshman Trimble who is on the short list for Big Ten freshman of the year. He takes most of his shots from 3 and shoots a good percentage, but has also been successful in getting to the line. Pack is a senior transfer who has started at the 2 and has not played well. I can't see him continuing to get as many minutes if he doesn't improve. Both freshman Nickens and Wiley look good and will provide depth at the 2+3. They will be solid players in years to come.

Maryland should be OK in their first season in the Big Ten, once they get healthy. They have 4 legit scorers in Wells, Trimble, Layman and Smotrycz. They like to play up tempo and will have chances to do so against many Big Ten teams. They have plenty of size to bang with the bigger teams, although there aren't a ton of teams with quality size in the Big Ten this year anyway. They look like a team that can make the NCAA, although they may be on the bubble.

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