The University of Maryland is 4-1, as they enter action this week. Tomorrow night in Evanston, Illinois the Terrapins face Northwestern in the ACC/ Big Ten Challenge. On Sunday, the Terps will be opposed by George Mason at the BB&T Classic.
While neither the Wildcats or Patriots will be confused with National powers, both games will represent better challenges for the Terps than the previous 4 games vs. Morehead State, LIU Brookyln, Lafayette, and Georgia Southern. Northwestern and George Mason also represent better competition than Maryland will face in the following 6 games (Maryland Eastern Shore, South Carolina State, Monmouth, Stony Brook, Delaware State, and IUPUI) leading up to the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play.
The truth is that what Maryland does in the 18 game ACC schedule (plus the ACCT) will determine if the Terrapins get back to the NCAA Tournament, and what seeing they receive if they do. That said, since the Terps were not able to pull the upset against Kentucky, these two games are Maryland’s last chances to gain even ‘solid’ out-of-conference (OOC) wins. Winning on the road against a Big Ten opponent would look good. Even if George Mason wins the Colonial Athletic Association, a win over the Patriots will only look so good, even on a neutral floor. The Patriots are capable of beating Maryland though, and as George Mason would be Maryland’s 2nd best OOC win – it is a game the Terps really can not afford to lose.
Northwestern is 6-0. They held TCU to 31 points in the South Padre Invitational, and beat a previously unbeaten Illinois State team in OT in the same event, the next day.
Sr. Guard Reggie Hearn (6’4, 210 lbs) is leading Northwestern in scoring at 13.7 ppg. He is averaging 4.7 attempts from 3 per game, and shooting 57% from that range.
Sr. Wing Drew Crawford (6’5, 210 lbs) is tied with Hearn at 13.7 ppg, and has scored at-least 18 points 3 times. His scoring is actually down 2.4 ppg from last year. He shoots 82% from the line, and 39% from 3. Crawford was 3rd team Big Ten last year.
The 3rd leading scorer for Northwestern, also leads the Wildcats in rebounds. That Senior is 6’8, 210 lb Forward Jared Swopshire. Swopshire is actually a Graduate student, who transferred from Lousiville. Swophsire averages 12 ppg, and 6.5 boards.
Sophomore Guard Dave Sobolewski (6’1, 190 lbs) was a Big Ten All-Freshman team player last year.
Overall, Northwestern has 9 players averaging at-least 9.3 minutes per game.
One of the more interesting match-ups might be Alex Len vs. True Freshman Alex Olah. The Romanian Olah, is 7 feet tall, and weighs 275 lbs. He has been held to just 2 points combined over the past two games, but scored at-least 7 points in each of Northwestern’s first 4 games.
107th overall in Points Per Game (72.7)
55th overall in Rebounds (40.2)
6th overall in Assists (19.3)
111th FG % (45%)
George Mason is 4-2 overall. They beat Virgina at home 63-59, to start the year. The Patriots shot 55% from the floor that game, but lost on the boards 30-25. The Patriots lost at Bucknell by 5, and to New Mexico by 1.
They will play at Rhode Island Wednesday prior to facing the Terps.
10 Patriots players play over 10 minutes a game, though only two players – Sherrod Wright, and Johnny Williams – are scoring in double figures.
Wright is a 6’4 Jr. Guard, averaging 15 ppg, including 43.5% from 3, on 3.8 attempts per game.
Williams is a 6’8, 240 lb Jr. Forward, averaging 10.2 ppg, and leading the team with 6.2 boards.
George Mason ranks:
289th overall in Points Per Game (60.3)
298th overall in Rebounds (31.3)
268th overall in Assists (11.2)
121st FG% (.447%)