Maryland Basketball: 2019-20 keys for victory against Rhode Island

Maryland Basketball needs to avoid a game #2 letdown versus the Rhode Island Rams. Here are 3 keys to victory, for the 7th ranked Terrapins.

Maryland Basketball emerged from week one with a 24 point win against their season-opening opponent, Holy Cross. The Terrapins are currently ranked 7th in the nation, according to the Associated Press. Expectations for Mark Turgeon’s squad are very high, with a run at a regular-season Big Ten title a real possibility. Fans of Testudo the turtle have their sites set on a loftier goal. Early our pre-season bracketology, Maryland was ranked as a 3 seed, in the South Region.

With pressure on this season’s performance on the shoulders of their coach, it’s vital that the Maryland Terrapins glide through the non-conference slate of games, as unscathed as possible. Week two’s opponent, the Rhode Island Rams offer the Terrapins a much more capable hardwood foe, than Holy Cross.

Maryland basketball week two opponent

Rhode Island plays in the Atlantic 10 and they are picked to finish 4th, in the preseason conference coaches poll. Cyril Langevine is a 6’8″ senior forward who amassed pre-season All-Atlantic 10, 1st team and All-Defensive team honors. Langevine’s teammates Jeff Downtin and Fatts Russell sport All Atlantic 10 second and third-team honors, respectively. In week one, the Rams took down LIU-Brooklyn by an 11 point margin, 76-65.

The pre-season All-Conference players provided the bulk of point and rebound production, combining for 47 points and 25  rebounds, which tallies 62% and 48%, respectively. Langevine had a double-double evening, scoring 16 points and scooping up 15 rebounds. He also added a steal, block and an assist, for good measure.

Now that you are a little more informed of the Rhode Island threats, what are the three keys to a Terrapin victory?

Key #1: Play shut-down defense

If Cyril doesn’t get the ball, he can’t score, right? Maryland will have to use their speed and size to double-team the Ram big-man every time he touches the ball. Should he be able to pass out of a trap, the wings and guards need to recover and help with the perimeter defense, lest an easy 3 be converted by an open shooter. Contest every shot. Don’t let the Ram guards have any breathing room, to get an uncontested shot off.

If you can’t fight your way through a screen or pick, then you’ve got to communicate with your teammates to pick up the open man. Also, when the opposing team gets off a shot, everybody must box out. How many times have you seen a ball carry right back to the shooter? The player guarding the shooter must box out.

Key #2:  Win the bench war

Maryland’s bench must out-perform the Rhode Island bench. When you have to spell your starters, any let-up in offense hurts you but a mismatch on defense will absolutely crush you. Sometimes, it’s as simple as keeping your head in the game, while you’re riding the pine. Pay attention to what your opponent’s tendencies are and when you get your opportunity for minutes, make them count. Overplay that passing lane or force your man to his weaker side. Any bit of information you can get from watching your opponents when the starters are in will only help you and your team. Versus Holy Cross, Maryland scored 43 points off the bench compared to 13 for the Crusaders. Game over.

Key #3: Make your free throws

Tight games can come down to who converts buckets at the charity stripe. Can you get the ball in the hands of your best free throw shooter? If you can’t, and you get fouled, can you convert the free throw? You see it on television. The throng of students screaming their lungs out and waving frantically, to distract you from making that shot. As if there weren’t enough pressure, already. Is there ice in your veins? Did you put in the work during the summer? What’s your percentage when there is no one screaming at you? The thing is, everyone will know if you put in the work. After enough trips to the charity stripe, the statistics will bear out whether an opponent targets you when the game is on the line, or whether they avoid you like you have the Ebola virus.

Next: Top 5 early non-conference tournaments

In this article, I reviewed the All-Atlantic 10 conference scoring threats that Rhode Island has at its disposal. The Terps can avoid a let down in game two of the non-conference slate by playing stout defense, maximizing bench production and icing a tight game with high percentage free throw shooting. Thank you for reading this article and please leave comments, if you wish. I would also like to thank any Active Duty or Veterans that may read this article, thank you for your service. I greatly appreciate the free air that I breathe from your commitment and duty to our nation. Hooah!