Today, Terrapin fans feasted on turkey. Tomorrow, Terrapins will feast on Elon. That, or something will have gone horribly, horribly wrong.
Remember that awful Wake Forest team, the one that lost to Stetson (who has since lost to Bethune-Cookman by 12) and Winthrop (who has since lost to Hampton)? Yeah, they beat Elon by 19.
I'm not saying that the Phoenix are a bad team, and they're certainly better than Maryland's last opponent, Delaware State, but they are another opponent lined up in the midst of cupcake season, and there's a reason for that.
Elon was 9-23 last season and near the bottom of the SoCon. Three starters are among the 11 total returnees from that ground, but KenPom doesn't think they'll make a particularly large leap this year, predicting just 11 total wins.
Guards Chris Long and Drew Spradlin anchor the returnees and are joined by four newcomers. The most active of the freshmen is Jack Isenbarger, a lightly-recruited SG out of Indiana that leads the Phoenix in both points and assists; he dropped 22 on South Carolina and 29 on the College of New Jersey (note: not Rutgers). He's only combined for 12 points the past two games, but he's currently Elon's leading scorer.
Spradlin led the Phoenix in scoring last year, with 13.3/game, and, after two quiet appearances to start the season, hit double-digits in his past two appearances. They're a decent team offensively, with a lot of versatility and some decent outside shooting at the 1-3 from Spradlin, Long, Isenbarger, and former sixth man Terrence Birdette.
The bigger problem comes on the other side of the floor and on the boards, where - guess what - their lack of height contributes to a larger problem. They do have some bigger guys - Lucas Troutman is the leading rebounder and checks in at 6-8, Scott Grable is a senior and 6-9 - but none of them receive major minutes: out of the top 5 minute-getters on the team, only Roger Dugas, a 6-8 sophomore from Quebec, is among them - and he's at #5. With a lineup that consists heavily of 6-2 guards, they have some dreadfully low rebounding percentages.
But here's the bigger problem and most shocking statistic: it's early, but in their first four games Elon has yielded the 344th eFG% in the country. That's second-worst in the country. The only team lower? Central Arkansas. Nope, never heard of them, either.
And although if the Phoenix aren't going to get out and run like Maryland, they aren't a slow-paced team. That, combined with their general lack of defense, means that Maryland stands a pretty chance at seeing triple-digits in this game. So long as the Elon guards don't shoot the lights out, the Terps should be okay.
This should be a good test of perimeter defense, as they are one of the better 3pt shooting teams out there. But past that: Elon's looking pretty cupcake-y to me. Take care of business.
TV info, for those that care (ie, all of you): 8:00 on CSN. Will likely be shown on Justin.tv (will provide link in gamethread).