GameThread: Maryland Terrapins-Alabama Crimson Tide

USA TODAY Sports

Talk Terps-Tide right here.

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Get your game preview right here. Game tips at 7:30 on ESPN, with Bob Wischusen (whom I've never heard of) and Jimmy Dykes on the call.

Random, Baseless Prediction: No Seth Allen means more minutes for Logan Aronhalt and Jake Layman. Alabama's got a little Boston College in 'em, so Aronhalt, just as he did at BC, goes crazy at Alabama: 12 points, all on three-pointers, on which he goes 4-4.

Oh, and a fast break dunk.

Prediction: For the first time in the NIT, Maryland won't be able to out-run their opponents. Alabama dictates the tempo in games, matches the Terps in athleticism, has a similar bench now that Seth Allen's out, is probably still less tired despite playing more recently, and of course the game's played at their place. But Maryland hasn't looked like winning a grind-it-out game in forever, and if they try to play Alabama's game in the halfcourt I have trouble seeing them be successful.

The Denver game was important because it showed that, if a less-talented team tries to even things up by slowing down the pace, Maryland can deal with that now and absorb it. Alabama, though, isn't less-talented; if the game is played at their pace, they'll win. No, this time the challenge isn't doing that, but it's a test of whether or not they can dictate the tempo to a similarly-talented team playing on the road. Not a lot of teams can; it's a mark of really good ones, usually. And my hunch is that it's still a bit too far for a young team that seems to be running out of steam.

Alabama by two possessions, with the score in the 60s. But if Pe`Shon Howard has a comeback game and plays truly well in the 35 minutes or so he'll probably (or at least should) get, the Terps just might be able to push things enough to sneak it out at the end.

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