Maryland Terrapins-Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks Preview - Cupcake V: The Return of the Cupcake

David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

After two tougher non-conference opponents, Maryland faces their easiest foe of the season - in-state rival Maryland-Eastern Shore.

What: Maryland hosts 0-7 Maryland-Eastern Shore in the first of six more tune-up games before ACC season.

When and Where: 7:00 in the Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Where to Watch: ESPN3.

Line: Maryland -17

Notes / Storylines

Close call. With the possible exclusion of a too-late comeback attempt by Lafayette, Maryland had blown out every opponent since a season-opening loss to Kentucky. That all changed Sunday, when the Terps won a close one against George Mason, 69-62.

Dez Wells's hot streak. The highlight of that game, for sure, was the continued strong play of Dezmine Wells. After setting a career-high with 23 points at Northwestern, Wells went and topped that in D.C., scoring 25 - making eleven field goals and recording six rebounds.

Rebounding. The Terps now rank tops in the country in rebounding, hauling in 46.9 boards per game. They had 45 against the Patriots, but no single player cracked the double-digit mark. Alex Len had nine, Pe'Shon Howard had seven, and James Padgett, Wells, and Charles Mitchell each had six.

Rotation. Mark Turgeon continues to talk about shortening the rotation to eight, and if Sunday was any indication, the two players getting the short end of the stick will be Logan Aronhalt (who will still come in for situational shooting) and Shaquille Cleare, who has been significantly outplayed by fellow freshman big man Charles Mitchell.

Back to Cupcakeland. After those two tough games, Maryland gets to go back to easy opponents at home, and the Hawks may be the worst they've faced this year.

UMES is bad. Like, real bad. We'll talk about it more in the next section, but by KenPom's rankings, they're the third worst team in the country (above Longwood and Grambling), and their winless record appears to be representative of their talent - KenPom has them with a luck rating of -.001 (Maryland, by comparison, is at -.065).

The Opponent (An Overview)

The Hawks rank close to last in the country in nearly every category, notably points (56.1 per game while giving up 70.3), assists (9.9 per game), and field goal percentage (34.5%). They've lost all seven of their games this season, and none of them have been in single digits. Their closest losses of the season? Ten-point defeats against Arkansas Pine-Bluff and at Delaware State.

As a result of their struggles playing the sport of basketball, UMES has experimented with a group of different lineups, and has a group of eight players that get serious minutes.

At guard, Kyree Jones and Ishaq Pitt are the likely starters. Jones leads the team in points (14.3), three pointers (nearly two per game), assists (2.6), and gets to the line a little more than twice per game. Pitt is averaging 7.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game - the sophomore is tied for second on the team with 14 offensive rebounds.

Backing them up are junior Louis Bell from Washington D.C. (3.0 points per game, five three pointers and a whole mess of fouls), Donald Williams III (3.0 points per game, four threes), and 5'7" freshman Dominique Cowell (2.3 points and an impressive 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game).

At small forward, Troy Snyder will get the start. The junior transfer from Green Bay stands at 6'6" and is averaging 11.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists and is a defensive presence - he's second on the team with six blocks and leads by a wide margin with 17 steals. Ron Spencer will join him at forward - the 6'9" junior is averaging 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds, leading the team in the latter category.

At center is senior Olatunji Kosile, from Nigeria. At 6'11", he leads the team with six blocks while averaging 5.4 points and 2.7 rebounds.

Expected Starting Fives:

Maryland Maryland-Eastern Shore
Pe`Shon Howard (Jr., 6-2) Kyree Jones (So., 6-2)
Nick Faust (So., 6-6) Ishaq Pitt (So., 6-3)
Dezmine Wells (So., 6-5) Troy Snider (Jr., 6-6)
James Padgett (Sr., 6-8) Ron Spencer (Jr., 6-9)
Alex Len (So., 7-1) Olatunji Kosile (Sr., 6-11)

Matchup to Watch:

Jones-Howard. Jones has scored a quarter of the Hawks' points and it will be a defensive test for MVPe' in what will otherwise be an utterly boring game.

Four Factors:

Prediction:

Maryland strolls, 82-59, and your friendly neighborhood beat writer fights sleep to watch it all. So make sure to read the recap to reward our willingness to sit through this game.

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