I don't really want to spend a long time writing about Delaware State, and I'm sure you don't want to spend a long time reading about them. But because the Hornets are Maryland's next opponent, facing the Terrapins tomorrow at 8:00 in the Comcast Center, we have no choice but to talk about them a little. I'll keep it short.
First up, Delaware State is a cupcake compared to the two teams Maryland just went toe-to-toe with. That's not to hate on DSU, but they're bringing in eight new freshmen and returning only one starter. They were 17-12 last year but lost most of that team and were predicted to finish 5th in the preseason MEAC poll. A run-of-the-mill MEAC squad wouldn't be all that imposing to begin with, but make them young and inexperienced and they should be one of the easier wins Maryland will get all year.
DSU is coached by Greg Jackson, who's in his 11th year as the Hornets' coach. He says that the team will prioritize defense and try to win games by stifling the opposition more than by racking up points of their own. Junior guard Jay Threatt, the only returning starter, will certainly be a big help in that category: he led the nation in steals per game last year. Threatt's the traditional "get steals" guy: kind of small, but plays tight defense and has quick hands. If nothing else, he'll challenge Terrell Stoglin's and Pe'Shon Howard's ballhandling.
Threatt actually transferred to DSU from George Mason and just so happens to be their point guard and best player. He had the best A/TO ratio in the conference last year and takes care of the ball. He's not a big-time scoring threat nor a great shooter, but he may be expected to take on an increased role in that category this year.
Past that? Well, there's Casey Walker, a 6-5 freshman guard that led his HS team (Brundswick, VA) to three straight state championships. Walker led DSU in scoring in their debut and had the second-most minutes behind Threatt. He's a bit of a chucker (4-15 to get just 15 points), but he could be dangerous if he gets hot.
There's also Marques Oliver, a 6-7 sophomore forward. He put up a double-double in the debut (over Washington Adventist, don't get concerned) and is a solid inside defensive presence, averaging about a block per game last year. Oliver is the closest thing they have to a big man: the tallest regular contributer is 6-8, but receives minimal minutes. Oh, and they have a shooting guard named Alibaba Odd. He's a consensus NCAA All-Name first teamer. That's pretty much it.
DSU likes to slow the pace and try to shut down the opposition defensively. But their best post presence (Oliver) measures just 6-7 and 220 pounds; Jordan Williams won't be overmatched with the ball. I'm guessing they might try to go into a zone to collapse upon him, which will be a great test of Maryland's outside shooting ability. Either way, you can expect the inexperienced freshmen among the DSU ranks will make plenty of mistakes to give Maryland easy points.
On the other side of the floor, Threatt is a heady ballhandler that won't make a lot of mistakes of his own, but there's no one to consistently score points in a halfcourt offense. Without the defensive presence that got them wins last year, they'll need to point up more points, and I'm not sure they know how to yet.
No TV for this one, I believe. Those that want to shell out (get it?) a couple bucks for TerpsTV will get it there. Not sure if any of the regular streams will carry it. I don't think you need to worry about this one too much.