Maryland-Boston University preview: Terps look for another out of conference win

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Terps contain Maurice Watson Jr?

After a week off for finals, Maryland will again hit the hardwood on Saturday when they take on Boston University on Saturady at 1:00 PM at the Comcast Center. Maryland is coming off a narrow, four-point victory over Florida Atlantic last week and hoping to not have another nail-biter on their hands. The game will tip-off Saturday at 1 p.m. and can be watched on ESPN3.

BU currently sits at 6-5, having lost their last three games; Harvard, George Washington & Norfolk State, two of which went to OT. The Terriers are currently ranked #148 by KenPom, who predicts a ten-point Maryland victory on Saturday. So how does BU stack up against Maryland?

Starting Five:

Boston University is currently a member of the Patriot League and, shockingly enough, is located in Boston, MA.

Dom Morris, Sr., F, 240 lbs, 6'7"

Nathan Dieudonne, So., F, 210 lbs, 6'7"

John Papale, So, G, 190lbs, 6'3"

Maurice Watson Jr., G, So., 165lbs, 5'10"

D.J. Irving, Sr., G, 165 lbs, 6'0"

Their offensive identity if mostly built around Maurice Watson Jr, who might be on the shorter side but has great court vision. Watson has an incredibly rare combination of statistics -- he leads the team in usage rate and shots taken, but also assists on nearly half of Boston's buckets, ranking second in the nation in assist percentage.. He's also 99th in the nation in steal percentage, so Peters and anyone else he's matched up with are going to have to do a good job of protecting the basketball. Watson also possesses the 88th best eFG% nationally. He leads BU in points per game with 14.6, assists per game with 6.5 and steals per game at 2.1. He's also their third best rebounder in terms of per game averaging, grabbing 4.3 per game. Suffice to say, Maryland needs to do a good job guarding Watson on Saturday.

Senior Dom Morris is arguably BU's next best player, ranking 155th nationally with an eFG% of 60.1, while averaging 12.2 ppg and 7.2 rpg. Senior D.J. Irving is the only other player averaging in double-digit scoring, with 11.8 per game.

BU has about eight players who get regular minutes, as well as a few others who either only see the court for a few sporadic minutes or not at all.

Offensive Rebounding:

For this part of the preview, I'm going to toss things over to Pete, who took a look at BU's size and lack of offensive rebounding.

They're a really small team. They've got three players at 6'7", but that's...it. It shows in the stats -- they block next to no shots and don't rebound particularly well, especially on the offensive glass. Especially interesting is how it reflects in the tendencies, and then in the stats. Because they have no interior presence, they take a lot of threes (27th in the country) even though they aren't particularly great at hitting them (180th in the country in percentage). Furthermore, they seldom have shots blocked because they rarely go inside, which also means they rarely go to the line. They do have a very potent mid-range game though, mostly via Watson (and Morris, as well).

So what does that mean for Maryland? It means that Maryland's front court should have a good day against BU, being able to outmuscle them on the offensive and defensive glass, which in turn should give them additional possessions offensive possessions and a lot of second change opportunities as well. If Maryland can dominate in this area, they should win the game.

KenPom Prediction: Maryland 76-65. 86% chance of Maryland winning.

Prediction:

Maryland has a very distinct size and rebounding advantage and that should result in them being able to limit the number of BU possessions and allow the Terps' offense additional opportunities to score. Maryland must still take care of the basketball and play well on defense, but they should be able to impose their offensive game plan against the Terriers.

Maryland wins, 85-68.

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