Maryland-Maine First Look: Terps Face Injured Black Bears on Sunday

One of the fun things about having a competitive football team at the same time as basketball starts up is that I get to write about both. It's also time-consuming. So, a (selfishly) quick preview of Maryland's next opponent, the Maine Black Bears (important note: game is at 2:00):

KenPom has Maine lower than College of Charleston but higher than Seattle, and on the surface that seems to make a lot of sense. While the Black Bears lack a game-changing type of talent like Andrew Goudelock, they return 4 starters, including their three leading scorers, from a team that won 19 games and beat Boston College last year.

There's no star, instead preferring to spread the ball around for points, but the closest thing to it is 6-3 junior guard Gerald McLemore, who led the Black Bears in scoring last year with about 14 points per game. Sean McNally, a 6-7 center, is the inside scorer and was the team's leading rebounder last season. He's currently nursing an ankle injury and didn't play in Maine's debut, but I'd guess he'll suit up tomorrow.

The other two returning starters are Terrance Mitchell, a 6-3 guard, and Murphy Burnatowski, a 6-7 sophomore swingman that was on the American East All-Rookie team last year. Mitchell is currently out with a broken finger, but he's replaced by 6-7 senior forward Troy Barnies, who was second on the team in scoring in their debut and will likely play PF against Maryland. The only starter that's not back is Junior Bernal, but the Black Bears might've made out okay on that deal: taking his place is Raheem Singleton, a 6-0 junior college transfer who led them in points in their season debut. 

Speaking of that debut: they played Utah Valley (nope, never heard of them either) last night, a game they probably should've won pretty easily (UVU was 301st by KenPom . That they needed overtime and only won by five (71-66, if you're wondering) is pretty disappointing. Granted, they were missing McNally, which left them without their starting center and leading rebounder, but the talent disparity there was pretty large. Singleton came to the rescue with a jumper inside the final second to force OT, so it was a very narrow escape indeed.

If you couldn't tell by that score, Maine is a polar opposite of Seattle. They're not going to run up and down at the floor at a ridiculous pace, and in fact their tempo is much more in line with CofC's. I'd expect a similar type of score, in the mid- to upper-70s. 

And no, I'm not intimidated in the least. CofC was a good team, but without Goudelock they're not close. Maine is a lot like CofC without Goudelock. Maryland's talent advantage is just too high for a team without a real star to hang. The close escape over a pretty bad team doesn't help their case. Nor does the loss of Mitchell, who averaged 10 points a game last year. Throw in the fact that their tallest real contributor is 6-7 and gimpy, which signifies (yet another) double-double for Jordan Williams, Maryland should be able to win fairly easily.

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