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Michigan State Basketball: Maryland Big Ten Tournament Preview

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In the Big Ten Tournament Semi-Finals, the Maryland Terrapins seek to avenge their regualr season loss to the Spartans in East Lansing

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Opponent: Maryland

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Time: 3:30pm EST

Channel: CBS

KenPom Line: MSU -6

Here's an update on the Big Ten Tournament Log5

(The difference between my numbers and KenPom's were that I did not include any potential homecourt advantage for Indiana or Purdue)

Scouting report

  • First off, Maryland has a ton of weapons on offense. They have five players shooting 34% or better from 3 along with six players shooting 50% or better from 2. They have a high turnover rate but MSU doesn't force turnovers (340th nationally) so it'll be interesting to see if Maryland tries to force things or if they're just careless at times.
  • 6'3" Melo Trimble was preseason POY and has bounced back a bit from his slump but right now the Terrapins' most dangerous player might be 6'11" Diamond Stone who did a lot of damage in B1G play with an 115.8 ORtg with a very big 25.8% usage which was top 20 in the conference. He also drew 6.7 fouls per 40 minutes and knocked down FT's at better than 75%.
  • Trimble is still going to be a big threat as he put up 24 against MSU last game and he's been better offensively as he's had an ORtg of at least 100 in the last 4 games. Trimble is assisting a lot more this year while getting to the line less and shooting worse (but still acceptable at 34%) from 3. He hasn't gotten to the FT line in the past couple games so MSU is probably hoping he just completely forgot how to.
  • Maryland got two high impact transfers this year in Rasheed Sulaimon and Robert Carter. Of the two, Carter scares me more as he's a 6'9" power forward who is capable of shooting 3's and he's hitting around 32% on the year. Sulaimon is more of a role player in the offense than Maryland's Big 3 of Stone, Carter, and Trimble and while he's shooting 45% from 3 on the year, he's been cold recently as he's made just 3 of his last 12.
  • 6'9" Jake Layman and 6'7" Jared Nickens are the other two heavy rotation players and both are pretty low usage (especially Nickens) who are both capable outside shooters. Nickens has shot over 5 times as many 3's as he has 2's so he's pretty limited outside of that but he's someone you have to keep a defender on. Layman is quite a bit like Sam Dekker from last year in that they're both 6'9", capable of playing both forward spots, and shot over 60% on 2PA's. Dekker was a bit higher usage than Layman but they have a similar style. Layman lit up Nebraska yesterday to the tune of 26 points on just 16 shot equivalents.
  • Maryland also has a couple capable backup bigs in 6'11" Damonte Dodd and 7'1" Michal Cekovsky who are both a bit foul and turnover prone but shoot over 54% from the field.

Four Factors

MSU on Offense

MSU on Defense

Things to watch for

  • Jake Layman was mostly a non-factor in the previous game against MSU but he's been a tear recently including making 19 of his last 29 3PA's in the past 7 games. Valentine did a lot to help limit him but relying on him to do poorly as he did last time is a lot to wish for. If Maryland decides to go small at any point, he could give them a bit more trouble at the 4 with his better shooting than Carter and draw Davis out of the paint.
  • Deyonta Davis had a great game yesterday but it came against a lot of undersized 4's from Ohio State. Will he be able to keep up that kind of effort against a legitimate big power forward in Robert Carter? While Davis in the post isn't at all a primary option for MSU, it's something that they can go to when other ways of scoring aren't working.  It'd be really promising for MSU going forward if Davis is capable of scoring even against large power forwads
Bottom Line

MSU is given a 72% chance of winning this one by KenPom. However, for me this is a very interesting game to look at in that MSU has a ton of pressure to live up to expectations while Maryland is playing a bit more with house money. Maryland is also looking for revenge and has a nice length advantage on the wings. With that being said, MSU is playing as well as anyone right now and should look to advance to the finals.

MSU 81 - Maryland 76