Maryland Terrapins-South Carolina State Bulldogs Preview - Cupcake VI: The Cupcake Rises

David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

Maryland basketball hosts MEAC squad South Carolina State in what should be another easy win.

What: Maryland hosts 4-4 South Carolina State in their third game of the week.

When and Where: 2:00 in the Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Where to Watch: ESPN3.

Line: None yet

Notes / Storylines

Starting lineups. Maryland, unexpectedly, started three freshmen against Eastern Shore - Seth Allen, Jake Layman and Shaquille Cleare. Most of the usual players (except Pe'Shon Howard) played around twenty minutes in the game, and expect Mark Turgeon to do something similar against a clearly inferior opponent. It's been reported Logan Aronhalt and Charles Mitchell will both start - now we just have to see who fills out the rest of the lineup.

Logan Aronhalt. Hoo boy. Right after I ask if Aronhalt might be the odd man out in the rotation, the Albany transfer went off. Against UMES, he led the Terps with 17 points, including a five-for-seven effort from beyond the arc. In his last four games, he's made twelve three pointers - and that includes a shotless three-minute appearance against George Mason.

Charles Mitchell. He's reportedly getting his first start as well, and it's not hard to see why. He posted a relatively quiet double-double against UMES, his second of the year, and continues to pound the boards. Mitchell is second on the team with 7.5 rebounds per game.

Point guards. As we noted earlier, Pe'Shon Howard didn't get much playing time against UMES (only nine minutes), with Seth Allen and Nick Faust getting a large chunk of the time at the point. Will Howard get the start against South Carolina State, and how will Mark Turgeon split up the playing time? Howard's been a much better pure point guard this season, but Allen has wowed with his scoring ability. I imagine Turgeon just wants to get his freshman option more playing time before ACC season, but we'll have to wait and see.

Another awful opponent. South Carolina State, although 4-4, rank 343rd out of 347 Division-1 teams according to KenPom, two places above 0-8 UMES. Two of their wins came against non-Division I competition, and others came against perennially awful NJIT (292nd) and Jacksonville (265th). For what it's worth, the Bulldogs also lost to NJIT in the second game of the season series. They have also lost to Norfolk State (254th) and Kennesaw State (328th).

The Opponent (An Overview)

The Bulldogs roll with a seven-man rotation, with four guards and three forwards.

Leading the pack is senior point guard Khalif Toombs, who stands at 5'9" but leads the team with 15.5 points per game, 5.0 assists per game and 2.0 steals per game. He's also been able to keep his game relatively under control, averaging just 2.1 turnovers per game.

Joining him as a starting guard is junior Adama Adams (no, seriously). Adams is averaging 14.6 points per game, and, like Toombs, is an outstanding three-point shooter. The latter is shooting 51.9% from beyond the arc this season, making 14 of 27 attempts, while the former is 12 of 23 (52.2%).

Two freshmen guards, Patrick Myers and Shaquille Mitchell, occasionally start for the team, but against a larger team like Maryland it would not be unreasonable for them to throw out all three forwards in the lineup. Myers is averaging 7.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, while Mitchell stands at 7.1 and 4.8, respectively.

At forward, South Carolina State sports freshman Darryl Palmer, sophomore Luka Radovic, and junior Matthew Hezekiah. Palmer is averaging 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, Radovic has 4.4 and 3.9 (and is the most likely to sit out in favor of Myers) and Hezekiah averages 12.3 points with team highs in rebounds (8.1) and blocks (2.0, tied with Palmer).

Expected Starting Fives:

Maryland South Carolina State
Pe`Shon Howard (Jr., 6-2) Khalif Toombs (Sr., 5-9)
Logan Aronhalt (Sr., 6-3) Adama Adams (Jr., 6-1)
Nick Faust (So., 6-6) Darryl Palmer (Fr., 6-7)
Charles Mitchell (Fr., 6-8) Luka Radovic (So., 6-9)
Shaquille Cleare (Fr., 6-9) Matthew Hezekiah (Jr., 6-11)

Matchup to Watch:

Howard against Toombs. The spry senior does it all for the Bulldogs, and if Howard gets a chance to play he should be tested defensively.

Four Factors:

Prediction:

No contest. Maryland 93, South Carolina State 62.

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